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She Gave Customers a Discount for Praying Before Meals, but Atheists Threatened to Sue. Now, a Well-Known Comedian Could End Up Defending Her.


"They told me they saw me as a nice lady trying to do something positive and pretty much got bullied by the FFRF."

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You may recall the controversy surrounding Mary’s Gourmet Diner in Winston-Salem, North Carolina — the restaurant that offered a 15 percent discount for "praying in public" before the policy was suspended after atheists complained and threatened to take action.

Diner owner Mary Haglund, 60, is set to be featured on "The Daily Show" this week, claiming that producers of the comedy program heard about her story after someone in the Charlotte area pitched it.

And she seemed to indicate that there's a chance "The Daily Show" will be defending her.

"They [the ‘Daily Show’ producers] told me they saw me as a nice lady trying to do something positive and pretty much got bullied by the FFRF," she told  WGHP-TV. "The ‘Daily Show’ folks see the FFRF people as being petty and that they should perhaps choose their battles better."

A screen shot from Mary's Gourmet Diner (Image source: A screen shot from Mary's Gourmet Diner (Image source:

Haglund allowed a crew, including correspondent Jordan Klepper, into the restaurant in November to film a segment, which she's hoping will at least create a few laughs in the wake of a volatile situation.

She hasn't seen a final version of the show and won't until it airs sometime this week, she said.

"It was a lot of fun and I enjoyed the process,. I can’t wait to see what they do with it," Haglund told WGHP-TV. "I love the show, and yes, if anyone makes fun of me, let it be Jon Stewart!"

Just days before she suspended her prayer discount, the restaurant owner told TheBlaze why she was offering it to patrons.

“For me, every plate of food is a gift,” she explained. “And I never take that for granted and when I see someone in a restaurant honoring their gratefulness at my table … it touches my heart.”

Haglund said that the “gift” she gave customers had nothing to do with a specific religious perspective, that she never advertised the discount and that it was something staffers sporadically offered only when they felt compelled to do so.

“It’s just a moment or faithfulness about the plate of food,” she said. “It’s not even a policy — it’s [something] we only do when we’re moved to do it.”

But after a lawyer from the Freedom from Religion Foundation atheist organization sent a letter to Mary’s Gourmet Diner calling the discount illegal under federal civil rights laws, Haglund dropped it over fears of a lawsuit.



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