Customers looking for an oil change in Plano, Texas, are being offered an interesting deal.
Charlie Whittington, who owns Kwik Kar, has issued a coupon that promises a $19.99 oil change if customers recite the famed New Testament Bible verse John 3:16. The scripture, which is central to Christian belief, reads:
“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” (NIV)
Whittington says he created the deal as an opportunity to share his beliefs with his customers. “I really believe if you talk more positive stuff you get more positive things out of it,” he says. “I want to inspire people to look where they can do more.”
Of course, he has faced mixed reaction. While people have called in from other states to praise his coupon, others wonder if he's discriminating against nonbelievers. One man, Marshall Wei, says that he couldn't remember the verse.
So, Wei looked it up online and headed to Kwik Kar. But he apparently started having second thoughts about the offer. Perhaps he didn't want to recite the scripture aloud or maybe he decided that the deal wasn't fair to non-believers (we're not actually sure what Wei's beliefs are). In the end, he decided not to recite the verse and ended up paying $46, instead of the $19.99 promised to those who honored the deal.
Wei wondered, "Why should I be compelled to quote something I do not feel comfortable to quote? I’m paying you. Why can’t you treat me like others?”
On the Friendly Atheist blog, Hemant Mehta writes:
Also, how come it’s always Christians who seem to do things like this? You never see an atheist business owner saying she’ll give you a discount if you say “God is a myth.”
Whittington, though, is defending the deal and standing by what he believes. At least one lawyer, Andy Siegel, who is based in Dallas, Texas, claims that he believes the coupon is legal. Still, he believes the conversation about faith could have been started in a different manner. “The study of the Bible has many rewards," he says. "I’m not sure that God intended a lube discount to be among its many riches."