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North Carolina restaurant drops prayer discount after fear of lawsuit

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Mary's Gourmet Diner gives a 15 percent discount to those who pray in public. (Mary's Gourmet Diner)

A North Carolina diner that offered a 15 percent for those who prayed before their meal has stopped issuing the price cut due to a lawsuit threat.

Mary’s Gourmet Diner has been quietly offering the 15 percent “praying in public” discount for four years and said that it was given to people from all religions.

But the pro-atheist group Freedom From Religion Foundation, in a public letter, claimed that the restaurant was favoring belief over non-belief.

“Your restaurant’s restrictive promotional practice favors religious customers, and denies customers who do not pray and nonbelievers the right to ‘full and equal’ enjoyment of Mary’s Gourmet Diner,” wrote FFRF staff attorney Elizabeth Cavell in a public letter.

The organization didn’t officially file a lawsuit, but the letter was enough to get co-owner Mary Haglund to reverse the practice and post a note at her eatery stating that they’re no longer offering the discount, WGHP  reports.

Haglund said on Wednesday that she never meant to offend anyone.

Her daughter and co-owner Shama Blalock said that the restaurant has been getting offers of outside help in case Haglund wants to fight back against the FFRF.