I’ve never been to an In-N-Out Burger franchise, a California icon that is to the Golden State what Chick-fil-A is to the South.
Now tmatt has written about the splash the latter made upon its New York debut and the nasty tweets by the New Yorker about the chain’s “pervasive Christian traditionalism.”
But In-N-Out is not burdened with a religious tag, to anywhere near the same degree. Still, that has not kept certain Californians from trying to boycott the place.
Why? From the Los Angeles Times:
Anthony Grigore is a Democrat. But as he waited Thursday at an In-N-Out Burger in El Segundo for his meal, Grigore made it clear party loyalty would only go so far.
Just hours earlier, the head of the California Democratic Party called for a boycott of the famed burger chain after a public filing revealed that the company had recently donated $25,000 to the state’s Republican Party.
“Eating at In-N-Out is such a standard thing to do across California,” Grigore said, dismissing the boycott idea as a bit silly.
So not even all the Democrats are falling into line. The Times concluded:
By the end of the day, Democrats were distancing themselves from the idea and Republicans were enjoying a political feast, with some making big lunch orders to show their support for the chain and posting photos on social media.
So, what is this place? There is a lot of clever writing in this article and we finally get to the religion angle midway down the story.
The eatery was founded by Harry and Esther Snyder in 1948. The company has a reputation for maintaining strong Christian beliefs and puts references to Bible verses in its packaging.
Huh? A quick internet search revealed some stories that left out the religion angle and one, in Orange Coast magazine, that goes into it with a profile on Lynsi Snyder, the 30-something billionaire who runs the chain. A few excerpts:
Her devotion to Christianity is reflected in a small tattoo on her arm, an Aramaic phrase she scoured the Web to find. “It’s Jesus’ language,” she explains. “It’s part of a Bible verse. Matthew 6:10. It says, ‘Your kingdom come, your will be done.’” She sports a companion tattoo in Hebrew. “It says, ‘Hated.’ It references John 15:18, where Jesus says -- this is paraphrased -- ‘Do not be surprised when the world hates you, for it hated me.’ So yes, those are for me. Those are reminders.”…
She had always been around religion. According to (journalist Stacy) Perman’s book, her father built a nondenominational private Christian school for her to attend in the small town near his ranch. And her uncle, a member of Costa Mesa’s Calvary Chapel, was so famously devout that he discreetly printed citations for Bible verses on soft-drink cups and food packaging, a tradition that continues today…
After her father’s death, the gap in Snyder’s life was filled by her deepening religious faith. “It gives me life, and makes me feel strong, and encourages me to stand for others … knowing what different people in the Bible went though. I’m not getting dragged through the street, or hanged or flogged, [so] I guess I can make it through. It could be worse.”
That doesn’t sound real right-wing Christian/Republican to me.
Anyway, the boycott idea seems to be sinking fast and even the Sacramento Bee –- not a super-conservative publication -- wrote a critical editorial titled “Are we done boycotting In-N-Out yet? California Democrats have better things to do.”
Maybe these folks have realized that food boycotts generally don't work. Prime example: Boycotts of Chick-fil-A in 2012 and 2013 that only succeeded in growing the company's brand.
People magazine did this 2017 piece on Snyder that found a speech by her on the Christian media platform “I Am Second.” She seems to be a likeable, honest person who is forthright about her four marriages, three divorces and many other issues in her life. She's not one to preach to people and maybe that's one reason why no one's upset that her faith has kept her going through life's struggles.
That's the conclusion USA Today reached.
While In-N-Out prints Bible verses on its cups and packaging, Fortune noted it hasn't been as associated with religion-driven conservatism as Chick-Fil-A, a restaurant chain with a similar food fanatic following whose CEO condemned gay marriage.
And In-N-Out donates to both sides of the aisle: According to the magazine, the chain has given tens of thousands of dollars to "Californians for Jobs and a Strong Economy," a political action committee that aims to elect moderate Democrats.
Moral of the story: If you keep your head down and your beliefs subtle, you won't anger the folks in the blue states as much. Will say, I wish I could see for myself how they squeeze those Bible verses onto fast-food containers.
As for the Los Angeles Times, don't you think it's time they did a profile on Lynsi Snyder? She's one of the youngest billionaires in the country with an estimated worth of $1.21 billion. Even Money magazine wrote this year about her Army of Love Foundation and her born-again beliefs. Take a look at that Army of Love site. It's clear those on the leadership team adhere to a charismatic form of Christianity.
Sounds like a good story, don't you think?