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Food Fight: Loma Linda's Seventh-Day Adventists Outraged Over McDon...

"The health conscious residents of Loma Linda, a small California city with a large Seventh-day Adventist population, have banned together to fight against the opening of the town's first McDonald's.

Nestled in a beautiful stretch of land east of Los Angeles, the 23,000 people who live in Loma Linda enjoy one of the longest life spans in the world -- on average, residents live well into their 80s. Its people are borderline obsessed with fitness and clean living, and they have a healthy population of centenarians to prove it.

So when McDonald's decided to move in, the people of Loma Linda went into red alert. When the issue to approve its opening came up before the city council, the meeting room was packed with outraged residents and health professionals, as if a nuclear waste dump, and not a fast food chain, was coming to town.

Watch the full story on "Nightline" tonight at 11:35 p.m. ET

But the city isn't just full of fit families, it is also heavily Seventh-day Adventist, a religion that strongly encourages congregants to follow a vegetarian or vegan diet, as well as an alcohol, tobacco and caffeine-free lifestyle.

Pastor Randy Roberts of the Loma Linda University Church says healthy living is dictated straight from the scripture.

"In Corinthians, Paul speaking of the human body says specifically, 'you are the temple of the Holy spirit,'" explains Roberts. "Therefore, he says, whatever you do in your body, you do it to the honor, the glory and the praise of God."

He says the church has not taken an official position on the McDonald's controversy, but stands for living "a balanced, healthy, and whole lifestyle."

Dr. Wayne Dysinger, a physician of preventative medicine and a Loma Linda resident, is a leading member of the community coalition that opposes McDonald's. He says it is not just about the burgers and fries on McDonald's' menu, but also about what the fast food chain represents to Loma Linda's residents who cherish the community's health-conscious history.

"Loma Linda is sort of a symbolic city for healthiness, and McDonald's is sort of a symbolism of unhealthiness," said Dysinger, a Seventh-Day Adventist and father of two. "That's a significant issue. My kids know about McDonald's. McDonald's is the one that sells the toys."

In response to the community opposition, McDonald's said in a statement to ABC News:

"We have been working hard over the past several years to ensure we have options on our menu to meet a variety of dietary needs. For example, our line of Premium Salads can be ordered without meat. We also have other offerings including Apple Slices, Oatmeal and Fruit and Yogurt Parfaits as well as a variety of portion sizes... McDonald's and our franchisee look forward to working with the Loma Linda City Council and residents to hopefully address any questions or concerns. We believe the new restaurant will support the Loma Linda community with a contemporary dining experience and help fuel economic growth."


McDonald's won't exactly be the first fast food chain in town. Though several health food stores are popular with residents, in recent years a handful of chains have arrived, including a KFC, Del Taco, Weinerschnitzel, Baker's Burger, and most notably a Carl's Jr., which also came under intense fire when it first moved in.

Caught in the middle between the health food advocates and the burger eating population, as well as the land developers and those who welcome business growth, is Loma Linda Mayor Rhodes Rigsby.

A Seventh-Day Adventist and a physician himself, Rigsby says he has the desire to promote health, but doesn't feel limiting food choices is an appropriate mandate.

"I don't think it's the government's responsibility, personally, to legislate vegetarianism; I think if everyone became a vegetarian they would probably have a healthier life, but it has to be their choice," he said.

"I would hate to go to a town where vegetables are outlawed because the majority are meat and potato carnivores," he continued, "to me that doesn't make sense either way; I think people should have options."

Dysinger admitted, "I agree that we don't want to legislate health, but on the other hand, we can create healthy environments or we can be oblivious to healthy environments. I believe we have to do everything we can to create a healthy environment."

Mayor Rigsby said that if the citizens of Loma Linda want to ban further fast food development, a ballot initiative enabling residents to vote on the issue might be an acceptable approach going forward.

The small city is a particularly unusual battleground, considering the first McDonald's opened in 1940, just five miles away in the town of San Bernardino. Now the country's most iconic fast food chain has over 33,000 locations worldwide in 199 countries around the globe.

Even though Loma Linda's city council approved the McDonald's development, the residents who are fighting it say it's not a done deal yet. Dysinger said there is enough community opposition that he believes the council will want to reconsider their decision.

"We're continuing to work on this with the developer directly," he said. "We have other restaurants that we feel would be much healthier than McDonald's that we'd like to bring in…we'll do what we can to not have McDonald's in Loma Linda."

MCDONALD'S FULL STATEMENT


"McDonald's wants to be a good neighbor in the communities we serve. We have been working hard over the past several years to ensure we have options on our menu to meet a variety of dietary needs. For example, our line of Premium Salads can be ordered without meat. We also have other offerings including Apple Slices, Oatmeal and Fruit and Yogurt Parfaits as well as a variety of portion sizes.

"The City of Loma Linda approved this development for several uses, including the McDonald's restaurant. McDonald's and our franchisee look forward to working with the Loma Linda City Council and residents to hopefully address any questions or concerns. We believe the new restaurant will support the Loma Linda community with a contemporary dining experience and help fuel economic growth."

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And?  Everyone is not for sale!  Some people actually are Christians for real and look out for more than themselves....smh

@Sarah

Yup. You are right some people are.. Unfortunately none of them will kiss enough but to get anywhere in politics. Because as you said... "Everyone is not for sale!" and again you are right.. not everyone is.. Unfortunately none of them are politicians..

She got jokes....LOLOL!

@Sarah

What you fail to realize is that these are elected officials that want to be elected again, so that being said they will always give in to the majority.

LOLOL!!!!!  So far no one has backed down.  People of principle and integrity usually follow their convictions. =)

Bottom line:  Unless these good citizens are going to provide JOBS that fuel the local economy and put people to work, it will continue as planned.

As long as local politicians will kiss but to get reelected they will go with the majority vote...

You seem to have forgotten one thing sister... The definition of politics...

1.) Poli : This is Greek for many

2.) Tics : These are blood sucking leaches

In other words the guys don't care about creating jobs, they only care about keeping there own... And to do that they have to do whatever the majority of the local voters would like to see happen.

O.K.....LOLOL!  Just not this time...especially since those "elected leaders" are also SDA's and attend the church....I did my homework.  =)

1.) You are assuming all SDA's are Christians....  Just because someone takes the title does not mean they serve God... Heck the editor of one of our biggest SDA magazines (directly under supervision of the GC) Takes the title of Adventist, because he grew up in the church, but openly believes in evolution, doesn't believe in the seventh day sabbath, doesn't believe SOP...ect..ect... Not saying that that is necessarily the case, just stating that to make the assumption that a politician is a true christian based on nothing more than their word and maybe a few charitable deeds for the press is naive..

2.) An SDA in that position in a heavily populated SDA community will still likely out of not only peer pressure, or majority vote, but plain guilt placed on him by the church faculty vote it down.

Soooo, if a person does not agree with your position they are not a Christian?

I did not say that, thank you for a sad attempt at twisting sound logic to suit your argument....

What I was attempting to say is that if a person is a hypocrite claiming to believe something and then not actually living by it they by denial of truths they have claimed as a part of their belief structure they are not a Christian..

God judges us by the light we are given and has sheep in many different folds... However if a person is led up to the light for a lifetime by good Christian parents and still shuns the truth and treats the church as nothing more than a social club they are lukewarm at best...

Whatever a persons beliefs may be pertaining to God if they contradict them in nearly every aspect of their lives they are not serving Christ. This is why righteousness will be accounted to many who have never even heard the name of Christ, because they are doing all they can with the knowledge they have... If someone claims to be a SDA and shares none of our foundational beliefs the most basic of which being the Sabbath, than they are doing God a disservice by being in a church where they readily admit that they think the truth is not being preached....

Getting back to the point of my comment though we have no way of knowing if this these officials are true Christians or not, so to assume so just because they are "SDA's and attend the church" means nothing.... Christ is no respecter or persons, or ones "standing in the church" and we should not be either.

Getting further back to the point I think he will vote it down either way. Whether it is because, he is a SDA feeling pressured by the elders of his church and / or worried about the witness he may pose (the possibility of causing a brother to stumble by offense as refered to by Paul concerning meat sacrificed to idols.), or if he is just another politician looking to keep his job; it will get voted down...

@JAPFAWM

The Christian of course... Though we do share the same belief structure as the early church. I suppose one could say we are the early church recalled to life after many years of suppression, with just a bit more light shed on a few subjects by the opening of the books of Daniel and Revelation.

Since they have already voted, what now?  I will say it once more:  people with integrity could care less about the "political people" who want to control them instead of allowing them to follow their own convictions.  The end!

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