WINSTON-SALEM: Winston-Salem diner stops prayer discount - FOX Carolina 21

Winston-Salem diner stops prayer discount following lawsuit threat

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A Winston-Salem diner is no longer offering a 15 percent discount for praying in public after making national headlines.

Mary's Gourmet Diner announced Wednesday that the restaurant was being threatened by a lawsuit, so it decided it would no longer give a 15 percent discount to customers who prayed before their meal.

The diner posted a sign in a restaurant window noting that the discount practice was illegal.

"We at Mary's value the support of all our fellow Americans. While you may exercise your right of religious freedom at this restaurant by praying over your meal to any entity or non-entity, we must protect your freedom from religion in a public place," the sign reads.

The diner had offered the discount for the past 4 years, but it suddenly because a national topic when on July 30 a Christian radio station in Orlando, Florida, shared a receipt that traveler Jordan Smith posted on Facebook.

Last week, the diner responded to criticism of the discount saying, "it is not a 'policy,' it's a gift we give at random to customers who take a moment before their meal. This could be prayer or just a moment to breathe and push the busyness of the world away."

However on Aug. 4, the Wisconsin-based Freedom from Religion Foundation sent a letter to the diner that claimed that the discount violated the Civil Rights Act and "denies customers who do not pray and non-believers the right to 'full and equal' enjoyment of Mary's Gourmet Diner."

FFRF Co-President Annie Laurie Gaylor said the group is involved in a similar lawsuit in Rhode Island.

"We have found that most restaurant owners, who, after all, are in business to please all customers, are gracious and drop illegal discounts that selectively reward customer piety," Gaylor said.

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