9 American companies with extremely religious roots

Some major American companies are extremely religious — and most people don't notice.

Brands like Chick-fil-A and Hobby Lobby have alienated some customers as executives' religious views have influenced business decisions at certain points in time. However, other companies' religious beliefs are less obvious — even though they're right under customers' noses. 

While some people see certain companies' spiritual leanings as a reason to become loyal customers, others find such messaging to be a turn off. 

Here are nine companies that you may not realize are religious at the core. 

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9 American companies with extremely religious roots
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9 American companies with extremely religious roots

Chick-fil-A

Chick-fil-A has moved away from publicly discussing religion, after facing backlash when COO Dan Cathy said the company supported the "biblical definition of the family unit." 

However, the chain does continue to close all stores on Sunday. 

Truett Cathy, a devout Southern Baptist, established the tradition when he opened the location in 1946.

"He has often shared that his decision was as much practical as spiritual," the company website says of the tradition. "He believes that all franchised Chick-fil-A operators and their restaurant employees should have an opportunity to rest, spend time with family and friends, and worship if they choose to do so."

Forever 21

Every Forever 21 shopping bag has the words "John 3:16" on the bottom. The verse, one of the best-known in the Bible, reads: "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." 

"It shows us how much God loves us," Forever 21 founder Do Won Chang told CNN in 2012. "The love he gave us, by giving us his only son, Jesus, was so unbelievable to me. I hoped others would learn of God's love. So that's why I put it there."

Marriott hotels

Marriott is one of the few hotel chains that put the Book of Mormon in most guests' bedside tables, thanks to founder John Willard Marriott's own faith. 

In N Out

The beloved West Coast burger chain stealthily puts Bible verses on much of its packaging. The wrapper on the famous "Double-Double" for example, lists Nahum 1:7 — "The Lord is good, a stronghold in the day of trouble; and he knoweth them that trust in him" — according to Snopes.

Lynsi Snyder — the billionaire president of the California-based burger chain and the granddaughter of its founders — is a Christian who says she found peace through religion.

Hobby Lobby

The arts and crafts retailer has been more visible in its religious background than most companies, unsuccessfully suing the government over a mandate requiring that they cover emergency contraception for employees due to the founder's religious beliefs.

Every year, the company puts out holiday ads that encourage people to consider converting to Christianity. 

"As you celebrate this Christmas season in the warmth of family and home, may you be drawn to the Savior; He who left the beauty of Heaven on our behalf and became like us, that we might become like Him," read the first of the company's holiday ads, according to Hobby Lobby's website.

"If you know Jesus as your Savior, then this season already has a special meaning," the ad continued. "If you do not, we encourage you find a Bible-believing church in your community, and to discover a relationship this Christmas with the God who loves you more than you can begin to imagine."

The company also donates to Christian charities such as One Hope and Every Home for Christ. 

Trijicon

Trijicon, which makes optical sighting equipment for firearms, encountered controversy in 2010 when ABC News discovered the company was putting coded references to Bible verses on its products.  

The Trijicon ACOG (Advanced Combat Optical Gunsight), for example, has the inscription JN8:12. That refers to John 8:12: "When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, 'I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.'"

"Trijicon places a small biblical reference on the products we sell," the company's website reads.

"It is a tradition started by our founder and we continue it as a reflection of our company values," it continues. "Although Trijicon has now offered to remove these references for military issued products, we will continue to inscribe our consumer products with biblical references." 

Cook Out

The Southern fast-food chain has gained a cult following thanks to its low prices, delicious milkshakes, and Christian atmosphere. 

Cups and other packaging feature Bible verses, and many sit-down locations play a steady rotation of Christian rock music.

Whataburger

While Whataburger doesn't put Bible verses on packaging, most locations of the fast-food chain have signs that read "one nation under God." The phrase is a clear reference to the Pledge of Allegiance ("under God" was added to the pledge in 1954 as an anti-Communist effort).

Positioning Whataburger "under God" makes some customers even more loyal to the chain, which has a cult following in Texas and parts of the South. Meanwhile, others are less impressed, with one person posting a photo of the sign on Reddit with the caption "F--- off, Whataburger."

Anschutz Entertainment Group (owner of The Los Angeles Galaxy among other companies)

The founder of AEG is Phil Anschutz, a prominent Christian activist. AEG's investments range from sports teams like the LA Galaxy, to the oil companies that originally made his family's fortune, and the Coachella music festival.  

Anschutz is a large conservative donor whose political and religious leanings make it through to his businesses. He's the owner of conservative publications The Washington Examiner and The Weekly Standard, and has funded family friendly and Christian leaning films like The Chronicles Of Narnia.

He's supported controversial legislation, like Colorado's Amendment 2, which reduced gay rights protections and was eventually overturned by the Supreme Court. 

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[Max Nisen contributed to an earlier version of this article.]

See Also:

SEE ALSO: These 5 companies are subtly spreading religious messages — and many customers have no idea

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