Searcy restaurant amid controversy for discrimination

SEARCY, Ark. (KTHV)- Searcy restaurant Bailey's Pizza is getting national attention for encouraging residents to attend church. This comes after a local resident complained to the national non-profit, Freedom from Religion, that the restaurant discriminates against some residents.

The pizza parlor offers customers discounts to those who bring their church bulletins on Sundays. The non-profit says the restaurant violates the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

"The law requires places of public accommodation to offer their services to customers without regard to race, color, religion or national origin." Elizabeth Cavell, non-profit representative says owner Steven Rose discriminates against people who don't go to church.

Rose does not agree. "It has nothing to do with excluding anybody," said Rose. "It's not specific to any church. It's another way to bring people in and make them feel welcome."

Rose opened his pizza buffet style pizza joint back in July. His restaurant has a wall allowing customers to write bible verses and scriptures.

In the center of the wall, it reads,

"God is the center of our lives, so our scripture wall is the center of Bailey's Pizza."

Rose received a letter from the national organization the first week of August. "It says that because I give a ten percent discount to people who go to church on Sundays, I'm discriminating against those who don't go to church."

Rose said he doesn't think he's excluding a group of people. "I offer discounts to others too - like college students, teachers, military, police, and senior citizens."

Rose said wants his restaurant feel like a home away from home. "It's that old school country atmosphere."

Rose said as a private business he has the right to offer people discounts. The non-profit said if Rose continues to offer them, they'll work with the community and move forward.


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