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Taco Bell Crosses the Religious Border

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I walked into Taco Bell this evening to get my usual dose of Saturday evening nutrition: three greasy tacos and a Cherry Coke. Greeting me on the door was a sign that assumed I was devout Christian. It read, “We at Taco Bell wish you Happiness and Joy as we celebrate Easter and the resurrection of Jesus Christ!” (Note the exclamation point). It continued, “We will be CLOSED EASTER to enjoy this Holiday with our Families…Thank You!”

Wouldn’t a sign that just informed customers that they would be closed on Easter have sufficed? Before you think I’m another liberal agitator, please take into consideration that I think banning the word “Christmas” is ridiculous and I think banning the phrase “under God” from the Pledge of Allegiance is even worse. Please also understand the hypocrisy of Taco Bell in this situation, considering there is a huge Middle Eastern and Jewish population in this area that does not celebrate Easter and the “resurrection of Jesus Christ!” (With the exclamation mark, as Taco Bell prefers it).

There are never any signs about Yom Kippur or Ramadan. If there were, can you imagine Taco Bell getting specific about the return of Allah? I never understood the relevance of the ACLU (the American Civil Liberties Union, an organization I’ve usually detested) until this evening.

Once again, the “Christian Taliban” has reared its ugly head and is trying to hypocritically push their religion on us. This time, it is using a corporation to draw us in. I wouldn’t be surprised if I walked into Taco Bell next week and saw a sign that read, “We at Taco Bell support George W. Bush.” The week after, it might read, “We at Taco Bell believe sex before marriage is sinful.” Next month, “We at Taco Bell believe homosexuality is a sin. Ted Haggard and Mark Foley told us so!” Do you understand where this is going?

The United States is supposed to be a society that separates state from religion. I understand Taco Bell is not a government entity, but it is a corporation that is supposedly open to all races and religions. I wouldn’t be upset if Taco Bell displayed a sign informing us they would be closed on Easter, but it’s the specific content that bothers me and should bother people of any religion, especially considering its geographic location and its refusal to ever acknowledge the other religions of many of their customers.

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About Daryl D

  • http://blogcritics.org/writer.php?name=diana+hartman diana hartman

    is this right? absolutely!

    if christians of all ilk did not have and exercise their freedom of speech, how in the world would we know which establishments to avoid (read: not patronize with our money, time and attention)?

    duly noted, taco bell…it’s pizza and burgers for easter – and all the other days i go in search of fast food…

  • Steph

    Okay, true: the sign was “Over the top” with its amount of information. A simple “We will be closed Easter” would have done the same thing.

    However this is obviously not a corporate approved sign. No logo, no color–This is very clearly something the management or individual franchise owner did. Getting hysterical about Taco Bell being hypocritical and christian is ridiculous.

    If you have a problem with the sign, send a comment to corporate headquarters or something, instead of jumping to the conclusion that a crappy, ink jet, home-printed sign with bad clip art (stuck to the window with stickers, no less) represents the views of an entire company.

    As an aside, I don’t work for Taco Bell, but I do like their nachos. ;)

  • http://ruvysroost.blogspot.com Ruvy in Jerusalem

    I have to agree with Steph here. The sign was over the top, and it was the work of the franchise manager or owner. If the work of the owner, it will stay, simply because of the stubbornness of the owner. If it was the work of the franchise manager, that manager will probably be reprimanded by the owner, the district manager, etc., etc., as complaints pile in from offended Jews (who shouldn’t be going there at all – the place ain’t kosher) and from offended Moslems.

    I will note, having been a manager at a Burger King franchise, that the owner did wish her customers a merry Christmas, happy Easter and Thanksgiving, the three days that the store was closed during the year.

    While she was a religious person herself, she did not push her beliefs on her customers.

  • Dan

    It’s offensive to wish customers “happiness and joy”?

  • Ruvy in Jerusalem

    Boy Dan,

    Talk about deliberately not seeing things! The issue here that sparked this article was not wishing customers happiness and joy, but the reasons for the wishes. Read that sign one more time, Dan. All the way down this time, line by line.

    If I lived in the States, I would have been offended by this sign. Because I don’t, I don’t have to give a damn.

  • Sister Ray

    The sign says “as we celebrate…” It doesn’t tell anyone else to celebrate Easter.
    If the owner of Taco Bell wants to celebrate a religious holiday, that’s his right. It’s a private company.

  • daryl d

    Is Taco Bell a private company? I called and complained to Corporate Headquarters. I tried to email the ACLU about this, but they don’t have an email link on their website. I’m really pissed about this! Does anybody know how else I can get the media’s attention on this besides just writing an artile on it?

  • Dan

    OK Ruvy, I read it again. Where is the offensive part? Or are you deliberately seeing things?

  • http://www.noface4film.com/ Kaonashi

    Dan, the offensive part is the mention of the resurrection of Jesus. This is offensive to those who do not believe in Jesus, such as Jews or Muslims. Does that make sense?

  • http://www.noface4film.com/ Kaonashi

    And daryl, while this was understandably upsetting to you, perhaps you should talk to the owner or manager of that particular Taco Bell, rather than going after the entire corporation. Don’t hold the entire corporation responsible for what the staff at one store did.

  • Dan

    no Kaonashi, I don’t think it does make sense. Of course, I didn’t realize Jews and Muslims were so intolerant. It’s perfectly reasonable to think them fools, or to never patronize them again, but to take offense? Get some skin.

  • Westmoreland

    Why are liberals so eager to publicly display their stupidity and hypocrisy?

    People who are totally ignorant of America’s Constitutional and religious history, are generally the very ones who trumpet that ignorance in every forum they can find.

    I guess stupidity, like misery, loves company!

  • http://www.noface4film.com/ Kaonashi

    Dan- There’s no need to be glib. I’m not the one who was offended. Daryl D was. You seemed not to understand why others might take offense to what was said in the flyer, so I was just explaining it.

    I personally wouldn’t have been offended if the sign said something like, “We will be closed to celebrate Passover and our salvation from our cruel masters in Egypt”. At the same time, I don’t know why the sign simply didn’t just say, “We’ll be closed for Easter. Sorry for the inconvenience.”

  • Dan

    Sorry to direct glibness your way Kaonoshi. I did understand why others would take offense. My opinion is that it is an ugly intolerant person who would though.

    I don’t think it was necessary for the manager to spell things out so explicitly, but at the same time I don’t question the motives for doing it. If it was an atheist closing for Halloween who whished me happiness and joy, I would take the good will at face value.

  • http://www.noface4film.com/ Kaonashi

    No problem Dan. Like I said, I don’t think it’s a big deal either, but if daryl d is truly offended, it’s best to take his issue up with the manager of that particular Taco Bell so the sign can be amended.

  • daryl d

    It’s not so much that I’m offended by the “resurrection of Christ.” It’s the hypocrisy that bugs me. I’m so tired of a group of people pushing their religion on our society. Didn’t we accuse Muslims of doing the same thing? We are supposed to separate STATE from RELIGION.

  • sandra

    Hey, Daryl. Is this the Taco Bell on Sepulveda and Hawthorne? What do you say we go together tomorrow and complain (Daryl and I live in the same apartment complex). Some of the people here are correct in saying that it’s an individual store issue rather than a whole “Taco Bell” corporation issue.

  • STM

    Perhaps the store franchisee was an evangelical Christian. Sure sounds like it, with the pointed reference to the resurrection and the exclamation mark. However, is it that different, for instance, to McDonald’s restaurants serving Halal or Kosher meat? An example: in a number of suburbs in Sydney and Melbourne with large Muslim populations, McDonald’s Australia happily announces that its meat is Halal, so if you go there and you’re not Muslim, you still get Halal (it tastes exactly the same). In Israel, McDonald’s has kosher restaurants.

    So we’ve some poor bugger at Taco Bell announcing that they’re closing for Easter. Big deal, each to their own … but I do take your points.

    It’s the excalamtion mark that really offended me. You know, like, unlike them, I probably haven’t got a clue as to what Easter’s really all about.

  • MAOZ

    My 2 agorot-worth: I’m with Sister Ray (#6) and Steph (#2) on this. Daryl says (#16), “We are supposed to separate STATE from RELIGION,” but I don’t see that Taco Bell is an entity of the STATE (i.e., a government entity), so I don’t see it being a relevant issue at all.

    Now the more urgent question is: can someone invent a Kosher-for-Passover bean burrito? (I have no problem with kitniyot, Ruvy, just in case you’re wondering….)

    Mo’adim l’simcha :)

  • kwillhan

    stfu and get a life loser.

    next week they might express anything they like at all, whether you like it or not, because it’s america, and your crazy view of things cannot and will not be imposed on everyone else. Deal with it, nut case.

    they can say whatever they want, if it doesn’t hurt anyone, just like you, and if people don’t like it, they don’t have to shop there.

    end of story.

    them closing for the day is probably helping your fat ass lose wieght. you should thank them.

    kel

  • http://blog.hypercubed.com/ Hypercubed

    I saw the same sign in Torrance, CA. It may be the same Taco bell by the looks of the counter behind the sign. Is it?

    Anyway, I saw the sign and thought it was a little over the top. I’m not offended (I’m an Atheist) and I really wouldn’t care even if they posted a cross (or another religious symbol) in their door. I think it is poor taste on their part but that’s it. I think it is a best practice for a company to remain religiously neutral.

    What about In-n-out… they print bible references on their paper utensils.

  • daryl d

    yup..the one in Torrance. In and Out really prints bible references on their stuff?

  • http://blog.hypercubed.com/ Hypercubed
  • http://www.jeffwmartin.com Jeff Martin

    Wow, I have to say I am floored by some people’s comments here. Especially the author who mentioned that he emailed the ACLU about this and said “We are supposed to separate STATE from RELIGION” . Why would you want to involve the ACLU? The first bullet point of the ACLU’s mission statement is…
    “The mission of the ACLU is to preserve all of these protections and guarantees: Your First Amendment rights-freedom of speech, association and assembly. Freedom of the press, and freedom of religion supported by the strict separation of church and state.” If anything, the ACLU would argue in favor of the sign, since it is free speech.

    And separating state from religion? Taco Bell <> The State. The Bill of Rights sets up the rules the government must follow. I get sick of hearing people say “The 1st Amendment gives me freedom of speech.” No, it doesn’t. You HAVE the freedom of speech inherently, the 1st Amendment PROTECTS that freedom from the government. The government can’t violate your freedom, but another person (or corporation) can. What that means is you have the right to say what you want, but you don’t have the right to use my property to do so.

    The sign is obviously not a corporate sign, more than likely it was made by the franchise owner or the manager with the owner’s approval. And since the sign is on their property, what’s the problem? Are you so hypocritical that you exercise your freedom of speech here to berate someone for exercising theirs?

    Sure, a simple “We will be closed on Easter” sign would have been less offensive to some. But you don’t have a right not to be offended. Whoever made the sign was expressing their religious beliefs and has every right to do so, just as anyone who is Muslim, Jewish, atheist or whatever who is offended by the sign has the same right.

    I’m curious how many of the commenters here would advocate this sign being taken down by force?

    “I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.”
    — The Friends of Voltaire, 1906

  • Ruby

    ‘Christian Taliban’

    Godwin’s Law 2.0.

    Fail.

  • Bob Butler

    this is pretty gay..i cant believe it got this low in America

  • YO Mami

    this blog is so stupid i cant even think of what would happen if something that anyone actually cared about happened..you guys are losers

  • http://upscaleboston.com/apartments Boston Luxury Apartments

    Taco bell is nasty. I’m sorry all those restaurants – Taco Bell, Pizza Hut, KFC… have gone down hill (they are all owned by the same company).
    For some good Mexican food try Chipotle or Anna’s Taqueria.

  • Grammarian

    Is the “we” in the sign inclusive or exclusive? “We” wish you joy as “we” celebrate with “our” families. It seems like the owner is simply wishing people well and explaining the reason for the closure. There’s nothing wrong with closing your business on religious holidays and nothing wrong with talking about religious holidays. Probably they should have mentioned that they were not speaking on behalf of the entire corporation but rather just the owner. I’ve lived in Malaysia with Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist, and Christian neighbors on the same street. They all did the same: closed their businesses on their respective holidays, invited each other to their celebrations, and wished each other well. Mentioning and politely sharing religion does not need to be the taboo it is in America on the left, and it does not indicate the ascendance of a Christian Taliban. Rather it indicates the mutual regard and neighborliness that are at the heart of all good religions.

  • Nathan StormRider

    I’m sorry, but it seems to me that this is an incredible over reaction. I don’t think that a person closing *their own* business in support of *their own* religious holiday is, in any sense, pushing their religion on YOU.

    Nor is their enumerating their specific religious holiday and its origin, succinctly and politely, on a sign that you voluntarily approached the store to read.

    I would find any sort of action taken against this sort of stance to be an extreme over-reach of government, proving to be intolerant as well as government enforcing a religious perspective on private individuals.

    It is in poor taste to wish a ban on religious expression, just because it sours your morning coffee to think about it.

  • Tommy

    And how is this any different then a school system being sued by a muslim teacher because she couldn’t go to MECCA?

  • Clavos

    daryl d asks:

    Is Taco Bell a private company?

    In the sense that it does not belong to or receive funds from the government, yes it is. Is it privately held, as in sole proprietorship, no; it is a stock corporation with no connection to the government.

    We are supposed to separate STATE from RELIGION.

    See above. Taco Bell is in no way part of the government and is therefore not in violation of separation of church and state.

  • Karla

    It is over the top that you wrote a blog about it!

  • dana cook

    there right to post what they want your right to choose not to eat there!!!!

  • Rhonda C

    As a christian, I totally understand the management’s desire to fully address the reason for shutting their doors and for the way they explained it. Anyone can say I’m closed for Easter. That doesn’t mean they totally believe in the reason for shutting the door. They could have just used that excuse. But a full explanation completely demonstrates what Christ told us to do. We are to tell you all of the good news of Christ and why he came to this earth. It’s up to you to disagree or agree; reject or accept. The message of Christ, when delivered correctly, will never fully be accepted by the whole but there are those who are searching and ready for hear the gospel.

    I can tiptoe around everyone, keep my mouth shut and not offend anyone with the gospel of Christ, but that would mean I do not have the love of Christ in my heart. Why would I, knowing the truth of the Word and having the love of Christ in my heart, not tell you the truth so you can enjoy the fullness of the love of Christ and eternal life in Him.

    What the management did was not meant to hurt the people but show the love of Christ. When you have a joy unspeakable and peace that can’t be explained in the most tumultuous of situations, there has to be something behind it. It is the grace and mercy of Jesus Christ.

    I pray no one is offended with my post. I disagree with name calling and hateful remarks. But I cannot sit by and not tell someone the good news!

    Jesus came to save those that are lost and to heal the sick. To bring hope to the hopeless and life to those that are dying. He’s alive and well!

  • Igor

    Hallelujah Sister Rhonda! Like you I beseech every christian to demand prison reform and Universal Healthcare from our society!

  • Charles R Donahue

    Come on people, we in America know that nearly everyone comes to America or lives in America because we have FREE speech in the business world to say how we feel about our RELIGIOUS conviction and almost anything else which would be constructive to citizens. This is so proper, it would take a “HATE AMERICA” mind to take exception to it. GOD BLESS AMERICA and Thank You TACO BELL, stay the course.

  • just me

    This is a shameless promotion of a bastard faith.

  • Yitzhak

    a sign offends people? I am, no Christian, Easter is Ishtar (the fertility godess – hence the eggs and rabbits) and there was neer a man named “Jesus” in Israel in the 1st century (His name would have been Yeshua). But really a sign, people. Have a Maccabee beer and chill out. Shalom Aleichem.