A pizza place in Searcy, Arkansas, is in trouble with a national atheist organization. Bailey’s Pizza offers a 10% discount on Sundays to customers who bring in a church bulletin. The Freedom from Religion Foundation sent the restaurant’s owners a letter demanding they stop the discount because it is discriminatory under the 1964 Civil Rights act.
According to Elizabeth Cavell, a spokesperson for the national atheist group based in Wisconsin, Baily’s Pizza’s owner Steven Rose discriminates against people who don’t go to church. “The law requires places of public accommodation to offer their services to customers without regard to race, color, religion or national origin.”
Mr. Rose disagrees,
It has nothing to do with excluding anybody. It’s not specific to any church. It’s another way to bring people in and make them feel welcome. It was a straight-up marketing tool to give a discount to people I love and care about, and have them come in and have lunch with me. I thought it was a sweet idea. I didn’t say you had to go to church to get it.”
Baily’s is a buffet-style pizza place which opened in July. A devout Christian, Rose has an entire wall of the restaurant dedicated to scripture and Bible verses. The restaurant has a wall allowing customers to write Bible verses and scriptures. The center of the wall has the words, “God is the center of our lives, so our scripture wall is the center of Bailey’s Pizza.”
Rose received the letter from the Freedom from Religion Foundation just a few weeks after the opening, the first week of August.
The pizza place offers other discounts specific to certain groups including college students, teachers, military, police, and senior citizens. If the Freedom from Religion Foundation is correct about the church bulletins, then senior citizen discounts are age discrimination, and the teacher discounts are employment discrimination, etc.
But the truth is they are not really worried about discrimination, they are worried about the spread of faith, any faith.