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Religion in restaurants


munchymom
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It's just a sign. I also see this as Christian-bashing. Notice the references to other religions that are not Christ centered that are couched in respectful terms. It's bigotry, pure and simple.

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Really, what's the problem. A guy who wants to "spread the word" opens a restaurant that spreads the word. If that doesn't bother you, you eat there. If it does bother you, you don't. If it bothers enough people, his restaurant fails or he changes.

To me, it's like complaining that the decor in a restaurant is really ugly and you're p.o.'d that people with bad taste insist on inflicting it on you when you're eating.

One of my favorite restaurants in LA was a Sikh vegetarian place that had all kinds of religious stuff in the place. Was I ever going to become a Sikh? No, but the food was good and the atmosphere was calm and pleasing. Another favorite place is in Amish country in Pennsylvania. A restaurant run by Mennonites with tons of Christian stuff all over the place. The food is good, the people are nice and I love it.

In either case I don't feel threatened letting them be who they are. If you don't want to be around people who are different than you, your choice is to force them to change or stay away from them. I know which I think is the right response.

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Really, what's the problem. A guy who wants to "spread the word" opens a restaurant that spreads the word. If that doesn't bother you, you eat there. If it does bother you, you don't. If it bothers enough people, his restaurant fails or he changes.

To me, it's like complaining that the decor in a restaurant is really ugly and you're p.o.'d that people with bad taste insist on inflicting it on you when you're eating.

One of my favorite restaurants in LA was a Sikh vegetarian place that had all kinds of religious stuff in the place. Was I ever going to become a Sikh? No, but the food was good and the atmosphere was calm and pleasing. Another favorite place is in Amish country in Pennsylvania. A restaurant run by Mennonites with tons of Christian stuff all over the place. The food is good, the people are nice and I love it.

In either case I don't feel threatened letting them be who they are. If you don't want to be around people who are different than you, your choice is to force them to change or stay away from them. I know which I think is the right response.

Exactly

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In-N-Out removed the bible passages a couple years ago, didn't they?

I get the general point that many restaurants have religious (or other) symbols conspicuously visible... think of the photos of Thai royalty at many Thai restaurants.

However Christian revivalism in the US right now feels very threatening to members of other beliefs, and I think that's probably the reason for the OP's disquiet.

Not to get all anthropological (and possibly seen as condescending or something), but if it felt culturally in synch with the restaurant and the food, I probably wouldn't let it bother me. By contrast, if Gramercy Tavern put up something like that, there's no way I'd patronize the place.

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That is what I find great about America. The owner believes in showing his beliefs on his sleeve. Others do not. You may be offended. Oh my. But when you walk through the mall and see victoria's secret, Hot Topic, etc, do you see that their belief system is written on the walls as well? Does it upset you, or do you just not think about it? Do you complain if you get a falafel and their is a quote from the Quoran?

Personally, having the courage of their convictions is far better to show it out in public than hide it away.

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One of my favorite restaurants in LA was a Sikh vegetarian place that had all kinds of religious stuff in the place. Was I ever going to become a Sikh? No, but the food was good and the atmosphere was calm and pleasing. Another favorite place is in Amish country in Pennsylvania. A restaurant run by Mennonites with tons of Christian stuff all over the place. The food is good, the people are nice and I love it.

In either case I don't feel threatened letting them be who they are.

Sikhs and Mennonites aren't actively trying to remove "blasphemous" books from libraries or adjust our educational curriculum. So when their religious symbols and passages adorn the walls of a restaurant -- it's cultural/authentic/refreshing/etc. A positive thing that adds to the dining experience.

But if the Westboro Baptist "church" were to open a restaurant and put their slogans on the walls, it would be intolerant/repugnant/offensive/etc.

See the difference?

Who cares how time advances? I am drinking ale today. -- Edgar Allan Poe

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I think the main problem for the non-religious is that they have tired (long ago) of the religious telling them what to do. We HAVE to have this engraved in the town square. We CAN'T teach this in schools. THIS book is evil, and must be removed from the libraries. THESE PEOPLE can't marry because [wrong skin color, wrong orientation, wrong religion].

Seriously, can't we even have a decent meal without the religious preaching at us? (Note, "at" not "to." Big difference, and I think the crux of the matter.) Chik-Fil-A and In-N-Out, I'm lookin' at you.

And it's not a Christian bashing thing. I don't care what cult knocks on my door demanding I convert or be damned. We get a LOT of that in Vegas, from surprising religious groups. I politely thank them and bid them a pleasant day, away from my house. What I WANT to say is, "You FREAKING MORON. I pulled a double last night and got home at 6:30 a.m., and now it's 10 and you want to tell me about a damned BOOK? What the [censored] do YOU know. You can't even dress yourself properly. And you think you have the wisdom to tell me about my spiritual path??!!?!? [censored] YOU, Charlie."

You GO, Scoop!

"Commit random acts of senseless kindness"

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Now there seems to be a huge logical fallacy going on in this thread. That because some, as in the minority, Christians behave a certain way that is offensive, therefor all Christians behave that way and as such any reference to their religious scripture is offensive. Are these people members of the Westboro church? Seems like if they were you would be tipped off by something a good deal more visually arresting than a framed invitation to have a grateful heart. Why this would be anymore offensive than a Muslim, Buddhist, Atheist, Zoroastrian prayer or whatever is beyond me. Did they ask you to pray over your food before delivering it first? No? Well then.

Edited by The Fedora (log)
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Now there seems to be a huge logical fallacy going on in this thread. That because some, as in the minority, Christians behave a certain way that is offensive, therefor all Christians behave that way and as such any reference to their religious scripture is offensive. Are these people members of the Westboro church? Seems like if they were you would be tipped off by something a good deal more visually arresting than a framed invitation to have a grateful heart. Why this would be anymore offensive than a Muslim, Buddhist, Atheist, Zoroastrian prayer or whatever is beyond me. Did they ask you to pray over your food before delivering it first? No? Well then.

That misses the point as far as I can see. The question as I interpret it is "does religion have a place in restaurants?" In a place where the ideal is to make customers feel welcome and at ease, the introduction of any religion is bound to alienate a proportion of people.

Practice whatever you want at home, but it has no place in a restaurant.

James.

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Now there seems to be a huge logical fallacy going on in this thread. That because some, as in the minority, Christians behave a certain way that is offensive, therefor all Christians behave that way and as such any reference to their religious scripture is offensive. Are these people members of the Westboro church? Seems like if they were you would be tipped off by something a good deal more visually arresting than a framed invitation to have a grateful heart. Why this would be anymore offensive than a Muslim, Buddhist, Atheist, Zoroastrian prayer or whatever is beyond me. Did they ask you to pray over your food before delivering it first? No? Well then.

That misses the point as far as I can see. The question as I interpret it is "does religion have a place in restaurants?"

It was not addressing the main topic, but addresses a point several other posters have brought up regarding the nature of Christians in pushing their beliefs on others.

In regards to whether religion belongs or not, that is entirely the choice of the owner as much as it is their choice what food they serve. If the goal of a restaurant is to be as appealing as possible to the widest group of people, then every restaurant should just be a McDonald's. I have a million things to disagree with McDonald's on though, I'm not part of their demographic, should I take that as being personally slighted?

By serving meat or only kosher meat or foie gras a restaurant already pretty clearly expresses where it stands on certain issues. They have that freedom just as I have to freedom to vote with my feet and my dollars and go elsewhere. The restaurant will either go on without me or not. If not they'll change to meet my needs or close. It's pretty simple.

If they're in an overwhelmingly Christian neighborhood and they see all their regulars at church and afterward at their restaurant, it probably does add to the comfort of their customers. The someone who comes in, eats there once, and then never comes back because they disagree with the restaurant's views has very little say in the restaurants decor, and rightfully so.

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I get your point, but religion seems to go a step further because of how infiltrated it has become in society. The choice of what food to serve is a restaurant's and chef's perogative, but when you start overtly introducing religion into the place, it takes it a step too far in my view, and starts to alienate people based on reasons other than the food on offer.

James.

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Really, what's the problem. A guy who wants to "spread the word" opens a restaurant that spreads the word. If that doesn't bother you, you eat there. If it does bother you, you don't. If it bothers enough people, his restaurant fails or he changes.

To me, it's like complaining that the decor in a restaurant is really ugly and you're p.o.'d that people with bad taste insist on inflicting it on you when you're eating.

One of my favorite restaurants in LA was a Sikh vegetarian place that had all kinds of religious stuff in the place. Was I ever going to become a Sikh? No, but the food was good and the atmosphere was calm and pleasing. Another favorite place is in Amish country in Pennsylvania. A restaurant run by Mennonites with tons of Christian stuff all over the place. The food is good, the people are nice and I love it.

In either case I don't feel threatened letting them be who they are. If you don't want to be around people who are different than you, your choice is to force them to change or stay away from them. I know which I think is the right response.

I second that.

Not to offend other but I think if you don't like those kind of religious stuff floating around the place while you are eating then leave at once. In my own personal opinion, I don't really care what religion is out there while I'm eating. As long as the food, value, place and people is good... I will enjoy my plate. :)

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We have a brand new Chinese buffet in our little town. I probably won't be going back, mostly because the food is not too great, but also because they play the local Christian station on the sound system.

It isn't because I hate hymns or Christians--it is because I object to the station's comments on political things on their 'news' segments.

sparrowgrass
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Here in the buckle of the Bible Belt, just down the road from Westboro Baptist, I can't really think of an overtly religious restaurant...and my urban missionary fundamentalist radar is pretty strong. You'll get groups of "Look at me! Look at me!" evangelicals fresh from church coming down off of a Holy Ghost bender who make a spectacle of praying over their meal, but beyond that not too much churchy action. Maybe some Christian AM radio in a random cafe.

Actually, one of my favorite places to eat on a Sunday afternoon is a steakhouse in western Kansas City, Kansas...chicken fried steak, homemade pies, 950 oz. glasses of iced tea, pickled beets, and a huge assortment of MUCH older folks who just got out of church. Leisure suits from the 70's, blue hair, an Elvis shrine near the front door, hand-crocheted "JESUS" plaques for sale by the cash register....it's a scene, man. Very, very conservative Christian atmosphere....but it works. Still very welcoming to the hell-bound.

Jerry

Kansas City, Mo.

Unsaved Loved Ones

My eG Food Blog- 2011

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We have a brand new Chinese buffet in our little town. I probably won't be going back, mostly because the food is not too great, but also because they play the local Christian station on the sound system.

It isn't because I hate hymns or Christians--it is because I object to the station's comments on political things on their 'news' segments.

I had to laugh a little." Buffet ---- food is not too good?" LoL. I am very surprised!!!

Sorry :-)

That altar in many Chinese restaurants, as I understand, is not any kind of organized religion. It is more of a superstition. Supposedly, it will bring good luck and lots of money.

dcarch

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Leisure suits from the 70's, blue hair, an Elvis shrine near the front door, hand-crocheted "JESUS" plaques for sale by the cash register....it's a scene, man.

Beautiful description. I can see it now - just like I was there. Thanks.

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You know, a lot of Christians, myself included (but depending on the context) feel compelled in a good way to share what we do believe is Good News. It doesn't sound like the restaurant's intention was unpleasant or aggressive - it wasn't "repent, sinners, or go to Hell" by rather a long shot. I've been in plenty of Asian restaurants that had religious items, images and so forth and have always seen that as cultural and not at all offensive.

"Life itself is the proper binge" Julia Child

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Now there seems to be a huge logical fallacy going on in this thread. That because some, as in the minority, Christians behave a certain way that is offensive, therefor all Christians behave that way and as such any reference to their religious scripture is offensive. Are these people members of the Westboro church? Seems like if they were you would be tipped off by something a good deal more visually arresting than a framed invitation to have a grateful heart. Why this would be anymore offensive than a Muslim, Buddhist, Atheist, Zoroastrian prayer or whatever is beyond me. Did they ask you to pray over your food before delivering it first? No? Well then.

Thank you very much. Well said!

"Life itself is the proper binge" Julia Child

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You know, a lot of Christians, myself included (but depending on the context) feel compelled in a good way to share what we do believe is Good News.

That's the problem though, it doesn't matter how benign your intentions, religion is malignant. Most people don't want to hear whatever salvation is being spewed forth by the righteous on that particular day.

If I came around and preached to you about atheism and the Good News about the rise of logic and rationality, would you like it? I'd say not. Religious beliefs belong in churches. Nowhere else.

James.

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You know, a lot of Christians, myself included (but depending on the context) feel compelled in a good way to share what we do believe is Good News. It doesn't sound like the restaurant's intention was unpleasant or aggressive - it wasn't "repent, sinners, or go to Hell" by rather a long shot. I've been in plenty of Asian restaurants that had religious items, images and so forth and have always seen that as cultural and not at all offensive.

See, I know that some Christians feel compelled to spread the Good News. And that is precisely why any Biblical quote that seems to be evangelizing is in fact suspect to me - because I don't really want to hear the Good News when all I want is a meal in a restaurant. Because implicit in the Good News is the Bad News that if I don't happen to go along with it, I will suffer in Hell for eternity. (Note, I am not saying that you in particular or the restaurant owner in question have that belief, but many proselytizing Christians I have met do, and so the threat comes along with the promise simply by association.)

When I go into an Asian, Middle Eastern, or Kosher restaurant there are sometimes religious displays, but they do not have the intent to convert me. Christians who see themselves as spreading the Good News have precisely that intent, and I don't care for it at mealtime.

That said, I've been interested to see the various reactions, I'm glad at least a few people see where I'm coming from in finding it unpleasant. I don't think it's "bashing" or "bigotry" to not want to be evangelized at a restaurant. I was especially sympathetic to the person who said that it would be acceptable in certain contexts, because I kind of felt the same way but didn't really know how to verbalize it. If the restaurant had been a barbecue or soul-food or down-home country cookin' restaurant, I wouldn't have been as surprised as I was (and I might have even thought it added to the "authenticity".) This was an upscale restaurant in a fancy shopping mall, and I'm not sure why that added to the discomfort I felt, so I admit I probably have some cultural prejudice of my own in the mix.

In any event, I won't be returning to that place, but I'm certainly in a minority in this part of the world and I have no doubt the restaurant will be successful without my patronage.

"There is nothing like a good tomato sandwich now and then."

-Harriet M. Welsch

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You know, a lot of Christians, myself included (but depending on the context) feel compelled in a good way to share what we do believe is Good News. It doesn't sound like the restaurant's intention was unpleasant or aggressive - it wasn't "repent, sinners, or go to Hell" by rather a long shot. I've been in plenty of Asian restaurants that had religious items, images and so forth and have always seen that as cultural and not at all offensive.

See, I know that some Christians feel compelled to spread the Good News. And that is precisely why any Biblical quote that seems to be evangelizing is in fact suspect to me - because I don't really want to hear the Good News when all I want is a meal in a restaurant. Because implicit in the Good News is the Bad News that if I don't happen to go along with it, I will suffer in Hell for eternity. (Note, I am not saying that you in particular or the restaurant owner in question have that belief, but many proselytizing Christians I have met do, and so the threat comes along with the promise simply by association.)

When I go into an Asian, Middle Eastern, or Kosher restaurant there are sometimes religious displays, but they do not have the intent to convert me. Christians who see themselves as spreading the Good News have precisely that intent, and I don't care for it at mealtime.

That said, I've been interested to see the various reactions, I'm glad at least a few people see where I'm coming from in finding it unpleasant. I don't think it's "bashing" or "bigotry" to not want to be evangelized at a restaurant. I was especially sympathetic to the person who said that it would be acceptable in certain contexts, because I kind of felt the same way but didn't really know how to verbalize it. If the restaurant had been a barbecue or soul-food or down-home country cookin' restaurant, I wouldn't have been as surprised as I was (and I might have even thought it added to the "authenticity".) This was an upscale restaurant in a fancy shopping mall, and I'm not sure why that added to the discomfort I felt, so I admit I probably have some cultural prejudice of my own in the mix.

In any event, I won't be returning to that place, but I'm certainly in a minority in this part of the world and I have no doubt the restaurant will be successful without my patronage.

You've completely misunderstood me about Good News - I'm talking about good News, period. Not "vs Bad News" and not "if you don't believe this, you're going to hell" (I think I said that pretty clearly). What if Christians actually believe that they are trying to be helpful, that what they're doing might actually help? Seems kind of positive to me. I don't object to the Dalai Lama commenting on world situations, nor do I think he's trying to make me a Buddhist. Again, while I'm a Christian, I couldn't be less offended by images and symbology of Asian religions in a restaurant. A friendly suggestion to pray and to be grateful, in a world that is increasingly uncivil and ungrateful, seems pretty inoffensive. If anyone finds that so offensive, they absolutely should have the courage of their convictions and leave. The fatc that you have said that you don't find Asian religious imagery offensive but are offended by Christian imagery say quite a lot.

"Life itself is the proper binge" Julia Child

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