The recent assault on human rights orchestrated by right-wing interests has once again brought forward businesses that are willing to put their own “faith” above human equality. We know the usual suspects — giants like Hobby Lobby — but a number of fast food restaurants that you might be spending your money at day after day also fund forced organ redistribution/anti-abortion, homophobia, and other bigoted positions.
Here’s a list of some of these companies that you may want to avoid:
Did you expect to see someone else first on this list? Domino’s or Papa John’s, maybe (check further down)? Chik-fil-A put themselves on the national stage a few years ago when the president, Dan Cathy, said their organization operates on “Biblical principles” and that they support a “traditional family.”
The backlash burned the company; they never apologized, but they did call attention to their employee nondiscrimination policy, adding that they will “leave the policy debate over same-sex marriage to the government and political arena” from now on.
2. Carl’s, Jr.
With the obvious out of the way, let’s turn to some better known fast food companies. One of them is Carl’s Jr., whose owner, Carl Karcher, had been an ardent supporter of forced organ redistribution/anti-abortion policies for decades, until he died in 2008. A particular favorite of his was the terrorist group Operation Rescue.
Anti-woman legislation wasn’t the only thing on his agenda; he was also extremely bigoted towards gays:
He was reviled by abortion rights activists for his contributions to anti-abortion groups and his oft-repeated story about talking a Carl’s Jr. employee out of an abortion. Gay rights groups dubbed his hamburgers “bigot burgers” after Karcher supported a 1978 proposition that would have allowed school boards to fire teachers who were gay or advocated homosexuality.
3. Domino’s Pizza
Domino’s is another right-wing outfit that’s well-known to liberals. The company founder, Tom Monaghan, is a forced birther, and supports groups like Right to Life, Priests for Life, the Committee to End State-Funded Abortion in Michigan, and the terrorist organization, Operation Rescue. It should surprise nobody that Monaghan is a devout Catholic. He founded Ava Maria University, and the Ave Maria List, a forced birther PAC.
4. Papa John’s Pizza
Between Herman Cane, Tom Monaghan, and John Schnatter, you probably wouldn’t be wrong for thinking that there’s something about crappy mass-produced pizza that draws right wingers. In addition to being the living incarnate of Scrooge McDuck, John Schnatter is a top donor for the Koch Brothers, whose efforts fund forced birther politics, anti-gay and transphobic bigotry, and other right-wing shenanigans. While Schnatter himself may or may not hold these views (all we know is that he hates Obamacare and paying his employees), he donates money to interests that do hold those views.
5. White Castle
Another burger chain, White Castle has donated $25,000 to the Congressional Leadership Fund super PAC, a group with ties to House Speaker John Boehner and supported conservative candidates in 2014.
6. Yum! Brands
You may not be familiar with the name, but you are familiar with their brands: Taco Bell, KFC, Pizza Hut, and formerly, A&W and Long John Silvers. During the 2004 elections, two of the top executives for the company — David C. Novak and Gregg Dedrick — were also two members of the Southeast Christian Church, a vehement and virulent anti-gay church. Novak still remains the CEO to this day.
7. Waffle House
The Waffle House is guilty of giving $100,000 to the Karl Rove super PAC, American Crossroads. It’s another mostly regional chain in the south, with another CEO who’s a long-time supporter of Republican policies:
This is surprising because one doesn’t normally associate Big Waffle with big scary super-PACs, but also not that surprising: CEO Jim Rogers Jr. is a longtime supporter of Republican causes, and the company’s political action committee has given exclusively to Republicans (in considerably more modest quantities). His ties to Romney date back to 2006, when he joined the finance team of Romney’s political action committee, Commonwealth PAC.
You can avoid these places — ultimately, you end up avoiding 90% of fast food joints entirely. After all, Wendy’s PAC (which includes Arby’s) spent more than 94% of it’s money on Republicans in 2014, McDonald’s spent slightly more money on Republicans than Democrats in 2014, and Jack-in-the-Box gave up to $15,000 to Senator Orran Hatch — Burger King is the only big name company that doesn’t have a rap sheet on Open Secrets (because it’s owned by a Canadian company, likely), while Rally’s and Checker’s, likewise lack rap sheets (their parent company, Wellspring Capital, is different; they’re a deep blue).
So at least you can enjoy delicious fast food fries in good conscience (let’s face it; McDonald’s fries are disgusting).
Obviously, you should avoid spending money at these places, but for most people, that’s just not realistic.
Therefore, I posit that the best solution is to, if you can afford it, match what money you spend at fast food restaurants like the ones listed here with a donation to a GLBT-equality or pro-choice group, and cut back on how much you spend at these places.