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Recently a story went viral about Mary's Gourmet Restaurant here in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. You can read the story here. Restaurant drops prayer discount, citing threat of lawsuit.

Follow me below the orange fleur deKos for more on this story from someone who lives here.

Mary Haglund, owner of Mary’s Gourmet Diner in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, has been offering the discount now for four years. “For me, every plate of food is a gift,” she said. “And I never take that for granted and when I see someone in a restaurant honoring their gratefulness at my table … it touches my heart.”

Ms Hagland, 60, is the daughter of a preacher and a missionary, who spent her teenager years in the Philippines where she said she saw real need.

She said her faith fell away as she got older but still calls herself a spiritual person.
Ms Hagland said the discount is not a cafe policy and isn’t advertised. She said those wait staff that feel uncomfortable by it do not have to offer it and that it is multidenominational.

The Progressives in Winston Salem have been coming to her defense. We know Mary and we know what she was trying to spread was "gratitude for an attitude." Mary was trying to encourage people to be grateful for what they have. It has nothing to do with religion. She was encouraging people to take a moment and look at the positive things in their life. That you can afford to eat at a restaurant. That you have friends or family who can dine with you.

She never expected people to "pray" out loud to a certain God. She was not pushing any religion. She doesn't care if you are black or white, straight or gay, Christian or atheist. In this world that constantly rushes towards hatred she was giving everyone a chance to take a moment and look at the good in their life.

Mary is from my hippy generation. She is not a stereotyped Tea Party, Religious Right, Bigot. She is from the generation of Peace and Love and for being grateful for everyday things. No one had to pray. She was trying to give people who appreciated her cooking her thanks by giving them a discount.

Too bad the media and people who didn't know her couldn't take the time to find out what was really going on and what our Mary was really like. They just assumed that she was right wing and pushing Christianity down people's throat because she lives and works in the South. They failed to see the gentle free spirit she is. As my Dad always told me there is a reason the word ass is in assume because people who assume make asses out of themselves.

Originally posted to michelewln on Mon Aug 11, 2014 at 07:16 AM PDT.

Also republished by Street Prophets .

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (12+ / 0-)

    "A dreamer is one who can only find his way by moonlight, and his punishment is that he sees the dawn before the rest of the world." Oscar Wilde

    by michelewln on Mon Aug 11, 2014 at 07:16:48 AM PDT

  •  Admirable goals, perhaps, (16+ / 0-)

    but there are several things wrong with the approach. First, many people feel that by offering United States currency in exchange for their "gift" of food, they are indeed showing gratitude or, at the very least, an acknowledgment of the "gift's" value.

    Second, she has essentially put in place a two-tier pricing system without advertising it, something which comes awfully close to a "secret rebate," illegal just about anywhere (here's California code on the practice).

    There are other, ethical, problems with the practice. How does she know that a customer who does not "pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by others" but silently and unostentaciously "continually repeats the prayer with each aspiration and breath" isn't equally or more "grateful?"

    She is not rewarding the gratitude but its public display. At best, she is inviting hypocritical opportunists to take advantage of her generosity. At worst, she is unethically and illegally penalizing those who do not share her spiritual leanings.

    I live under the bridge to the 21st Century.

    by Crashing Vor on Mon Aug 11, 2014 at 07:36:11 AM PDT

  •  This country has gone to hell (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    michelewln, Jilly W

    in a hand basket.

    This story is a sad commentary on life in America at this point in time.

    Thanks for posting it!

  •  ? It Has ONLY to Do With Religion. (6+ / 0-)

    If you don't follow Christianity you would not have a prayer to offer.

    BTW if you follow the commands of Jesus you're actually forbidden to pray in public. I know Jesus, particularly this instruction, is not big with Christians but there it is in black & white in Matthew 6.

    While I'm an energetic opponent of public exercise of religion as part of government activity, I'm a lot more ambivalent about it in private settings. But reading the comment from the attorney, I'm inclined to think that a public business formally providing better prices to specific religious activity is crossing the line as well.

    I think she could hang religious decor all over the place and put up a big sign that saying grace is welcome here, and it'd be just fine.

    It's not about her political identity or even motivation, it's about pretty obviously discriminatory business practice.

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Mon Aug 11, 2014 at 07:39:33 AM PDT

  •  This isn't quite on the topic but related (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Catte Nappe, Parthenia

    I went out to breakfast not that long ago and was put in the same small dining room with a bunch of older men who were apparently having some kind of Bible Study breakfast. There were  about 10 or twelve of them and they were seated at a long table and had to speak loudly to be heard by their table mates. That meant that my dining companion and myself, as well as everyone else in the room, were pretty much a captive audience subjected to a 45 minute loud debate/discussion about what Jesus meant or didn't mean in a particular verse.

    My impression was that the gentlemen at the table wanted to have a loud public discussion about their religious views as a form of proselyting. It seems fairly obvious that they could have had the same discussion in a room of the church they all frequented and could have brought in doughnuts and coffee or a fast food breakfast if they wanted to have food during a discussion about their religious beliefs.

    I found the whole thing sort of interesting in a Drama in Real Life sort of way. I could see a guy at another table getting annoyed at and saying to his wife that all he wanted was breakfast without a sermon while she said calmy-wifey sorts of things to him and tried to shush him up.

    For myself, it made me grateful that most meals in public places don't involve a side order of subliminal religious instruction. I don't blame the restaurant because they certainly have no way of controlling the topics patrons chose to discuss, but it wasn't conducive to a good dining experience for anyone else.

    I'm very self-conscious if anyone is being too loud and over exuberant in public in general and once became aware that my friends and I were  "Eating While Liberal" and voicing opinions and having a discussion that was completely ruining the appetites of the Thurston Howell III types we were surrounded by in a somewhat stuffy and pricey restaurant. That's why I like loud noisy restaurants where all the tables can practically have shouting matches and no one in the vicinity can hear a thing because of the general background uproar. If I'm in a restaurant where you can hear a pin drop and every word of your neighbors I completely clam up.


    “Human kindness has never weakened the stamina or softened the fiber of a free people. A nation does not have to be cruel to be tough.” FDR

    by Phoebe Loosinhouse on Mon Aug 11, 2014 at 09:45:51 AM PDT

  •  good discussion - thanks (0+ / 0-)


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