Arkansas pizza parlor owner Steven Rose refused to back down after an atheist activist organization sent a warning letter claiming the restaurant’s church bulletin discount promotion was against the law.
The organization, Freedom From Religion Foundation, claims the discount is unlawful because atheists can’t participate in it.
Since it was opened in July, Bailey’s Pizza has asserted itself an establishment focused on Christianity.
“God is the center of our lives,” a plaque on the restaurant’s wall reads, “so our Scripture wall is at the center of Bailey’s Pizza!”
The plaque also notes that patrons can ask their waiter for a marker to write other words of wisdom on the wall, or their favorite scripture.
Just after opening its doors, the restaurant invited guests to bring church bulletins and receive a 10 percent discount on food. Although many responded positively to the offer, the Freedom From Religion Foundation wrote a warning letter and questioned the discount’s validity. The letter cited the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits any business from discriminating against customers.
Despite the allegation of discrimination, Rose has claimed that the discount has nothing to do with excluding customers.
“It’s not specific to any church,” Rose said. “It’s another way to bring people in and make them feel welcome.”
Rose added that he offers discounts to other people like college students, teachers, military, police and senior citizens.
In response, Advocates for Faith and Freedom responded to the FFRF and pointed to the ruling in Silverman v. Hagerstown Suns Baseball Club, when a ballpark was found not to violate anti-discrimination laws simply because it offered discounted tickets to those who brought church bulletins.
Aside from the FFRF, Rose has said that the general reception of the discount has been positive.
Ed. Note: A poorly written sentence made it seem like the FFRF was responsible for an alleged bomb threat. That is not the case. An individual on Bailey’s Facebook page made the threat. Apologies for not being clear.