Pennsylvania restaurant offers unlawful church discount

Restaurant owners in Columbia, Pa., are facing an open investigation into an illegal church bulletin discount.

Lost Cajun Kitchen in Columbia offers an illegal ten percent discount to church-going patrons. And advertises the coupon on the company website.

FFRF and its local member John Wolff have been challenging the discount for over a year. On Wolff’s behalf, FFRF Senior Staff Attorney Rebecca Markert sent three letters of complaint to Lost Cajun Kitchen owners Dave and Sharon Prudhomme beginning April 2011, but they have refused to drop the discount.

Markert pointed out that the discount “violates the federal Civil Rights Act in addition to provisions of state civil rights statutes.”

“The Civil Rights Act states in relevant part, ‘All persons shall be entitled to the full and equal enjoyment of the goods, services, facilities, privileges, advantages, and accommodations of any place of public accommodation. . . without discrimination on the ground of race, color, religion, or national origin,'” wrote Markert. She added, “As a place of ‘public accommodation,’ it is illegal for Lost Cajun Kitchen to discriminate, or show favoritism, on the basis of religion.”

Patience at an end, Wolff has now filed a complaint with the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission.

The Lancaster Journal reported that the restaurant owners must respond to Wolff’s complaint in writing within 30 days. The commission will then decide if there is probable cause to support the complaint.

Wolff told the Patriot-News that he “bears them no ill will but they shouldn’t be pushing religion.”

The Purdhommes said that they “have more things to concentrate on” and are “not about ready to pull the plug on the deal.”

Markert says that the discriminatory discounts must be stopped, and the law honored. 

Freedom From Religion Foundation

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