Restaurant offers discount to people who pray before their meal

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At one North Carolina diner, those who give thanks before their meal may find they have another reason to be grateful.

That’s because Mary’s Gourmet Diner in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, offers a 15 percent discount to those patrons who pray in public.

According to a report by the Huffington Post, restaurant owner Mary Haglund says the offer is not tied to any particular religion, but merely rewards those who take a moment to be grateful. Haglund says she has been offering the discount for about four years but has never advertised it. The discount is given at random and is offered at the discretion of wait staff.

The prayer discount has received both praise and criticism. While some are pleasantly surprised by the restaurant's offer, others question whether the discount violates the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits religious discrimination in public venues like restaurants.

Haglund explains her philosophy in a statement on the diner’s Facebook page. Haglund says she has lived in a third-world country where people were starving so she never takes for granted the abundance of food available in America. She simply wants to encourage others to show gratitude before enjoying a meal at her restaurant.