Bible study group reportedly no longer welcome at New Jersey McDonald's

A Christian ministry leader was reportedly told she could no longer hold Bible studies in a New Jersey McDonald's, despite having the sessions there for the past two years.

The Christian Post reports that Dawn Martinez, 33, began the ministry to transients and drug addicts in 2010, but was told last Wednesday by a McDonald’s manager that she could no longer hold the two-weekly events.

"She didn't tell me what happened, but she said there was a complaint and that we cannot have our Bible studies there anymore," Martinez said.

After pressing for an explanation, she was told that "people are getting offended," Martinez said.

Martinez, who could not be reached for comment, believes someone of Islamic faith was at the restaurant and may have been offended enough to make a complaint. Martinez said the religion had been a brief topic of discussion last week.

Ed Baim, the McDonald's franchise owner, told in an email that the content of the group's meetings had "absolutely nothing to do with their being asked to move."

Baim pointed out that the restaurant has a small seating area with signs that inform customers about its no-loitering policy.

"While we're not able to accommodate groups, these folks are always welcome to visit the restaurant as customers," he said.

Fast-food restaurants are common destinations for informal meeting groups like Alcoholic Anonymous and other counseling organizations.

Starbucks, for example, told in a statement that its stores are "designed" to be gathering places.

"We take great pride in being an environment where our customers and members of the community can come to relax, visit with each other and discuss things that are meaningful to them," a statement from Starbucks on Tuesday read.

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