To begin with, the more than 1,500 outlets of the country’s premier family-owned fast-food business, specializing in fried skinless, boneless chicken breast sandwiches with pickles on soft buttery buns — crunchy, peppery, addictive — are closed on Sundays, so you know they're serious about their Christianity.
Founder Truett Cathy endowed the WinShape Foundation (“to shape winners”), whose activities include outdoor camps that “impact young people and families through experiences which enhance their Christian faith, character, and relationships” and host "marriage-enrichment retreats [at which gay couples are not welcome], along with business and church-related conferences.” In recent years, a number of equal rights organizations have criticized Chick-fil-A for its alleged support of those strongly opposed to same-sex marriage — though company president Don Cathy, Truett's son, has publically stressed that all people are treated with respect by the restaurant.
The huge chicken (etc.) processing concern, with more than 115,000 employees in 90-plus countries, keeps a team of chaplains on salary at production facilities and corporate offices. The chaplains provide compassionate pastoral care and ministry to team members and their families, according to Tyson's web site, regardless of their religious or spiritual affiliation or beliefs.
In-N-Out Burger has such fervent admirers, especially on the West Coast where it originated, that many consider just eating there a religious experience. Since the 1980s, though, In-N-Out has made the religious thing literal, printing biblical citations and quotations on its packaging.
These quotations can admittedly be subtle, like John 3:16, the message on the bottom of the chain's soft drink cups. Look it up and you'll find, "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."
Pura Vida Coffee, the coffee company with a conscience co-founded in 1998 by a former Microsoft executive, earmarks funds for its Christian ministry, whose mission is, "To combine the efforts of business and ministry to help the lives of at-risk children."
Co-owner John Sage says that the company doesn't specifically focus its efforts on Christians, but in an interview noted that there are more than 50 million Christian coffee drinkers in America.
Promised Land Dairy kind of wears a religious affiliation right in its name, doesn't it? The Texas-based company is owned by the controversial San Antonio businessman Dr. James Leininger. Named by Forbes as one of the 400 wealthiest entrepreneurs, he has been described as a GOP sugar daddy and school voucher zealot, and is a tort reform enthusiast.
His milk bottles are emblazoned with the legend Deuteronomy 26:9 ("He brought us into this place and gave us this land, a land flowing with milk and honey"). Leininger grew up in a rock-ribbed fundamentalist Lutheran family, a background which apparently informs his politics, on record as being anti-choice and anti-gay marriage.
Brimhall Foods, a Memphis-based firm, has been turning out one of the nation's leading brands of pork rinds, Brims, since 1979, with scripture on the bags and a link for everlasting life on their web site. Step number four in the process for obtaining said unending existence: "We must individually RECEIVE Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord."
Maurice's Piggy Park is the name on Maurice Bessinger's chain of barbecue restaurants in and around Columbia, S.C., and his line of Southern Gold barbecue sauces.
Bessinger became famous not only for his delicious smoked meats doused in mustard-based sauce, which pretty much defines the South Carolina barbecue style, but also for flying Confederate flags over all his outposts; writing a book called Defending My Heritage, in which he compares globalism to the Antichrist; and once selling a collection of writings in which he asserted that slavery was a blessed event for Africans — whose descendants, incidentally, he refused to serve until 1968. Bessinger has big plans for the future: "I believe that after The Rapture there will be a big barbecue," he has written, "and I hope the Lord will let me cook."