Since Dan T. Cathy, President and Chief Operating Officer of Chick-fil-A came out and publicly opposed same-sex marriage, many people have been forced to take a hard look at what companies they will support. While some of the big conglomerates throw a little money at both sides of the debate in an effort to remain neutral; readers may be shocked to find that just because they’re not as outspoken, some companies make a point to be purposeful about their faith.
Here’s a list of some of the more well known religious companies and how they demonstrate their religious freedom. This list is in no particular order.
1. Tyson Foods – While known as the world’s largest chicken company, it is also known for employing the most chaplains in any work force. “Tyson Chaplain Services has chaplains available to team members at numerous plants around the company and in our corporate offices. The chaplains provide compassionate pastoral care and ministry to team members and their families regardless of their religious or spiritual affiliation or beliefs,” according to a banner on Tyson’s website. Tyson not only employs chaplains throughout it’s company, but they also recently funded “The Tyson Center for Faith and Spirituality in the Workplace” located at The University of Arkansas http://tfsw.uark.edu
2. Interstate Batteries – Like Tyson Foods, Interstate Batteries also employs it’s own chaplain. On it’s companies corporate website (http://corporate.interstatebatteries.com/giving/) the following is listed; “Part of what makes Interstate a unique company is its unabashed mission to conduct business in a way that honors God. That was Norm Miller’s vision when he became President in 1978. Today as chairman he is not involved in the day-to-day operation, and this allows Norm the time to speak to a variety of audiences interested in how he found the truth of Christianity and how he learned to effectively apply Biblical Principles to create a more successful business. Part of our corporate culture, through a full-time Chaplain and supporting staff, is to provide opportunities for people within and outside our company for Bible study, prayer, and Christian mission. While it is not necessary to be a Christian to be employed, it is a part of the daily work life for Interstate team members.”
3. Herman Miller – This Michigan-based furniture manufacturer who’s most famous for it’s Aeron chair, is grounded in the Reformed Protestant tradition. The company was founded in 1905 by D.J. De Pree, a Christian evangelical. He named the company after his beloved father-in-law, Miller. Today, De Pree’s sons Max and Hugh lead the company and outwardly declare that they too are servant-leaders just like their father. This being said, it’s no wonder that Herman Miller consistently appears on Fortune’s yearly list of The Best Companies to Work for.
4. In-N-Out-Burger – While Chick-fil-A asserts that it’s recipes come from its strong religious values, In-N-Out Burger also prides itself on its ongoing effort to print Bible scriptures on its packaging. In 1948, Harry and Esther Snyder founded the company on their devout Christian faith. It is this devotion that leads the company to continue to promote the Word of God in a very unique way today. Since the late 1980’s, In-N-Out Burger fanatics have been able to find scriptures on their burger wrappers and cups to name just a few examples. For instance, “John 3:16” can be found at the bottom of each drinking cup (pictured). It is the pinnacle verse used throughout all Christian denominations; “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.” Other verses have been found like Proverbs 3:5, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding,” and also Revelation 3:20, “Behold, I stand at the door and knock.” Currently In-N-Out Burger has 275 locations nationwide and growing.
5. ServiceMaster – While the name may not ring a bell for some, this companies residential service businesses may be more recognizable. Names like TruGreen, Merry Maids and Terminix have led the company to achieve over 5,100 franchises around the United States. In 1929, Marion E. Wade founded the company, which derived its name from the concept of Christianity known as “Service thy Master.” According to it’s website (http://www.servicemaster.com/about-us/history), “Wade had a strong personal faith and a desire to honor God in all he did. Translating this into the marketplace, he viewed each individual employee and customer as being made in God’s image – worthy of dignity and respect. His successors, Ken Hansen and Ken Wessner, also shared this view. These three leaders shaped what became our company objectives: To Honor God in All We Do; To Help People Develop; To Pursue Excellence; and To Grow Profitably.”
6. Hobby Lobby – This privately held chain of arts and crafts stores has amassed more than 500 locations nationwide. It was founded in 1972 by David Green and to this day resonates Hobby Lobby’s ethos, “Honoring the Lord in all we do by operating the company in a manner consistent with Biblical principles.” And it stands by the assertion “We believe that it is by God’s grace and provision that Hobby Lobby has endured. He has been faithful in the past, we trust Him for our future.” On the companies Vision page (http://www.hobbylobby.com/our_company/ministry.cfm) it states “Hobby Lobby Partners with organizations working to share the Good News of Jesus Christ to all the world.” These organizations include The Alliance Defense Fund, WyCliffe, and Oral Roberts University. One interesting fact, David Green, the companies founder, is the owner of “The Green Collection;” a compilation of more than 40,000 biblical antiquities currently featured via a worldwide traveling exhibition called “Passages.” Like Chick-fil-A, its more than 500 stores are closed on Sundays.
7. Tom’s of Maine – In 1970, along with his wife Kate, CEO Tom Chappell launched a line of natural home products that includes toothpaste, deodorant, soap to name a few. Many people may be surprised to know that Tom Chappelle received his Master’s Degree at Harvard Divinity School and almost didn’t start Tom’s of Maine in order to work in full-time ministry. With advice of one of his professors, Tom decided to treat his business as ministry. To this day Tom’s website states that he personally vows to, “Create a better world by exchanging our faith, experience, and hope.” (http://www.tomsofmaine.com/business-practices/values-beliefs/stewardship-model)
8. Forever 21 – While this company describes itself a fashion-forward clothing store for young ladies, it markets to another demographic; the Christian community. Like, In-N-Out Burger, Forever 21 also emblazons the bottom of its packaging with the scripture John 3:16 (pictured). According to a company spokeswoman, John 3:16 is used as a “demonstration of the owners’ Christian faith.” Additionally, consumers are able to purchase ladies T-shirts at its stores that unapologetically reveal various other Christian messages.
9. Walmart – This last inclusion could be taken by some with a grain of salt. While there is a “They do or they don’t mindset” going around about Walmart’s view on gay rights. In 2008, after Christian Conservative groups threatened a boycott, Wal-Mart left the National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce, with a spokesperson saying the company had decided not “to support or oppose highly controversial issues.”
Walmart was founded by the Walton family. Sam Walton founded the company in 1962 on the Christian Servant leadership model. The company based its shopping habits on Arkansas churchgoers and developed its business model from there. Today, Walmart is known as being the world’s largest retailer. Since the company was founded on Christian principles, this would explain why Walmart has long-carried Christian books that were once only available at larger Christian bookstores. Today, Sam Walton’s heirs own 48% of the stake in the publicly-traded corporation. This has enabled the Walton family to continue its stronghold over Walmart’s Christian based business practices.
While in recent days the media has tried to assault Chick-fil-A for its stance on gay marriage, it’s nice to learn that other well known companies support Christian values and are active; despite how the media tries to make us believe that Chick-fil-A stands alone in their commitment of biblical principles. I applaud these companies for not wavering in these times of spiritual indifference. At least I know where to grab my next burger, shop for chicken products, or purchase some great household décor. Am I advocating all Christians to support these companies; Yes! In a day and age where moral wrongs are constantly being askewed as a civil-right, we as Christians should go out of our way to support those companies striving to, “Live as people who are free, not using your freedom as a cover-up for evil, but living as servants of God” (1 Peter 2:16).
Building HIS Kingdom One Soul at a Time…
The idea and some of the thoughts for this story came from the CNN Article “9 Religious Companies Besides Chick-Fil-A” Author Dan Gilgoff, July 24, 2012.