When Bailey's Pizza opened last month, owner Steven Rose could never have predicted the press he would get just 6 weeks after opening the Searcy, Ark. pizza shop. Unfortunately for Rose, the press is more controversial than he would have liked.
On July 19, Rose announced on the company's Facebook page that they would be giving a 10% discount to anyone who showed up to the restaurant with that week's church bulletin.
One commenter, whose username is Bong Hits For Jesus, wrote, “Good luck on your discrimination lawsuit,” in response to this marketing tactic.
“I didn’t give much credence to it,” said Rose, referring to the comment, but it turns out the comment was more foreboding than he had originally expected.
Not long after this, The Blaze reports, a disgruntled local resident reported the company to the Freedom From Religion Foundation. This Wisconsin-based organization then sent Rose a letter insisting he remove the discount. The organization's claim was that the discount stands in violation of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
“The law requires places of public accommodation to offer their services to customers without regard to race, color, religion or national origin,” Elizabeth Cavell, an attorney who works for the atheist legal firm, stated to KTHV-TV.
“I didn’t want to exclude anyone,” said Rose of the discount. “It was just like giving a discount to the Boy Scouts or the military and they made it an ugly thing.”
“From their argument, if I’m giving a discount to the elderly, it’s agism. If I give one to police offers, I’m prejudiced against people who aren’t police officers,” Rose continued.
While Rose did not wish to offend anyone with his faith-based discount, the man has no plans on giving up. “Short of [a judge's ruling] there’s nothing that they’re going to say to me that makes me waver on what I believe,” Rose said, firmly standing his ground.