Thursday, February 10, 2011

BQOTD: Religious Businesses

Some of you may know that in college, I majored in Sociology. Every once in awhile, something pops up in the news that just gets those sociological wheels turning. Yesterday was one of those days. See, I came across an article on CNN talking about various businesses that have religious affiliation.

I'll paraphrase some of the businesses covered in the article here:

* Chick fil A- Owners identify as Christian say that their corporate mission statement is "to glorify God." All franchises close on Sundays to allow employees to attend church and spend time with family. The owner says, "You don't have to be a Christian to work at Chick-fil-A, but we ask you to base your business on biblical principles because they work." 

* Forever 21- John 3:16 is printed on the bottom of the bags, and according to the CNN article, is a "demonstration of the owner's faith"

 * Whole Foods- One of the co-founders is a Buddhist, who says that many of the ideals of his religion are incorporated into the company (the article didn't give much more information about how they are incorporated, but did mention the ideal that sustainability is more important than profit. 

* In N Out Burger- Known for printing Bible verses on their cups and burger wrappers. The cups bear John 3:16, single burger wrappers bear Revelation 3:20, and milkshake cups cite Proverbs 3:5.  Other verses included on various paper products are Nahum 1:7, John 14:6, and 1Corinthians 13:13.

* Tom's of Maine- The owner and CEO has a master's from Harvard Divinity School, and almost left the company to pursue Christian ministry full time. However, he ultimately decided to use Tom's of Maine as a ministry opportunity. 

* Tyson Foods Inc- Tyson employs many chaplains that minister to it's employees, and has also funded an institute designed to study faith and spirituality in the workforce. 

* Hobby Lobby- Mission statement says, "Honoring the Lord in all we do by operating the company in a manner consistent with Biblical principles." 

Other companies mentioned were SeviceMaster (Terminix), Herman Miller, Interstate Batteries, and Wal-Mart.

This may be old news, but we don't really have many of the businesses mentioned here locally, so I wasn't aware of their religious affiliation until I read the article. It got me thinking. So my question is: What do you think of business who have a public religious affiliation? Does their public religious affiliation make you more or less likely to patronize those businesses? If you don't share the beliefs of any of the businesses mentioned, how does that make you feel?


  1. I love it! And didn't know some of those store did it either! But it makes me want to support them too!

    Like Chickfila said, Biblical principles WORK. Bottom line.

  2. Personally, I really like it and find myself wanting to support these businesses. We have a newsletter here in the Milwaukee area that lays out all the Christian based companies which I think is a great idea. I like knowing I'm supporting someone who upholds biblical standards in their line of work.

  3. I knew about some of those companies and their affiliations, but not all of them.

    The only store listed that I really frequent is Hobby Lobby. I don't consider myself to have a specific religious affiliation, but I think it's awesome of a company to close it's doors one day of the week in honor of family and fellowship. If an individual chooses to attend church, their attendance shouldn't have to be based on whether or not they are forced to work on Sunday. Likewise, I appreciate that they still recognize family as important - that's few and far between in our go-go-go 24/7 society.

    I can't say that this REALLY impacts whether I patronize their store, but I do appreciate what they're doing.

  4. I love that Hobby Lobby is closed on Sundays so their employees can spend time with their families. I love even more that it says that right on their front doors.

  5. How funny... I've never heard anyone talk about this stuff except my best friend who majored in Sociology. When we go to the mall she never fails to point that stuff out, lol. It's never bothered me one way or the other, probably because I'm Christian, but she won't eat at Chick-Fil-A because of it. She will, however, shop at Forever 21. Makes no sense... she's silly like that.

  6. I shop a lot at Whole Foods. I identify with the company's sustainability efforts and healthy lifestyle. I also identify with a Buddhist lifestyle. There are companies listed that are in our area that I do not support and it isn't because of their religious affiliation but rather their sometimes unethical business practices and poor employee support.

    I try to base more of why I support or do not support a company on their ethical business practices and overall support of employees. The way employees are treated says a lot about a company.

  7. I don't really care. I use Tom's toothpaste, and I'm definitely not Christian. I wouldn't shop at a place owned by, say, Westboro Baptist Church, but generally, religious leanings don't really bother me in private businesses.

    I avoid Wal-Mart like the plague, but not because of its religious affiliation.

  8. Being entirely honest, it kind of makes me uncomfortable. I'm not Christian and I often feel like Christian overtones and implications are everywhere, making me feel alienated. It wouldn't make me feel the need to avoid those places altogether, but if I were to ever be interested in a job in retail or fast food, it would absolutely keep me from applying there. I wouldn't be able to stand working at a place where I had to know something about the bible or what biblical standards even are to supposedly do my job.

    But I agree with others that the practices of a company will make me avoid it. Like Walmart, I refuse to have anything to do with them. And it makes wonder how they consider themselves Christian, ethical, or living by biblical standards.

  9. It doesn't bother me, that's for sure. But, I also don't frequent many of those places.

    I do think it's important to spend time with family and I like that some of those businesses give their employees that chance every Sunday, regardless of their religion.

  10. I think regardless of religious affiliation, I would rather frequent businesses that has sound ethics and looks beyond the profit.

    Businesses that treat their employees and the neighborhoods they serve with respect and a care are worth the extra penny and steps.

    Regardless of the motivation or creed - I appreciate the effort.

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  12. Oops, wrong google account. It doesn't affect me one way or the other. I'm all about stating what you believe, and am thrilled that companies aren't ashamed to say who they are and what they stand for. As long as they're not using their believes - one way or the other - as a marketing ploy.

  13. I think as long as they don't "shove it in your face" then that's cool. It's just like you or me choosing to lead our lives based on our religious beliefs. There was a Mr. Goodcents that's owner was VERY religious. As in pictures of Jesus everywhere, Bible verses on their frequent vistor cards, on their daily special boards. In that instance, I think it "scared" some people off.

    Very interesting, I didn't know about some of those stores like Forever 21.

  14. I am not a Christian and find the printing of Bible verses on packaging a bit odd. What does the Bible really have to do with business?

    It makes me less inclined to shop/eat there because it feels pushy to me and I certainly would not work for an employer that based their business practices on the Bible.

    I agree with the person that says they avoid Walmart, in that case it has to do with the disregard for their employees rather than religious reasons.

  15. To me, religion is something that should permeate your life. If it doesn't, what's the point? Therefore, if you own a business and are religious, I think your business should reflect that religion.

    I will frequent a place that has good products and good prices, regardless of religious affiliation.

  16. I've given this more thought, and I'd be curious what biblical principles exactly are these businesses putting into practice, and how. "Biblical principles" meaning practically anything that's in the Bible.

    Other than giving people Sundays off. I'd be interested to know.

  17. I don't find a businesses effort to tie their faith into their business off-putting at all. Even as a Christian, if their cashiers were spouting Bible verses at the check out, I would def not be inclined to shop there, but I don't think an extremely subtle Christian affiliated gesture should make a difference.I mean, I wouldn't stop shopping/eating at a place I loved if it was affiliated with Buddhism just because it put a belief or saying on a bag.

    I would rather shop at a store that seems to have a standard of moral ethics, as opposed to just simply caring about the mighty dollar - as Nessa posted.

  18. I read that same article! I love to support Chickfila but to be honest, if their food wasn't any good, it'd be a lot tougher. I go to Hobby Lobby and I admit, I do find it frustrating that they are closed on Sundays but I do appreciate their reasons for doing it. They are located far enough away from me that I can't go during the week and it's tough to only have Saturday as an option as those days are usually filled with running around whereas Sunday's are my relaxing days.

  19. Chuy's, a TexMex chain originating in Texas, prints prayers on their silverware packets.

  20. Well isn't every one in the U.S so proud of having liberty ande freedom to express themselves? *yes there's some sarcasm included there*
    I think it is great that business are free to support it's beliefs.I like to support their initiatives, as I like to imagine that many of the undertakings carried out by these companies will have foundations based on values, not only in the potential financial performance.

  21. It doesn't bother me as long as a company isn't trying to force their beliefs down your throat. I shop at most of those stores and had no idea some had a religious affiliation. Does it annoy me sometimes that Hobby Lobby or Chick-Fil-A are closed on Sunday, yeah, but I know I'd be grateful to have a weekend day off in a retail or restaurant job. I don't identify as any religion, but I work for a Christian organization. Again, it's not one that forces any belief on you, rather there are religious undertones. It's what many of these companies are doing, just putting a little bit of spirituality here and there.

  22. Great post! In Colorado Springs we have some very large Christian organizations like Compassion International and Focus on the Family, and many others. We also have a Christian Business Directory that is published and circulated. It is about the thickness of a highschool yearbook without the hard covers.

    I know that when I go to Chick-fil-a the level of customer service is far superior then other fast food places. Sometimes things like the directory make me wonder if people are actually misusing things like that to gain customer base, but do not actually follow the faith.

    But because of the difference in service as I mentioned above I am more likely to utilize a faith based company. I am a christian but I will say when I have shopped at Whole Foods the people have always been pleasant and helpful. Sometimes something positive like a good understanding in where your beliefs are at and having a good attitude can really be translated into a bussinesses culture.

  23. Wal Mart is a Christian business? Coulda fooled me... I didn't know about Forever 21, though. It doesn't make much of a difference to me if it's a Christian/Buddhist/Whatever affiliation, though I do like to support those more, like a previous commenter said, because their business practices and chasity work and whatnot tend to reflect those values....

  24. I love that most of those places show their affiliation without throwing it in your face. It makes me want to shop at places that I identify with more, and while we don't have a Whole Foods here, I probably wouldn't be any less likely to shop there unless I felt like their spiritual beliefs were being pushed on people.


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