Burger With A Side Of Bible: Companies Mixing Religion With Retail

Apr 1 2014, 4:33pm CDT | by

Burger With A Side Of Bible: Companies Mixing Religion With Retail
Photo Credit: Forbes Business

Hobby Lobby doesn’t want to cover its employees’ morning after pills. Chick-fil-A backs “traditional marriage” as opposed to the same-sex variety. Then there are Forever 21 and In-N-Out Burger, which print Bible verses on their bags.

Who knew so many major U.S. corporations were so devoutly religious?

Well, we at Forbes did, since we track not just the performance of public and private companies but the interests and proclivities of their founders and CEOs — like evangelical Hobby Lobby billionaire David Green’s pet project, the Museum of the Bible, set to open in the next year or two.

While Hobby Lobby and Chick-fil-A have hit headlines in recent weeks, they’re by no means the only big name for-profits conferring their top executives’ views on the masses.

The husband and wife proprietors of fast fashion chain Forever 21 are born-again Christians hoping to spread God’s word among their tween and teen fans.

Forever 21 co-founders Jin Sook and Do Won Chang have decreed that the words ‘John 3:16′ be printed on the bottom of their $3.7 billion (revenues) clothing company’s distinctive yellow shopping bags.

Described by the Christian Post as “the Gospel in a nutshell,” the Bible verse in question states: “For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.”

The Korea-born billionaires are said to attend mass each morning before work and keep Bibles in their offices.

They haven’t been as zealous, it seems, in guarding their reputation; Forever 21 has been accused of the decidedly un-Christian sin of stealing over and over again.

In a rare interview with the Guardian in 2011, one of the duo’s daughters defended the chain’s track record on the receiving end of copyright lawsuits:

“We’ve never settled. We’re not manufacturing goods ourselves [...] and we’ve put legal procedures in place [to avoid breaching copyright].”

Fans of In-N-Out Burger always seem to be proselytizing the popular West Coast fast food chain’s decadent ‘Animal Style’ topping. What doesn’t get discussed as much is the writing on the underside of each French fry container, milkshake cup and cheeseburger wrap.

Forever 21’s preferred Bible passage, John 3:16, gets a mention on the bottom of In-N-Out’s soda cup, while the wrapping on the chain’s Double-Double two-patty burger cites the lesser known Book of Nahum, 1:7.

Those curious enough to look it up in the Old Testament after wolfing down their greasy meal would find a variation of the following:

“The Lord is good, a stronghold in the day of trouble, and He knows those who take refuge in Him.”

These Bible references were reportedly the work of Richard Snyder, son of In-N-Out Burger’s founders, who picked passages that pertained to “evidence of faith.” (He died in a plane crash in 1993; his thirty-something niece Lynsi Torres inherited most of the business, and is now worth around $500 million, per Forbes’ most recent calculations.)

For more of America’s overtly religious corporations and their proprietors, from soy milk makers to household name hotels, see here:

America's Religious Companies

What companies have I missed? Are there mainstream for-profits that should be listed here? Email me: coconnor@forbes.com.

Source: Forbes Business


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