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February 6th, 2011
06:20 PM ET

Poll: Do fast food chains' religious leanings flavor your patronage?

By Kat Kinsman, CNN Eatocracy Managing Editor

Chick-fil-A is hardly the only fast food outfit to make its founders' religious leanings part of its recipe. Western U.S. burger chain In-N-Out, founded in 1948 by Harry and Esther Snyder and still privately owned, has since at least the late 1980s, printed citations of bible passages on various pieces of packaging.

The verses themselves are not explicitly printed out, but rather text on the soft drink cup reads "John 3:16" which indicates the bible passage, "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life."

The single burger and cheeseburger wrappers bear "Revelations 3:20" – "Behold: I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me," the milkshake cup cites, "Proverbs 3:5" – "Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding," and there are others as well.

Read the full post on fast food religion at CNN's Eatocracy blog
- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: Culture wars • Food

soundoff (29 Responses)
  1. Victor Alfano

    This whole discussion really indicates the hostility of our secular society to Christianity. If people don't want to eat at a place because of the beliefs they espouse so be it. Maybe next time it will be the seclusion of Jewish or Muslim owned businesses. I don't know much about Chick-fil-A but I do know that In and Out makes great burgers and are top notch on how they treat and promote their employees so I will continue to eat there over most of the other fast food places because of that. I think if everyone really did what Jesus preached the whole world would be a better place. It this simple; Please God and love thy neighbor. (whatever their beliefs)

    February 9, 2011 at 8:04 pm |
  2. Jim

    Frankly, I applaud Chick-Fil-A's willingness to reflect their beliefs. In particular, I laud their refusal to do business on Sunday.

    If others choose to hate them for their beliefs, that just shows that person's colors. As for me, I'd go get some Chick-Fil-A today, but I'm in Afghanistan.

    February 7, 2011 at 11:16 pm |
  3. Russ

    It would be an affont to me to read their relgious qoutes on something I purshased to consume. I want to enjoy my meal and not be proselytized eating it. Keep religion in the churches where it belongs, not that it does those who go to them that much good. They are just a joke, self-righteous, bigoted, hypocrites, and I do not want to be reminded of them while I am trying to eat.

    February 7, 2011 at 6:11 pm |
    • Jim

      Russ, I can only hope you're joking when you say that Christians are, "just a joke, self-righteous, bigoted, hypocrites."

      If not, you've pretty clearly identified yourself as the epitome of a bigoted hypocrite.

      February 7, 2011 at 11:18 pm |
  4. Jim Rousch

    Christ fed thousands of people during the course of His ministry.

    He fed 5,000 people in Mark 6 and He fed 4,000 people on a different occasion two chapters later in the same book. How much did He charge in either case? Not a single denarius!

    That being said, anyone who claims to be witnessing to people while serving them food should charge them the same amount of money as the founder of their religion did.

    Nothing.

    February 7, 2011 at 4:30 pm |
    • Reality

      Jim,

      After thorough analyses of the feeding the mult-itudes' passages in the NT (1 Cor 15:6; (2) John 6:1-15; (3a) Mark 6:33-44 =Matt 9:36; 14:13b-21 = Luke 9:11-17; (3b) Mark 8:1-10 = Matt 15:32-39; (4) Luke 24:13-33,35; (5) Luke 24:41-43; (6) John 21:9,12-13), many contemporary NT scholars have concluded that the stories were not historical.

      e.g.

      Gerd Lüdemann

      "Gerd Lüdemann (Jesus, 45) offers the following historical judgment of the account in Mark 6:

      The formation of this story derives from the needs of the community. Its historical value is nil. Anyone is free to accept the table fellowship of Jesus and his followers as a starting point for the rise of this story. But that is rather different from the feeding of the 5000.

      John P. Meier – Professor at Notre Dame

      "John P. Meier (Marginal Jew II,966) suggests that the Gospel stories of Jesus feeding a multi-tude preserves a tradition about "some especially memorable communal meal of bread and fish" but does not think it possible to offer a judgment on whether anything miraculous was involved in the meal event. See pp. 950-967 for his complete discussion. "

      February 7, 2011 at 5:47 pm |
  5. civiloutside

    Lol... It just occurred to me that I have to eat at Chick-fil-A at least one more time. I have a gift certificate. It's already paid for, so if I don't go use it then they get to keep all that money as pure profit. By using it, I can take some money away from them!

    February 7, 2011 at 1:56 pm |
    • Nonimus

      Pay for person in line behind you. CFA won't get their money.

      February 7, 2011 at 4:13 pm |
  6. civiloutside

    Since I have no great desire to associate eating with being annoyed, I likely would choose to go elsewhere rather than eat at a place that's displaying religious messages all over. And when I hear that such a business is actively using their profits to impress their religious views into oppressive legislation, that's when I start encouraging other people to eat elsewhere as well.

    February 7, 2011 at 1:09 pm |
  7. J Pedersen

    Hot dogs and dogma do not go hand in hand. Wrapping your religious beliefs around a cheeseburger.....? Please!!

    February 7, 2011 at 11:04 am |
  8. Nonimus

    I would think that if these fast food places truly wanted to 'love their neighbor as themselves' they wouldn't be serving the unhealthiest food on the planet.
    Second, I doubt "God" or "Jesus" would want to be associated with a quarter pound of fried beef. "Through me you can have eternal life. Would you like fries with that?"
    Third, I don't appreciate being a uninformed mule for someone else's spirituality. Why are they so subtle about the messaging, if not to spread their message without full knowledge of the participant. That and the probable backlash if just printed a bold "Praise Jesus" right on the top of the item.

    February 7, 2011 at 10:41 am |
    • Reality

      Actually, you can get a very healthy meal at Chick-Fil-A. For example, try their salad with or without the chargrilled chicken, http://www.chick-fil-a.com/Food/Meal

      February 7, 2011 at 12:55 pm |
    • civiloutside

      I'm fairly sure that the reason they only put the book and verse numbe is that they're hoping you'll get curious enough to look it up and then perhaps get sucked into reading and believing the associated mythology. It's a backdoor way of saying "read our book."

      February 7, 2011 at 1:14 pm |
    • Nonimus

      Thanks for responding you two.

      @Reality,
      I'm sure you can find something healthy, just like you can order a soft drink at a bar, but that's not the main reason people go there.

      @civiloutside,
      I agree, "backdoor", subtle, bait-and-switch, whatever you call it, it's not a open and honest conversation and it's done to customers who may or may not be aware of the true intention of the business, or the message-in-the-meal, so to speak.

      February 7, 2011 at 2:28 pm |
    • Nonimus

      Should be "Christ Burger."
      Penny wise and Quarter-pound foolish!
      Your savour (sic) has returned!
      Holy cow! (on a bun)
      etc.

      February 7, 2011 at 2:33 pm |
    • Nonimus

      Oops, it's Chick-fil-A isn't it.
      A wing and a prayer!

      February 7, 2011 at 2:50 pm |
    • jeff

      @civiloutside, you're saying people read scripture in the bible and get sucked into believing it? I'm sure you can explain the science behind that?

      grace and peace,

      -jeff

      February 7, 2011 at 5:24 pm |
    • civiloutside

      I'm saying I believe that is the hope of the people printing chapter numbers on the food wrappers. How much it actually works, I couldn't really speculate.

      February 8, 2011 at 7:41 am |
  9. Reality

    If you were up to date on the latest conclusions of many contemporary historic Jesus scholars, you would know that John 3:16 was concocted by John as was most of his gospel to deify the simple preacher man aka Jesus.

    Added commentary:

    John 3:16 is a single attestation in the NT and experts such as Professors Crossan, Borg and Ludemann relegated it to the myth pile generated by John.

    So putting said saying on burger wrappers or cups is like adding a quote from Santa Claus.

    See added commentary at http://wiki.faithfutures.org/index.php/350_Jesus_to_Nicodemus, Professor Crossan's book, The Historical Jesus and Professor Ludemann's book, Jesus After 2000 Years.

    With the respect to the Book of Revelation- more Santa Claus "speak" with a lot of it on the dark side:

    To wit:

    "Nineteenth-century agnostic Robert G. Ingersoll branded Revelation "the insanest of all books".[30] Thomas Jefferson omitted it along with most of the Biblical canon, from the Jefferson Bible, and wrote that at one time, he "considered it as merely the ravings of a maniac, no more worthy nor capable of explanation than the incoherences of our own nightly dreams." [31]

    Martin Luther "found it an offensive piece of work" and John Calvin "had grave doubts about its value."[32]

    February 7, 2011 at 12:23 am |
    • Cynic

      The book of Revelations sounds as if John was on a bad acid trip.

      February 7, 2011 at 12:42 pm |
  10. tallulah13

    Best sign I've ever seen at a sporting event was just :

    John .363

    Or course, this was the 1993 World Series, the John in question was John Olerud of the Blue Jays, and the .363 was his batting average for the year. I thought it was a lovely way to respond to those annoying bible verse signs that try to take attention from the sporting event and the athletes.

    I don't much care for any quotes on packaging, Starbucks used to put secular "inspirational" quotes on their cups. I generally ignored them because all I really wanted was the caffeine. I suppose it would be hypocritical of me to not eat at a place because of their labels, but I sure wouldn't go out of my way for them.

    February 6, 2011 at 9:04 pm |
  11. wwajdblogger

    Jesus for sure ate fish, drank wine, and probably ate lamb. But there is not evidence Jesus ate chicken. So Chick-fil-A has no right right to serve Christians. American Jesus would eat only at Long John Silvers. So long as it had a wine bar.

    http://www.whatwouldamericanjesusdo.com

    February 6, 2011 at 8:46 pm |
    • Jeff

      @wwajdblogger – Chick-fil-A serves chickens, not Christians. I'm guessing most chickens are eggnostics, shaking notion of shell at an early age...

      February 6, 2011 at 9:54 pm |
    • Normon

      Why would they serve chickens, they don't have any money.

      February 7, 2011 at 4:10 pm |
  12. TheRationale

    Proverbs 3:5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding

    What a spineless idea. What a cowardly way to take advantage of people. Throw away your own thoughts, your core essence, in favor of believing something. It makes a virtue out of rejecting your own opinion and of logical thought to begin with. This is a sign of a self-conscious ideology that knows it cannot justify itself and therefore must ask that its followers jettison their cognitive faculties. It is fearful of being questioned. It knows it cannot stand up to it, so it makes it a disgrace.

    As Voltaire said, "Only sheep need a shepherd!"

    February 6, 2011 at 7:28 pm |
  13. Curious

    No, they do not.
    This is America, and everyone has a right to thier beliefs. I am there to buy and consume food. Look how many times you may purchase something that has advertising on the wrapper or box. Like for instance.a a steam machine. Will you not buy the item because they advertise a shampoo you don't like? I doubt it.
    A McDonalds Cheeseburger and a Wendys cheeseburger, are still burgers, regardless of whats on the paper they are wrapped in.
    If I was offended, I would just find another place to eat, period. Live and let live.
    If your mother was Catholic, and you were an athiest, and she served your favorite hot cross buns, would you tell her you won't eat them, because she had icing on them that formed the cross? See how ridicolous this can get?

    February 6, 2011 at 7:17 pm |
    • David Johnson

      @Curious

      You said: "This is America, and everyone has a right to thier beliefs."

      As long as their beliefs don't compromise the rights of others, I would agree. I am pro-choice and support gay rights. If a fast food place is supporting groups that are anti-abortion or anti- gay rights then I would eat elsewhere. There are a lot of fast food places.

      If the wrappers and cups have religious messages, I would opt to go to another place to eat. I bet if there were quotes from the Koran or if there were atheist quotes on the containers, the fundies would not eat at that place.

      Cheers!

      February 6, 2011 at 7:38 pm |
    • Jeff

      @David Johnson – you have the perfect solution – they have the right to put a message on their product, and you have the right to vote with your dollars by eating there or going somewhere else. win/win

      grace and peace in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ!

      February 6, 2011 at 9:50 pm |
    • King

      I'm gay and an anti-abortionist. It just goes to show that you can't please everyone. You may boycott these places but how many in the GLBT will be disenfranchised when they no longer have a job. I will see you guys in line at In-N-Out! The lines are way too long but the food is worth it.

      February 7, 2011 at 9:10 pm |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.