The Water Cooler – Athiests Threaten Restaurant Owner Over Prayer Discount

August 7, 2014 12:00 pm · 96 comments

The “Water Cooler” is a feature on where we ask you a question or provide a topic, and you talk about it!

The “Water Cooler” will be up Monday-Friday at noon!

Today’s question:

A restaurant on the East Coast recently started giving discounts to individuals or families who say a prayer before they eat their breakfast, lunch or dinner. They’ve recently stopped the discount because a group of athiests threatened to sue the restaurant.

What’s your opinion on this?

Talk about it….

Killjoy August 7, 2014 at 12:02 PM

Personally, I don’t pray. I prey, but I don’t pray.
Anyway, if it’s a privately owned business, the owners can do whatever the hell they please as long as it’s legal. Some places give a discount for cash.
Don’t like the policy? Don’t frequent the place.

The Mamba August 7, 2014 at 12:03 PM

My opinion is that it sounds like they were doing something illegal and wisely stopped offering the discount. That’s the kind of pc world we live in now.

mutts August 7, 2014 at 12:07 PM

Freedom OF religion. Athiests don’t believe in God, no wonder they are discontent. When their “time comes” they’ll be yelling out to Him, it’s happened before.

Sacto Rob August 7, 2014 at 12:07 PM

The restaurant can offer discounts to anyone it wants for whatever reason it wants.
Dirty little secret: Chinese people typically get a discount when they eat in Chinese restaurants. What are you gonna do?

Incognito August 7, 2014 at 12:08 PM

No matter what you do, you will always be at risk of offending someone…

Anon777 August 7, 2014 at 12:13 PM

I think the entire concept is ridiculous. If I come in and pray “over the lips and through the gums, watch out stomach, here it comes!” does that count? What’s their definition of prayer and who can claim the discount by saying/praying exactly…. what??

I also think people are stupid in wanting to sue for every damn thing.

Random Task August 7, 2014 at 12:15 PM

obviously too much time on ones hands results in bigotry instead of embracing a theory of difference those who shun wish to instill a cause of strife and drag us back to a lesser time of evolution …….enjoy your hatred it is yours to enjoy……..feed your brain ……

Jesus Tapdancing Christ August 7, 2014 at 12:19 PM

Prayer discounts are crazy, but suing is not necessary.

My onion is that people of faith are literally delusional. Most of the time, these delusional people are harmless. Often, the only major negative social byproduct of their delusions just lead to indigence over stories like this one, with their menacing rage existent only on Fox News and online comment sections. Other times their delusions lead them to bombing abortion clinics and flying planes into buildings. So, sure you gotta keep an eye on some of these folks with their overt religiousness, but if they wanna high-five each other for saying Grace, let ’em.

just a concordian August 7, 2014 at 12:19 PM

As an atheist I am ashamed of the actions of my brethren. Just like Anon777 pointed out, they should have gone there en masse, and held hends while murmuring something that finished with an “hey man, pass the salt”

Really?????????? August 7, 2014 at 12:21 PM

If you don’t like the policy of an establishment then don’t walk through their doors. Pretty simple. It is a “private enterprise” and as long as the own is not refusing service to any group then he is within his legal right to offer the discount. Athiest may eat their but are inelligable for the discount. Is this any different to the “senior” discount offered at several restaurants????

@ Anon777 – yes people are really stupid for suing over every little thing. The “sue” mentallity is just one example of what is wrong with this country

AClaycordian August 7, 2014 at 12:23 PM

It sounds like the restaurant owners were offering a completely valid, legal discount, and a group of militant atheists decided to threaten the livelihood of the owners with a drawn out, expensive legal battle which the atheists wouldn’t win anyways, all in the name of the atheists being super offended over something which they could opt-out of (or rather, never opt in to begin with).

I agree August 7, 2014 at 12:24 PM

with Killjoy

@mutts August 7, 2014 at 12:24 PM

Actually, it never happened before.

B August 7, 2014 at 12:27 PM

I don’t agree with the restaurants views, but it’s their decision and they should be free to do as they wish..

“God’s neat, let’s eat”

Thoughtful 1 August 7, 2014 at 12:27 PM

Ay yi yi, what is the world coming to? The owners of the establishment should have the freedom to give their choice of discount to whomever they please, whether it be students, senior citizens, teachers, military personnel, or, yes, even atheists. People should be tolerant, and be thankful for the many choices we have. If the atheists are unhappy, they have all the right to eat elsewhere. Sounds like the atheists are a bit envious, and envy is ignorance.

chris August 7, 2014 at 12:29 PM

As an Atheist I gotta say that’s pretty ridiculous. I respect the right of people to believe in whatever they want as long as it doesn’t encroach on my right to do the same. Likewise people have the right to decide how they want to run their business, I’d probably just avoid this restaurant unless the food was really good. In-N-Out is my favorite fast food and they like to put bible verse all over their wrappers and cups, doesn’t bother me the least bit.

The Professor August 7, 2014 at 12:39 PM

The restaurant should change it’s name to “The Foxhole”. Mom always said there are no atheists in a foxhole.

“Rub a dub dub. Thanks for the grub. Yeeeeeeaaaaaaaaaah God!

SKS August 7, 2014 at 12:40 PM

Thse people are not “athiests”.

They are “anti-thiests”.

I'm an atheist August 7, 2014 at 12:40 PM

But I would say a prayer if I got a discount on my meal for it. They’re just words that mean nothing to me. I don’t find them offensive.

Pegasus August 7, 2014 at 12:41 PM

BFD! Who cares.
Who can name the most generous charitable organization on the planet?

Justin August 7, 2014 at 12:42 PM

Blaze articles…clickbait designed to rile up the political idiots in all of us.

Concordejet August 7, 2014 at 12:46 PM


Rob August 7, 2014 at 12:46 PM

I don’t agree with the threat of a lawsuit – just go eat somewhere else, but then again…

I suspect if a restaurant offered discount for people who pray to Allah while facing Mecca there would be plenty of people who suddenly wouldn’t think its such a good idea and some Christian group would likely threaten a lawsuit.

Or if a restaurant offered a discount to people who would vocally reject the concept of a God that again plenty of folks would be upset and someone would sue.

94598 August 7, 2014 at 12:47 PM

God is Love

CLR August 7, 2014 at 12:54 PM

I always pray that I don’t get food poisoning.

Gargoyle Socks August 7, 2014 at 12:55 PM

As a Christian who prays before meals…anywhere…I think it’s the restaurant owner’s right to offer a discount to anyone he wants to. But I think he has it wrong. Personally, I would refuse the discount. I don’t pray to be seen. “They have their reward.” My reward is in heaven. Matthew 6:5

PH Dad August 7, 2014 at 12:55 PM

Atheism is a belief in the same way that any other religion is. It happens to be that there is a belief that there is no god. There is no proof one way or the other as to the existence of a god, so the belief of the certainty that there is none is the same as a religion.
I know a lot of scientists who call themselves atheists, but that is against scientific principles. If there is no proof, then it is just a theory. They are being disingenuous and should just claim to be agnostics. Some people would consider that a cop out, but it’s really just being honest…

RunDogRun August 7, 2014 at 12:56 PM

What does the Freedom From
Atheists Foundation have to say
in the matter? Personally I find
them a lot more irritating than
people quietly praying.

What security August 7, 2014 at 12:56 PM

Pray for the Atheists

J.L.G. August 7, 2014 at 12:57 PM

Prayer Discount how ridiculous talk about shoving religion down somebody’s throat at dinner.

just a concordian August 7, 2014 at 1:02 PM

Something just hit me…

Mayor, the title of your column is highly suggestive, and not in a good way! Threatening can be understood in many different ways, and a title like that in a society that adores headlines is grounds for the pitchfork brigade of religious crusaders to wield their bibles and crosses in our faces while promoting “tolerance”

Jesse August 7, 2014 at 1:08 PM

The Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits discrimination based on religion in public establishments such as restaurants and hotels. I can see how charging someone more because they didn’t openly pray before eating could be considered discrimination based on religion. I don’t think the owner meant any harm, but what she was doing is probably illegal. She was wise to stop the practice before someone took her to court. I’m sure she can find another legal way to express her beliefs.

Pink Undies August 7, 2014 at 1:13 PM

Christians in America tend to be a hateful and discriminatory bunch.

anon August 7, 2014 at 1:22 PM

Any restraurant out here want to try to do the same thing?

Dorothy August 7, 2014 at 1:31 PM

Since the restaurant was not a public corporation, nor a federally run dinning room, I see no reason why they should not be able to give a discount to people for praying before they eat. I’ve seen people do that at places that don’t give discounts for anything. Some places give discounts to seniors, is that ageism or discrimination against younger people?

Freedom of religion is suppose be freedom to practice your religion. Freedom from religion is suppose to mean the government can’t force you to practice a specific religion. Atheist may not have any religion but they should not be allowed to force non-religion onto others in a non-government sector. In the case cited here it seems they are trying to force their non-belief on the owners of this restaurant and the patrons that practice a religion that asks for them to give thanks for the food they are about to eat.

Vandy August 7, 2014 at 1:33 PM

I have to agree with the atheists here. Providing a discount to some and not others based upon religious activity is religious discrimination. That being said a crafty atheist could simply pretend to say the prayer and get the discount. They are definitely taking a stand simply to make a valid point and not much more here.

DrDuran August 7, 2014 at 1:35 PM

@PH Dad
Atheism is a belief like not collecting stamps is a hobby.

@Jesse August 7, 2014 at 1:37 PM

They were offering a discount from normal prices to those who chose to pray. They were not adding a surcharge to those who refused to pray. There is a slight, but distinct, difference and what was being done was not illegal.

Marianne August 7, 2014 at 1:44 PM

That’s discriminatory in itself. Freedom of religion is fine, but to put a dollar value on it is just wrong.

Atticus Thraxx August 7, 2014 at 1:46 PM

Funny how Atheism has become a religion.

What security August 7, 2014 at 1:46 PM

You can give a discount for seniors. I’m gonna sue that’s age discrimination
You can have ladies night where they don’t pay a cover charge, I”m gonna sue for sexism.
America is a just a sue happy Nation.
Pretty soon the crosses on the outside of church will have to be taken down. What a pathetic world we are becoming.
All I have to say is I will pray you

Queen of the Universe August 7, 2014 at 2:00 PM

Everyone needs to live exactly how I live, believe what I believe, and don’t ever, ever contradict me.

(The United States of America was founded on differences, not similarities)

mutts August 7, 2014 at 2:10 PM

There have been stories of athiests having a change of heart on their death bed. And it is now common knowledge that the most famous one, Madeline O’Hare celebrated Christmas big time.

Me August 7, 2014 at 2:19 PM


Didn’t read all the posts but in response to this one….
I know an atheist who was in a car accident. He admitted to me that although he still doesn’t believe in God, his gut reaction while it was happening was to start praying directly to God. I found that profoundly interesting.

Pegasus August 7, 2014 at 2:23 PM

Lunatic leftist’s gone mad, er…..even madder, I mean.
The new crazy leftist mantra “HOORAY FOR ME AND SCREW YOU”

“Can’t we all just get along”
R. King

@DrDuran 37 August 7, 2014 at 2:27 PM

Lol,, couldn’t have said it better myself! Good one!

Tom G. August 7, 2014 at 2:28 PM

This is ridiculous! Religious dogma should be left at the door…. why should someone get a discount for praying? Can someone who isn’t religious get an alternate discount say, for doing something else like a happy dance? Does this make it okay for a restaurant that caters to senior citzens offer a 20% discount for anyone using a walker or cane? WTF? So sick of these religious people trying to force it on everyone, and this is just another example of that.

Grow Up August 7, 2014 at 2:33 PM

A business can offer any type of discount they want. If people don’t like it, take your money elsewhere.

I’m not a religious person, nor am I an atheist. I actually feel sorry for atheists. Most of them are formally religious people, and something obviously went wrong. Some are very militant, and militant people are a turn off, regardless of their issue.

American is too “sue happy.” It’s ridiculous.

Pyrrhus August 7, 2014 at 3:02 PM

I think both sides are being idiots here. Prayer for discounts? That completely defeats the purpose of prayer in the first place. You pray for food to give thanks for having the food. You don’t pray for a discount. Also, you are in the business of serving people, why alienate customers at all?

To the idiot atheists (not all atheists), you guys seem so obsessed with being atheists that it comes across as fanatical. Nobody cares that you don’t believe in God, you believe in what you believe and we believe in what we believe.

Dennis August 7, 2014 at 3:08 PM

Does this mean that Lady’s Night or No Cover For Ladies or First Drink Free For Ladies is discrimination against Men?

J August 7, 2014 at 3:21 PM

Businesses can discriminate on the prices they charge as long as it’s not based on race, religion, color or national origin. Age and gender are not on the list so senior and ladies discounts are legal. If you don’t like the law, work to change it.

As the restaurant owner herself said in the sourced article, “it was illegal”.

Bob August 7, 2014 at 3:38 PM

@Rob #23,
Maybe they should charge a surcharge, when they find out who you are.

jrconcord August 7, 2014 at 3:52 PM

here is my prayer.
God is great, god is neat, we’re all hungry. So, let’s eat. Amen
I want a discount.

It's 'Meme' is that you Ma? August 7, 2014 at 4:14 PM

Pray that these whose live’s empty into nothingness sooner than later do not impede the graceful act no matter where or when a prayer prays…

I pray for everybody always and the super nothingness peeps are also always super included…Don’t sweat it too much…A prayerful spirit of charity can never be a bad thing I pray…I look at it like “happy hour”!

A mini-discount my way might just come back at you with interest?

“How’s that for an economic formula – ‘to beat the band’?”

Stay joyful and thankful and that will most likely hopefully help with digestion and a long life!



tired of taxes August 7, 2014 at 4:36 PM

The owner can still give the discount for praying. The discount can be a “reward” by the owner to his customers.
He just doesn’t have to advertise it (or inform the customers who receive the discount _why_ they are receiving said discount) so the atheists have no legal basis for a suit.
But if he is giving the discount to encourage praying, that’s another matter altogether. And, as others have pointed out, it is going about it the wrong way and defeats the purpose of praying. You pray because you respect the divine and not because you may/will receive monetary compensation.

Hungry August 7, 2014 at 4:37 PM

Isn’t it funny how much “atheists” believe that there is no God to believe in?

And meanwhile, half the posters here don’t understand a private businesses’ legal rights to offer discounts for selected characteristics.

Now shut up and get me a cheeseburger.

Jesse August 7, 2014 at 4:38 PM

#38, To-MAY-to, To-MAH-to. She was charging different prices based on whether or not a customer offered up a prayer. The law says a restaurant can’t discriminate based on religion. I think she was on shaky legal ground.

J@52 is right. We have laws against discrimination based on race, religion, or national origin. If she’d offered a discount to anyone who wore a clown suit she would have been fine. If she offered a birthday discount she would have been fine. But basing it on a religious statement is a problem.

Sound Familiar August 7, 2014 at 5:02 PM

Interesting, in a country founded by people seeking religious freedom.

“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

Too bad founding fathers didn’t include courts into the First Amendment.

SpankyFortuna August 7, 2014 at 5:11 PM

Doesn’t it occur to anyone that the owners are DISCRIMINATING (please use your dictionary), favoring one group of people over another, which is not legal in the USA.

Y’all are directed to the back of the bus and you may NOT use my water fountain. (Check the history book.)

SpankyFortuna August 7, 2014 at 5:17 PM

with apologies to Jesse who couldn’t be more correct.

TinFoiler August 7, 2014 at 5:39 PM

Should have just closed the comments after post #1.
Anyhow, what if the Atheist bowed their head and silently thought “eenie meenie miney moe”? It would probably give the same results. Or perhaps the restaurants food is so crappy that you have to pray over it!!!
Bottom line: It’s BOTH Baloney. Religion vs Atheism – OH MY!! Is that like repukblicant vs. demoncants etc. Two sides of Bullsh!t! to keep people arguing and NEVER coming to truth.
HINT: Your Pineal, Third Eye……If your ever wish to wake up.
Figure it out, do research, Turn off the TV and Radio Mind Control Programming.
You’re Welcome

anon August 7, 2014 at 5:45 PM

What next a restaurant owner closing on Sunday for religious beliefs?

Dennis August 7, 2014 at 5:56 PM

I think Spanky and Jesse need a clue: discriminating against ONE religion in favor of another is illegal. Advocating or acknowledging a religion is not. Atheists attempting to interfere with prayer in public is discrimination.
I’m not religious, but I can read the Constitution just fine, thank you.

“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof;”

I see prohibiting free expression of religion right there in black and white. What I don’t see is anything saying atheists can’t be offended.

And BTW, since when is a restaurant owner giving a discount equal to Congress establishing a religion?

Doesn’t matter to me if the place offered a discount to anyone who would sing a song for their supper, either.

@Jesse August 7, 2014 at 5:57 PM

Again, Jesse, you’re wrong. Already explained it, but you might be one of the people who thinks the Bill of Rights states “freedom from religion” so further discourse is futile.

Yhe Phantom August 7, 2014 at 6:03 PM

Those who suppose atheists are politically liberal are incorrect.

My experience is that many Libertarians and Republicans are agnostics and atheists. Their choice is not founded on their politics.

How strange for people to not know this.

I guess if they had a meeting hall to not pray in it would be more obvious.

anonanonagain August 7, 2014 at 6:18 PM

I’m an atheist and I find this ridiculous. I thought that we lived in a country where you have the right to be religious or not be religious at all.. As a previous comment stated, they can give whoever they want a discount. I’ve seen some restaurants give a discount to those wearing a yellow shirt on Tuesdays. Who cares??

SKS August 7, 2014 at 6:30 PM

Again, there are athiests and anti-thiests.

Athiests are those who are tolerant of others’ beliefs.

Anti-thiests believe the existence of a belief system in their presence which is contrary to their own is morally offensive. They believe theism is being forced upon them for acceptance.

Tom August 7, 2014 at 7:17 PM

This isn’t religious discrimination. I think she backed down because she doesn’t need the aggravation. I don’t blame her. She’s in business to make money.

I agree with the atheists and anti-theists logic. Unfortunately, anti-theists are offensive to everyone.

Futurama August 7, 2014 at 8:00 PM

Atheist, theist, donkey or elephant, if you’re american, there’s a good chance you’re entitled.

aannoonn August 7, 2014 at 8:09 PM

Today in this country, Christians are the only group that it’s okay and acceptable to publicly dump on, criticize, ridicule etc. Try doing that to other religious or ethnic groups, and people would be irate! It’s only politically ok to go after Christians. So sad.

wow August 7, 2014 at 8:35 PM

No one is forcing the athiest to eat there., if they have a problem they can eat and complain elsewhere.

JWB August 7, 2014 at 9:24 PM

Wow Dennis #64

“I see prohibiting free expression of religion right there in black and white.”

Where in this story do you see prohibition of expression of religion? I don’t see a single shred of evidence that these folks were not allowed to pray at the restaurant.

The only question is whether a restaurant owner can grant a discount for praying.

Cat Wrangler August 7, 2014 at 9:48 PM

Maybe there is something about the restaurant’s food that the owner knows requires prayer.

I'm The Urban Spaceman August 7, 2014 at 11:35 PM

Would an atheistic prayer to Mother Nature qualify for a discount?
How ’bouts a shout-out to Yahweh, Allah, or a JR Bob Dobbs(Church of The Sub-Genius) at the table?

Jesse August 8, 2014 at 12:09 AM

#75, it sounds like it was pretty hit or miss. The owner said there was no set policy and she left it up to individual servers whether or not to give the discount for prayer. She said not all of her servers were in favor of the discount.

Connie Dobbs August 8, 2014 at 7:23 AM

Atheistic prayer? You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.

In the article the diner said they were cool with a nod to Jehovah, a bow to Allah or a hearty Praise “Bob.”

Freeman August 8, 2014 at 7:46 AM


laws August 8, 2014 at 9:07 AM

We’re created to protect certain types. This “discount” is not illegal. If you don’t agree with it, don’t eat there!

laws August 8, 2014 at 9:08 AM

(DYAC, not “we’re”, but”were”).

tired of taxes August 8, 2014 at 9:13 AM

I remember that restaurants have this sign by the counter that reads something like, “Management has the right to refuse service to anyone”.
So just post a picture of those trouble-making atheists and refuse them service next time.
You’re refusing them service because they’re douchebags. It just so happens they are atheists too.

Reality Slap August 8, 2014 at 9:41 AM

Best part is if they “win” the lawsuit the money they will receive has “In God We Trust” printed on it. Wonder if they’ll reject the money for that reason?

Let's Go Oakland August 8, 2014 at 10:39 AM

If you don’t like the prayer discount, don’t eat there.

If you don’t agree with slavery, don’t own a slave.

Freeman August 8, 2014 at 12:21 PM

@83 puts the modern Athiest’s arduous plight into a humorous perspective.

Lorrie the Lovely August 8, 2014 at 7:43 PM

We always pray over out meals in restaurants. If you want to give me a discount…SCORE! But if not, that’s O.K. I’ll pray anyway. If you are offended too bad, I’m offended by lots of things but don’t say anything because it’s a free country. (unless it’s child abuse then I say something)

Seriously?? August 8, 2014 at 7:56 PM

Sue a private establishment for something this silly?!?! By that same rationale, those same atheists should sue every established religious organization in the world since it obviously offends them! Shame on that group of atheists – don’t like the policies of a privately owned establishment, don’t patron the place! Simple!!

@63 August 8, 2014 at 8:19 PM

Yes, there are some in the area that close on Sundays.

Sarks6464 August 8, 2014 at 9:04 PM

I’m not an atheist but am disgusted by all the pious, flippant remarks like”well don’t eat there”, what does that make me? I get weirded out by people flaunting what they think is “religious “, but if they actually understood the bible they would not broadcast “look at me, I’m a good person cause I’m praying”. Gross.

ClaytonGal August 8, 2014 at 11:19 PM

Religion is man made! For those weak minded people that need someone else to think for them. GOD was created for when people to not fear death.

Pray away pray away. Religion has killed more people in the world than anything else so keep praying that almighty figment of your imagination still is not going to show themselves….because GOD IS NOT REAL!

Rollo Tomasi August 9, 2014 at 12:22 AM

Here’s a question for you “experts”. If a restaurant owner offers a coupon-based discount, and that coupon is only available online, is that discrimination against the Amish?

DoReMi August 9, 2014 at 7:21 AM

Religion may be the cause of strife and mayhem, but that wont stop an atheist for stepping up and joining in the hate fest.

The point being, religion, faith and morals are supposed to steer mankind towards saintly or civilized behavior. Whether Hindi, American Indian or one of the Trinity faiths. Thankfulness is a good start at curbing our egotistical nature.

It’s a tool . Faith is the reward.

@ ClaytonGal August 9, 2014 at 8:19 AM

Your passionate, liquor-fuelled rant might be ‘convincing’ to people who formulate their beliefs from Claycord, however, most people choose a subtler approach. Back away from the Jack darling.

Rodney Dangerfield August 9, 2014 at 8:23 AM

My wife is such a bad cook, in my house we pray after the meal.

Anon August 9, 2014 at 9:03 AM

So Clayton gal you don’t fear death. Why don’t I believe you.

Silva August 9, 2014 at 12:01 PM

I’d probably be labeled agnostic. I don’t habit restaurants. If I went into one with someone who desparatel needed the discount, I’d put my hands together, bow my head, and say something reverent. I’ve never been sued and hope it stays that way. I’ve never sued anybody and I’d much rather not. Those athiests are just being rediculous. I don’t fear death, but I have a healthy respect for it.

ac one August 9, 2014 at 2:42 PM

Such a funny thing to offer! Not offended nor do I care.

del abs August 11, 2014 at 10:57 AM

I heard that celebrities get 50% off their bill, let’s go after them also.

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