Church Bulletins

May 21, 1999

Awhile back a Dallas pizza buffet offered a free soft drink to anyone who brought a church bulletin in on Sunday. Everyone thought it was a nice gesture for church-going people, and it encouraged many families to drop by for pizza after church. But I guess all good things have to come to an end. One day a customer made an issue of the church bulletin policy. The owner, not wanting a confrontation, dropped the policy.

I was thinking of that incident the other day when I heard about a similar story in the Washington, D.C. suburbs. A promoter for a minor league baseball team wanted to turn out larger crowds. So he offered families a price-break on Sundays if they presented a bulletin from their church. The promotion was a big hit, until--well, you know where I'm going with this.

One attendee who was denied the special rate because he didn't present a church bulletin is suing the team. The suit is backed by the ACLU, but I guess that doesn't surprise you. The argument is that this is a violation of the separation of church and state. But the team is a private team, not a government entity. Well, the plaintiff argues that since the stadium is owned by the city, that makes it a government case. Even though a church bulletin could be from a synagogue, mosque, or any house of worship, the litigant in this case is an atheist, and he says his rights were violated.

Here we go again. Two different individuals trying to do something nice for church-going families faced lawsuits. Restaurants and other establishments offer discounts to seniors and to kids with good report cards. But just try and offer a benefit to those who go to church, and you'll end up in court.

I'm Kerby Anderson of Probe Ministries, and that's my opinion.