"Religion Free Zones" Should be Among Restaurants' Priorities

Each Friday I like to buy the print edition of the local daily paper and go to a restaurant for a small breakfast with coffee, taking the paper along to read. Because my usual place had poor service, I went elsewhere, to a fast food joint overlooking the bay. It's the kind of place that takes pride in individual meal preparation -- like Burger King, where you can "have it your way" --  not things popped into a microwave, so they hand out little tents with order numbers on them.

I made my way about fifty feet into the fairly large main dining area to an empty seat, making sure to sit with my back to a group of about eight to ten people at the back, some of them looking like extras from the Duck Dumbnasty "reality" TV show. The wait for my order was minimal; just before it came I heard someone behind me say in a voice loud enough to be heard throughout the dining room, "I mean, the Hebrew language is God's language, isn't it?"

I thought, Uh, oh! The moment the wait help left my sandwich, I seized it, grabbed my paper, and left.

It occurs to me, restaurants need to have "No Religion" zones just as they have No  Smoking zones in cities where smoking is not outright forbidden in dining establishments. Non-theists, freethinkers, agnostics, and atheists should be able to eat in peace without annoying declarations of faith in the form of Booblical study grounds. These groups should be made to sit apart from other diners. We should write the heads of local restaurant associations and demand nothing less.

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We should be able to go into a restaraunt of any kind and ask for a "religious free zone." About the time they start looking at you like you are crazy explain it this way. "I want to eat in peace, OK. About the first time someone bows their head and starts talking to themselves I'm outta here."

Sounds like a plan!

How about the first time someone bows their head I'm going to punch them in the mouth!!

It can be very annoying (we encountered that recently) but it comes down to the circumstances. If they are talking in a normal conversational manner, it's their right just as much as it's our right to critique religion. If their pushing it, that's different.

I have a co-worker in Holland who periodically visits our site (and sometimes I go there) who will not start a meal without bowing his head in silent prayer. Annoying, stupid, but it's his right.

The shoe can be on the other foot. A friend socialized with a group of people of alternate sexuality. Members of the group included cross dressers, people in bondage suggestive jewelry, piercings (she herself was a domme) and they'd all get together about once a month at a local restaurant. I'm sure that some people were less than fully comfortable with that crowd, just as we are with religious nutters, but they had the right to enjoy their meal unmolested as well.

I suppose you're right jay. It's just so common here that it annoys me. It would be uncommon to not see the public prayers before meals.

I've seen (and heard) it on public transportation as well here in St. Louis. Folks start babbling about religious BS, and it's in a more compact area than an eatery. You can't escape it. Sometimes they get so bloody loud the driver has to tell them to knock it off, and then the fun really begins.

I've wanted to tell them to shove it themselves, but I figure it's not worth getting into an all-in brawl on the bus, especially since it's my only way to get around the area.

"An all out brawl on the bus"?! Wait a minute, these are Christians, right?

Yeah, they're Christians. I meant an all-in verbal brawl where it's me against a number of people who may not like someone telling them off. Especially on the bus. Good way to get yourself tossed off and perhaps banned. Don't need that.

Sorry for not explaining it better James. My bad.

And I suppose of course it would be you getting tossed & banned.....not the bloody Xians!

More than likely, though I would think a few drivers would toss everyone off for creating a disturbance and/or call the St. Louis city cops (most of my bus riding is in STL city) or St. Louis County cops if it's in STL County.

If nothing else, there are times I have to pick my battles.

In all fairness, it doesn't happen very often; most folks just sit quietly on the bus or train. But when the religious babbling does get going at times...*sigh*

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