I was reading the paper* this morning and came across an interesting article detailing the growing number of Christian businesses. By this I mean, businesses based on a Christian philosophy - mostly the Golden Rule. The article exampled Christian Brothers Automotive, an $80 million company. Supposedly you would expect them to give you a fair deal. In fact, at one location a mechanic even stated he would pray with you if you felt the need. I was also surprised to see that Chick-fil-A is a Christian based company and, as such, are closed on Sunday. I am beginning to wonder how many more businesses claim this faith, but just don't have it stated in the name.
I am not sure how I feel about this. I certainly am not opposed to Christian businesses. There are many businesses under lots of different faith umbrellas. My main concern is that they live true to the golden rule value and don't discriminate in hiring or customer service. I also don't want to walk into their (or any other faith-based, non-church/synagogue/mosque, etc.) profit-based businesses and be evangelized. I think it is a fine line to be a profit based business and adhere to state and national regulations. It is ok to have a company value statement, it is not ok to use that statement to the exclusion of others or to the "skirting" of local laws.
I am curious, though, would you be more likely to frequent a business if you knew its owner's religious leanings? According to the article, because the above examples espouse to be Christian, they are hoping to tap into the large Christian market. Is it ok to use this for marketing? Is it ethical? What if they claimed to be Unitarian Universalist? Then would you be more likely?
*St. Louis Post-Dispatch, July 6, 2009