- Flickr/Laine Trees
Some major American companies are subtly sending religious messages to customers – even if most people don’t notice.
However, other companies’ religious beliefs are less obvious – even though they’re right under customers’ noses. These brands hide Bible verses and other religious content in plain sight.
Some religious customers see these hidden messages as a reason to celebrate, and they double down on their support of brands like In-N-Out and Forever 21. However, others feel that using religious language on packaging is offensive evangelizing to customers of different beliefs.
Here are five companies that many customers may not realize are using their business to share religious messages.
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.”
- Yelp/Peter C.
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 strong hold 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.
- Wikimedia Mike Searson
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.”
- Hollis Johnson
The Southern fast-food chain has gained a cult following thanks to its low prices, delicious milkshakes, and Christian atmosphere.
This is the day the LORD has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.
(The verse on our milkshake cups in case you were curious)
— Cook Out (@CookOut) May 15, 2017
Cups and other packaging feature Bible verses, and many sit-down locations play a steady rotation of Christian rock music.
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 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.
"One nation under god" my respect for Whataburger just continues to grow! pic.twitter.com/KAZzCT3VCd
— Dylan Ray (@DylanRay_16) April 5, 2014
Meanwhile, others are less impressed, with one person posting a photo of the sign on Reddit with the caption “F— off, Whataburger.”