Owner of Restaurant in Cincinnati Accused of Religious Discrimination by Atheists After Offering Church Discount

A restaurant owner with a clever marketing idea found himself entangled in accusations of religious discrimination by angry atheists.

Starters Café opened in the spring in Cheviot, Ohio, a Cincinnati suburb of 8,500 that is also home to dozens of churches with hundreds of hungry souls searching for an after-service lunch spot.

So restaurant owner Justin Watson had a marketing idea: offer a ten percent discount on Sundays to customers who present a church bulletin.

Watson was attempting to bring business into his diner, not stir up legal troubles, Cincinnati attorney Jason Phillabaum tells OneNewsNow.

“There are approximately 26 churches within a three-mile radius of his diner,” Phillabaum points out. “There’s two non-English speaking churches. There’s a mosque. So he’s essentially reaching out to his community.”

But the 10 percent discount raised the ire of someone in Cheviot, who used a Yelp review to complain that Starters was discriminating against atheists by offering the church discount.

The eventual involvement of Wisconsin-based Freedom from Religion Foundation gave the story national attention, though an FFRF attorney stated on the Patheos blog that the atheist group never sent a letter to Starters nor threatened legal action despite news headlines claiming otherwise.

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SOURCE: One News Now, Steve Jordahl