I read a story that fascinates me. It takes place in Loma Linda, California; a city with about 23,000 residents.
I invited myself to take a stroll through town using Google Earth. In my quick perusal, Loma Linda appears to be like any other Southern California town. I noticed a college, medical center, shopping malls, a gas station, and a drug store.
It is interesting to note that in this city east of Los Angeles, people enjoy one of the longest life spans in the world. The average resident lives well into their 80’s. Fitness and clean living are the bywords here, and they have a healthy population of centenarians to support the claim.
They also are a deeply religious community. Loma Linda is home to many followers of the Seventh-day Adventist faith. The religion encourages its followers to abstain from alcohol, tobacco and caffeine. They also encourage a vegetarian or vegan diet as well.
I know a bit about living in a religious community, in a religion that encourages a healthy lifestyle. The Mormons also abstain from alcohol and tobacco, and encourage moderate consumption of meats. In our larger-than-average religious population, we also see health benefits when the people follow this council. I empathize with that.
There is one other thing that the town of Loma Linda is missing. That would be a McDonald’s Restaurant.
Now some would hold the opinion that the absence of this establishment is a plus to the charming city. The municipality already hosts a Del Taco, Carl’s Jr., and other fast-food fare. So naturally, it was only a matter of time before someone wanted to open a franchise and raise the Golden Arches within the city limits.
The residents are crying “No!”
The city council is considering whether or not to deny their permit to build.
Parents are concerned that their children, raised with a McDonald’s restaurant in such close proximity, will desire to eat there. They will break the tenants of the majority religious faith, as well as develop unhealthy eating habits.
I applaud those parents for taking a concerned interest in their children’s health and well being, and wish that all parents did the same everywhere. However, I don’t agree with your argument.
If your children are younger, teach them that your family does not patronize that business. Teach them based on the merits of healthy eating, or the articles of your faith, or both.
If you have older children, then I recognize that it becomes harder. You still must endeavor to use your influence to teach them what you believe, and your faith that they will follow in the ways of righteousness. As they grow and develop their independence and friendships, you only fool yourself if you believe that teenagers cannot travel to a neighboring city to taste a forbidden Big Mac, if they have a mind to do so.
No, banning the restaurant because you think you cannot withstand the pleas of your young charges simply doesn’t make sense to me. Other restaurants are already in town serving similar foods. If you can withstand those temptations, you can likewise hold up against the invitation of the Ronald and his inviting Playplace™.
Allow the restaurant to be built, and vote against it with your pocketbook. Do not support it financially. That is the proper way to handle the situation. The businessman will take the risk, and fail if the community doesn’t purchase his food. That is a normal, natural way.
I suspect that you will have a more expensive courtroom fight on your hands if you deny the rights of this businessman when similar establishments already exist.
So here I stand. I am not a personal fan of McDonald’s restaurants, and I have never been to Loma Linda. I have no stake in either place. Yet I will fiercely defend your right to practice your religion, if you will defend the right of a businessman to legally and lawfully build a burger joint.
And I’ll take a side order of fries with that to go, please.