Friday, November 6, 2009

Special privilege: Church Group Discount

Special privilege: Church Group Discount

Seeing himself as 'a majority of one' and by recognizing that his own opinion counted equal to that of any other citizen, Henry David Thoreau stood firmly in the way of social injustice. He rejected yielding to social subjugation, legal or otherwise, by opting instead to publicly exercise his personal right to take independent action even if it meant assuming a posture of civil disobedience. And, willing to suffer the consequence of jail for the sake of upholding his principle, Thoreau sat it out to make his voice understood. He would not yield.

Atheists will sometimes find themselves as alone as Thoreau, living in a virtual sea of religion where special privileges and special deals are granted to some for mere reasons of belonging to special groups, church groups. Discounted Sunday meals are a case in point. Its viewed as a boon to business for restaurants to offer "dollars-off" price reductions to customers presenting church bulletins when paying their tabs. And, although it isn't a permitted practice under federal law or in accord to most state law, some businesses boldly offer these discriminatory discounts. Atheists, having no churches, are left out in the cold when such policies are employed and that isn't fair. But what's for it?

If you're a Thoreau at heart and faced by such prejudice, you might raise a fuss on the spot... and, like Thoreau, you might wind up in jail. Thoreau's way isn't my recommendation, yet doing nothing at all isn't my recommended either.

When faced by illegal discrimination, neither turning tail nor standing alone makes much sense. First, doing nothing at all to thwart injustice fails to fulfill ones obligatory duties of citizenry - we must, each one of us, make every effort to demand equality and fair treatment in all situations. Second, acting the loner, likewise falls short of our obligation to one another. Single handed actions are unlikely to be as successful as steps taken with the strength of parallel support. Even the Lone Ranger depended on Tonto.

We non-believers have our own groups now, nationally recognized groups with reputations of success against religiously bias practices. It's my recommendation is to use that strength. Blow the whistle, sound the bell. Get help. Putting an end to religiously motivated inequality is the responsibility of everyone. Let's all see it done together.

Freedom From Religion Foundation can be easily reached by phone at: (608)256-8900. Americans United for Church and State Separation can be reached at: (202) 466-3234.

Make the call.


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