California Cafe Owners Face Eviction For Playing Christian Music
Serving coffee to local lawyers in a suburb of Los Angeles, Carlo and Michelle Magno are being forced to reapply for their lease — but this time, they should drop the Christian music if they want to stay where they’re at.
After operating as Cafe Justice for the past 11 years in the Court House of Rancho Cucamonga in San Bernardino county, the Magnos have been hit with complaints over their religious and patriotic decor as well as their preference to play Christian music. After a complaint was filed with the San Bernardino County Department of Real Estate Services, which leases the alcove to Cafe Justice, the Magnos were notified that they had lost their location and it would be going to a public bid.
Speaking with media, Carlo Magnos said that he was “encouraged” to reapply, but this time his bid proposal should mention that they would “not play [their] religious music or have any religious decorations.”
In January of this year the Magnos were told that their bid proposal was denied after spending 11 years serving customers and paying their rent on time. Mr. Magnos said:
“We have no broke any laws, federal or state, nor did we breach anything in our contract. Every day we open our cafe — our endeavor is to be able to not just serve the best products that we can, but also encourage people who might be going through a rough time.
Carlo said that he has hired a lawyer and has began proceedings against the Real Estate Service to “reveal the unlawful handling of the bidding process along with the religious discrimination against a Christian-owned business.”
Cafe Justice is set to be evicted shortly.
Cafe Justice is located in the same building as the Court House in Rancho Cucamonga, and across the street from the local City Hall and Police Department.
Yelp Reviews Complaining About Christianity
Taking a look through the Yelp reviews, there are a few good ones, a few negative ones, and then there are the ones that explicitly complain (or praise) the religious aspect of the cafe.
“I had jury duty and so I went to the only game in town INSIDE the courthouse. Before he could make my latte, however, the owner tried tell me about his “Christian” (and yeah, that’s in quotes for a reason) faith. I tried to explain that separation of Church and State as guaranteed by the Constitution should be observed inside a space such as a court-house. He vehemently disagreed, loudly and long. I found his manner off-putting and I left the cafe sans beverage. Next time I’m in this court house, I’ll remember to pack a lunch. I don’t want my latte with a side of preaching. Thanks. Posted April 2017″
I recommend this coffee shop to everyone who has to sit for jury duty or who happen to be at the court for other reasons! I also love how they are so patriotic with American flags and eagles placed in different areas! I love love the music ~ so soothing! They are truly a blessing! Posted November 2017
For someone who runs a business that keeps preaching about how “God is great” and that church and state should be combined, the owner really doesn’t seem to care much about the quality of his product offerings… Posted January 2018
Of course, nothing about the cafe being threatened with eviction had anything to do with the quality of the muffins.
Christian Music: Sales By The Numbers
In 2014, Christian and Gospel albums sold over 17 million copies compared to over 5 million copies of dance and electronic music. In comparison, pop album sales totaled over 27 million albums and over 85 million rock albums were sold in the United States.
Christian Music Is Local Music
According to Christianity Today and Pew Research, over one-third of low power FM radio stations are religious (that is, Christian) in nature. These LPFM stations generally have a reach of only 3.5 miles. Congress opened the LPFM market back in 2010 after agreeing that these low power signals don’t interfere with more power FM broadcasts. After this ruling, it took a few years to iron out FM translator applications and during one month in 2013 the FCC opened applications for LPFM stations. At that time, over 2,800 stations applied. In order to be approved, LPFM stations must be run by nonprofits or similar groups.
Christian Radio Has Strong Audience
In 2014, a survey by LifeWay Research showed:
- 10% of Americans frequently listen to Christian radio
- 17% of Americans sometimes listen to Christian radio
As for the churchgoing audience,
- 27% of weekly churchgoers frequently listen to Christian radio
- 33% of self-identified evangelicals frequently listen to Christian radio
- 34% of self-identified evangelicals sometimes listen to Christian radio
After Finney Media surveyed over 23,000 Christian radio listeners in the US and Canada in 2016, they found that 80% of listeners do so for their own spiritual growth. As well, they are seeking out worship music and to feel encouragement — and half of them say that they’ll tune out if the host is coming off as negative.
Sources: Todd Starnes, Statista, Christianity Today, Pew Research, Finney Media, LifeWay Research