Businesses should leave religion alone

Forever+21+is+a+business+that+markets+its+products+along+with+religion.

Janina Akporavbare

Forever 21 is a business that markets its products along with religion.

Religion is a sacred practice that belongs to an individual, not a company. A marketing scheme that businesses have been recently using is to sell their products with a side of faith. 

Chick-fil-A prides itself on having “Grade A” chicken. But behind every dollar you give to the company, a darker side lies beyond the food you consume. 

Chick-fil-A should just be called a Baptist Church that also serves chicken. With practices such as closing the restaurants on Sunday in order to observe the Sabbath, donating to anti-gay foundations, putting Bible quotes on teacups, and much more the company truly promotes the religion. Even as you walk into their main headquarters in Atlanta, Georgia, you are bombarded with Christian symbols. A statue of Jesus is the first thing you see, and as you walk in further, religious artwork is on display everywhere. The late creator of Chick-fil-A, S. Truett Cathy, even states in a contract that the business’ mission is, “to glorify God by being a faithful steward of all that is entrusted to us.”

The fast food company clearly demonstrates that a closely intertwined and heavily publicized relationship between religion and businesses is not acceptable. 

Protestors have taken to fixing these unjust situations. Gay rights activists crusaded against local Chick-fil-A restaurants by kissing their same-sex partners. They did this in order to stand up to Chick-fil-A’s vice president, Dan Cathy, stating that his company supports, “traditional family values.” These “values” are preached throughout the Christian religion that Chick-fil-A holds dear. 

Mixing religion and business is not a practice unique to Chick-fil-A. Though Forever 21 seems to have been failing throughout the years, religion in the company still stands strong. The founders were believed to be devout Christians; a theory that becomes evident when you see that the bible verse John 3:16 is printed on the bottom of every Forever 21 bag.

Another company that makes a profit off of religion is Whole Foods. Buddhist ideas are woven throughout the company’s mission and practices. Both the founders John Mackey and Walter Robb are faithful Buddhists, believing that companies should submit to a higher purpose above just making money. 

Hobby Lobby also managed to make headlines about its religious practices when it went to the Supreme Court. The company is already well-known for being Catholic, following its teachings, and pushing Catholic doctrines. The store closes on Sundays and frequently runs full-page religious ads on Christmas and Easter.

The company refused to provide health care programs that provide abortion pills to employees because abortion is against the Catholic religion. Steve Green, the president of Hobby Lobby, states, “The government is saying we have to provide prescriptions that are abortive and violate our conscience because we believe that life begins at conception and it is something we have no desire to fully fund.” 

By not providing the pills, the company has gone against the Affordable Care Act, which requires employers to provide their staff with vital health benefits, including all forms of contraception. 

Now, the company has single-handedly managed to impose their religious affiliation onto their staff. It has created a hostile and unsupportive environment for its female employees.  

Nikhil Jindal (‘22) said, “I believe that it is okay for businesses to use religion to advertise a product. It may get more people to buy their products. “ 

But there is a fine line between advertising a product and pushing a new system of beliefs.  People in the past have failed to create these boundaries. 

The First Amendment clearly states that freedom of religion is an inalienable, constitutional right. If the government is not allowed to push religious agendas, big corporations should not be allowed to manipulate them in order to make a quick profit. 

Yvette Shu (‘23) said, “Businesses should not be able to use religion to sell products. This creates a murky area that blurs the divide between a church and a business. Is a church now a business?”

Chick-fil-A’s teacups or Forever 21’s shopping bags may seem like small issues now, but things like these are what redefine people’s economic liberties. If we allow businesses to continue along the same path, we may soon have churches that sell products as well.