Sorry about the harsh title to this post, but that's what I sometimes think when I hear that I should support certain businesses because they're "Christian." As if slapping a fish or a cross on a piece of merchandise makes it superior to any other unnecessary product that is marketed to the general public.
Often I hear about companies that are Christian- or faith-based. That the company's founder is a Christian and that they include the name of God or some Bible verse in their title or motto or mission statement.
Somehow I think this might anger Jesus. For my readers who are familiar with the New Testament, remember how Jesus turned over the money changers tables? I mean, how is this different, really? These companies are pushing products that are probably not made with renewable and sustainable materials; probably use overseas slave labor to produce it; and most likely create a variety of nasty chemicals in the manufacturing process. In sum, they're allowing the destruction of creation in order to make a buck.
One faith-based company's web site says their mission is to "offer quality products and an outstanding opportunity to become successful business owners." How is it Christian or Biblical to push "quality products" or to be a "successful business owner"? I am often amazed at the quantity of items people purchase from these business owners. Customers are not purchasing them to satisfy a need; they're purchasing them because they feel they need more shiny baubles. And although they're touted as quality products, when you start looking at the cost and how everyone down the line is getting a cut of the sales, it turns out to be impossible that these trinkets are made of quality materials. They're manufactured for pennies, at a high cost to the health of individuals and the environment, and they are sold for far more than their actual value in order to help the company (mainly) and the "successful business owners" (somewhat) acquire more money.
Another company says, "Building this business on Biblical principles as made this business strong as well as enabled us to enrich lives." I'm still trying to understand how selling these products can enrich lives.
So again, I go back to the thought that I've blogged about before. If we don't purchase these items, we would have more money available to do good in the world: to alleviate poverty and hunger; to care for the ill; and to rehabilitate the incarcerated. Sounds a lot more like what Jesus would want us to do.
I understand that we are in tough economic times and that individuals are often just trying to make a living. However, using religion to market a product just doesn't seem right. I cringe every time I hear reference to a company that is founded on "Biblical principles" as it seems more like pimping God.
(Photo source: http://www.sxc.hu/photo/1302191)