Example: [Collected via e-mail, April 2007]
ATTENTION ALL CHRISTIANS - Be careful where you eat.
This is an incident that just recently happened right here in Albany, Georgia, a few weeks ago:
A local church youth group was returning from a church outing & decided to stop in at the Steak 'n' Shake in Albany, Georgia to eat. There were a dozen or more teenagers around the age of
Everyone ordered & received their food. One of the teenager's stood up & told the group to be quiet for the blessing of the food. The teenager said the blessing out loud over their food. Several of the other customers bowed their heads.
After the grace (prayer) was over, the Steak 'n' Shake Manager came over to the young guy & started lecturing the teenager on Steak & Shake's policy, informed him that the practice of public prayer was illegal. She told him that he was not allowed to pray out loud in Steak & Shake Restaurants, and that if he did it again they would be asked to leave. She was shaking her finger in his face, criticizing & ridiculing him for praying out loud in the Steak 'n' Shake Restaurant. This was mainly a group of teenagers who didn't realize the ramifications of this action. One of the adults did stepped up to the manager & told her (the manager) that she didn't need to be attacking the teenager.
One of the adult who was there (who I would trust more than any of the teenagers) said that some of the waitresses came over after the incident and told the teenager that they supported him and gave him the name of the manager who just did this and a number to call and complain. This was done behind the back of the manager who "laid down the law", which is understandable since it is company policy, they could be fired for breaking the rules. The teenage youth doesn't want to get anybody in trouble, and won't provide the name of the offending party.
Later, after hearing of this incident, one of the youth group's parent or grandparent called the Albany Steak 'n' Shake Restaurant and asked to speak to the manager. She asked the person who answered the phone about the incident, and they told her the General Manager was coming in the next day and she should call back then and talk to them.
She called back the next day, told the story of the incident, and was told by the General Manager that it is indeed the policy of Steak 'n' Shake Restaurants. That you may pray, but praying out loud could disturb or offend the other customers and you may be asked to leave. Steak 'n' Shake has a "no vocal prayer policy". If you break that rule, you may be asked to leave.
The teenager who prayed was not asked to leave, in fact, nobody left when the manager did this, and I believe they should have gotten up, left the food right there on the tables & without paying walked out.
The teenagers are terrified that this is going to get somebody in trouble and wants no part of any protest.
As a Christian Adult, I feel it is just another attack on Christians. We have lost prayer in our public schools, lost prayer at school games & school functions. They are trying to take God out of the Government buildings, off our money, etc. I sure don't want to lose my right to give thanks over my food to the Lord who provided it to me in public.
Business are supported by our "In God We Trust" dollars. The customers "vote" for the businesses they like with their "In God We Trust" dollars. As a Christian, I will vote to eat at restaurants where I am allowed to pray. I will also vote to eat at restaurants where I can take a Christian group or go with a Christian group to eat & be able to pray out loud. As a Christian, I'm outraged, & wasn't sure what to do. So I took it to the Lord (I prayed) & God answered right away. He told me to tell all the world - I feel that I should tell people, so they could make an informed decision. There are probably other restaurants out there that feel the same way, but if Christians stick together we can at least make them miss our business!
What is this teaching our youth & children? That they can't pray in public places or bless their food?
Please forward this to everyone on your E-mail list.
Christians need to know & be heard, we've been silent long enough.
God Bless You!
PS. I would like to hear any feed back you might have on this incident or if you've encountered a similar incident or experience in any particular restaurant.
Origins: Steak n Shake is a restaurant chain that began in Normal, Illinois, in 1934 and now has outlets throughout the Midwestern and Southern United States featuring a menu that includes steakburger sandwiches and array of milk shakes and malts. In April 2007 we began receiving the above-quoted
We spoke to
The chain dispatched a district manager to the Albany restaurant to review corporate policy with all the employees there, they have offered apologies to as many of the customers involved as they have been able to reach so far, and they extend a public apology to anyone whom the incident has led to believe that
Last updated: 26 April 2007
Holmes, Barbara Rivera. "Steak and Shake Official: No Policy Against Dining Room Prayer." The Albany Herald. 26 April 2007. WALB-TV [Albany, GA]. "Restaurant Prayer Flap Was Misunderstanding." 26 April 2007.