The Marble Slab here will continue to offer Christian music with its trademarked “freshest ice cream on earth.”
LEESVILLE – The Marble Slab here will continue to offer Christian music with its trademarked “freshest ice cream on earth.”
The locally-owned franchise recently was told by its national
headquarters that a woman had emailed them to complain. When she went
into the Leesville Marble Slab, Christian music was playing and she was
offended, she wrote, adding that she had found 64 people who agreed to
boycott the store with her, protesting the playing of Christian music
in a secular establishment.
“Christian-based customers would not be offended to hear a light rock
or classical station playing in your store,” suggested Alissa Church,
Marble Slab franchise relations manager, in an email to David and
Teresa McConathy, Leesville store owners and members at East Leesville
But David McConathy isn’t budging.
“We will continue to play our Christian music,” he wrote in his emailed
response to Church. “I don’t make people sit and listen nor do I preach
when they enter the store. If we lose 64 customers because of the
music, I am truly sorry; however I know that God will provide 64 new
customers because we stood firm in our decision.”
Nothing in his signed agreement with the corporate office requires him
to be bound by their suggestions regarding the music played in his
store, McConathy said.
McConathy went on to write in his initial response to Church that he
was “somewhat appalled” at the suggestion to change the store’s music
at the request of one person, even if 64 other customers were involved.
In effect, McConathy wrote, these customers represented less than
one-tenth of one percent of the area’s population of 55,000.
“I am not angry or upset, but I am very concerned not only for my
business but for my family and our entire nation,” wrote McConathy, who
also is an air traffic controller at the nearby Fort Polk Army base.
“This is the sort of thing that is happening around our country,”
McConathy said later. “Small groups are taking God out of the Pledge of
Allegiance, prayer out of schools, Nativity scenes out of public
places, and the Ten Commandments out of our court rooms.”
Apparently the customer who complained was not a frequent one,
continued McConathy in his email to Church. The owners have played
Christian music in the store from the day it was first opened, 16
The complaint escalated when McConathy sent an email to people he knew,
asking for prayer about the situation. At the end of that email was the
email corporate headquarters had sent him from the complaintant; it
included her contact information.
The people McConathy knew apparently began contacting her and
forwarding McConathy’s email to others, who apparently also started
The complaintant contacted Marble Slab’s corporate headquarters again,
this time involving the president of the corporation who has asked, via
an email to David McConathy, that local citizens please refrain from
“I regret that her email address and phone number got out and that
she’s received emails and phone calls from anyone but myself and Marble
Slab,” McConathy said to the Louisiana Baptist Message. “I appreciate
her willingness to take a stand on something she believes in and in her
being open and honest about it. I in no way harbor any animosity toward
her, and I would love to sit down with her and her family and get to
know them as people.”
McConathy has emailed and telephoned the woman to that effect, also
suggesting that she forward all emails about the situation to him so
that he could shoulder the burden of responding when necessary. In
addition, he plans to reimburse her for any expenses related to
changing her phone number.
Though he has received some emails forwarded from her account, she remains unresponsive about meeting with McConathy.
Despite his disagreement with the suggestion from corporate
headquaters, McConathy reiterated to the franchise relations manager
his initial decision to be in business with Marble Slab.
“The reason we chose Marble Slab Creamery over all the rest was simply
this … Every answer was based on honest, sound moral and ethical
values, as well as superb business knowledge,” McConathy said,
describing his experience early on with the corporation.
“It’s truly a God thing that we’re here,” added his wife, Teresa McConathy.
The previous owner of the store’s current location held the spot for
the couple for six months, she said. In addition, Marble Slab, which
usually does not do business in rural areas, decided to forego that
hindrance because of Leesville’s proximity to Fort Polk, the Joint
Readiness Training Center for Special Forces, Rangers and other elite
“When we opened the store we decided we would play Christian music because we are Christian,” Teresa said.
One local citizen, in response to the situation concerning the
complaint, lightheartedly offered a friend’s bus to help the McConathys
recover any loss in their customer base as a result of
“We’ll load it up, go to the Marble Slab, eat $10 worth of ice cream
each, and listen to some good gospel music. Tell David and Teresa
to keep up the good work,” the supporter wrote.
One student wrote: “My senior classmates and I have a prayer group that
meets in the mornings. We will be sure to keep you in our prayers.”
Other supporters sent emails to Church on behalf of the McConathys.
“For each 1 of the 64 individuals in the Leesville area that may have a
problem with the music at the Marble Slab, there are 50 individuals who
patronize the business regularly that are very grateful for it,” wrote
one pastor and school principal.
“Immediately when this got out [other believers] came to the rescue,
which speaks volumes for our Christian-based community,” McConathy said.
“God loves everyone including people who do not agree with me,”
McConathy said in his email to Church. “I accept that and embrace it.
The fact that we are different proves that we are created by God.
You see …” he added, “it is not about me or about my store. It is all about God.”
McConathy refused to comment to a local newspaper reporter for fear
that the situation would continue to escalate, causing more duress for
the customer who lodged the initial complaint.
McConathy has also requested that concerned citizens refrain from emailing her.
The complaintant did not respond to an email, phone calls or a personal visit request for her perspective on the matter.