In a recent article on Townhall.com, the atheist group Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF) is reported leveling threat of lawsuits against businesses that give discounts for people who display notable religious behavior, i.e. publicly praying or presentation of a church bulletin as evidence of church attendance, under the Civil Rights Act of 1964, most likely under Title II of that legislation.
Now, just looking at the text of Title II , I can find no indication of any reason to go to law against these businesses for two reasons: 1, they aren’t dividing up the premises of the restaurant according to the “religious” or the “irreligious”, which are simply ridiculous terms as I have put forward in another post, but are passively recognizing behaviors (praying or the presentation of a bulletin); 2, they aren’t holding some test of doctrine. I’m certain if a Muslim or a Hindu, bowed their head in humility to offer thanks to Allah, in the case of the former, or one of the millions of deities in the latter, a staff member wouldn’t decline to offer the discount, but would recognize the behavior for what it is. The FFRF is simply saying that the offering of these discounts is discriminatory. Certainly, they are; however, they are not bad discriminations.
Discrimination is inherently necessary in life. Of one does not carefully discriminate between a vial of water and a vial of hydrochloric acid the results would be disastrous. If one does not discriminate between life-saving surgery and cruel butchery, the results would be disastrous. If one does not discriminate between a homeowner and a burglar, the loss of property will make itself known. Now, discrimination can be bad if it is based upon purely superficial expressions such as race (discriminations based on sex, religious, or creedal professions are sometimes necessary and are self-imposed).
Let’s be clear the FFRF is vehemently opposed to any expression or recognition of religion, especially anything bearing resemblance to Christianity. If they were consistent, or stupid, they would be opposed to any other number of religions and their public exhibitions, but my guess is that they value their lives given that some of those other religions (say, Islam) can become actively hostile. Does the FFRF have issue with those establishments giving discounts to police officers or firemen (most likely who are Christians themselves, at least in declaration), or discounts to their employees (who may also self-profess to be Christians)? No, why? Because that would be a violation of Title II. Simply, it comes down to the abject hatred of God, especially the Christian interpretation of God, that drives these people to threaten small business owners who simply want to recognize behaviors they see as beneficial to both person and society with crippling, pointless lawsuits.
Also, let’s think for a second the absurdity of this on the FFRF’s part. What if the restaurant offered a “Pastafarian Thursday”, where worshippers of the Flying Spaghetti Monster who wore their sacred pasta strainer got a discount or a free bowl of pasta, would Christians sue? Would they sue if these restaurants offered a discount for card-carrying members of American Atheists on “Skeptic Saturday”? No, of course not, because people who value freedom, in its political sense, and liberty, in its philosophical sense, recognize that harmless recognitions of behaviors in an effort to promote private business; but those who wish to be free from the essential philosophies of liberty (in its fullest sense) must terrorize and intimidate those who hold them in order to secure their own worldview, which is not based on freedom, but on tyranny. But heck, for a 10% discount or a free bowl of pasta, I might put a strainer on my head.