CASE TYPE: Facing exclusion because of their faith, Uncategorized


Banned from café for reading the Bible and praying

Status: settled by negotiation

Hannah* is a committed Christian who was banned from a well-known Canberra café for reading the Bible and praying with a friend over lunch.

In July 2020, Hannah and her good friend Michelle, who has autism, had lunch together at a local café. Servers at the café saw the two ladies reading the Bible and praying and assumed that Hannah was taking advantage of Michelle. When the two women went up to the counter to pay, the manager ordered Michelle outside, and confronted Hannah and accused her of “brainwashing” and told her never to come back to the café again.

Both women were very hurt. Michelle, who holds tertiary qualifications particularly took offense at the assumption that she was vulnerable. Both women could have taken sex discrimination, disability discrimination and religious discrimination complaints to the ACT Human Rights Commission. However, as Christians, they elected, with the help of HRLA, to arrange a direct meeting with the owners of the café and the staff members involved where the matter was resolved. Hannah and Michelle received an apology and the café retracted the ban.

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