- (Photo: Jonathan Foster / Lancaster Newspapers)
A restaurant in Pennsylvania has received support from people across the country and even globally after an atheist filed a discrimination complaint against the institution.
Atheist activist John Wolff recently filed a complaint against the Lost Cajun Kitchen in Columbia, alleging that the restaurant's coupon special where customers can get 10 percent off their order if they bring in a church bulletin on Sundays is discriminatory.
Sharon Prudhomme, co-owner of Lost Cajun, told The Christian Post that since the controversy reached the public, her restaurant has received a great deal of support.
"We've been bombarded with emails from all over the country and world. Honduras, Australia, London, etc," said Prudhomme.
This support included several offers across the country by attorneys to do pro bono work for the restaurant as they go before the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission.
"I have two wonderful attorneys, Mr. Randall Wenger and Mr. Charles W. Proctor … both of whom are pro bono at this time," said Prudhomme, adding that she "had offers from eight other attorneys from around the country."
Earlier this month John Wolff, an atheist who has been involved in a group known as Pennsylvania Nonbelievers, filed a complaint against Prudhomme's Lost Cajun Kitchen over a discount offer they gave to patrons who brought in a church bulletin on Sundays.
In an interview with Lancaster Online, Wolff stated that he was filing the complaint because he felt that individuals who do not attend church were being discriminated against by the deal.
"I was a little taken aback because they provide a discount for churchgoers," said Wolff, who has said elsewhere that he is not doing this "out of spite."
"That rubbed me a bit the wrong way. It's not a big deal in itself and I have no animosity towards Prudhomme's, but I do bear a grudge against a religious right that seems to intrude on our civil rights."
Wolff does not stand alone against Lost Cajun. The Freedom From Religion Foundation sent three letters protesting the discount.
"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," wrote FFRF Senior Staff Attorney Rebecca Markert.
"As a place of 'public accommodation,' it is illegal for Lost Cajun Kitchen to discriminate, or show favoritism, on the basis of religion."
"Mr. Wolff has never been here, nor had any intention of coming," said Prudhomme, who is in the process of preparing a formal response to the filed complaint.
"He happened upon our website and noticed the 10 percent church bulletin discount mentioned at the bottom."
In an interview with a Lancaster publication, Prudhomme stressed that the discount could be used by anyone and did not necessitate attending a church service.
"I did check with all churches that I know of and ministers and they have said anyone can grab and go," she said.
"Come on in, grab a bulletin, you don't have to stay at church. You can take it in and still have a nice dining discount. So everybody's covered."