Thursday, April 23, 2009

Christian Yellow Pages?

Yesterday, while I was at the barbershop, actually "The Hair Shoppe," my wife came in to wait and picked up a little yellow pages type book for Christians. It advertises that all of the businesses listed are Christian businesses. Sure, what business that is approached by these people is going to say, no I'm not Christian? I lie, cheat and steal from my customers every chance I get.

On the other side of the coin, just how do I know that the businesses therein are not going to lie, cheat, and steal? If I am a Christian, am I supposed to shop only with these businesses? Are all of the other businesses not Christian that did not buy an ad? Of course that would be the majority of businesses in the tri-state area, since the little book is not very thick.

My bone to pick with this type of publication is that there will be those who only want to do business with these people because they advertise themselves as Christian. I have seen ads for businesses, who stress the fact that they are Christians. Many have Bible verses in their ads. Others post numerous signs around their businesses with Bible verses on them. All done to appeal to a segment of the population, which will automatically trust them.

A dentist that we once used played Christian music in his office and made a point to give you a "God bless you" before you left the chair. His wife loudly voiced her religious opinions in the office. Yet, he prescribed a filling for a member of my family. When suspicions were aroused, a second opinion showed absolutely no reason for a filling. His office bookkeeping methods were a bit interesting as well. Needless to say we quickly changed dentists. The new dentist used no "God Bless You's" but turned out to be a very good dentist.

I have always been somewhat suspicious of individuals, who wear their religion on their sleeves and continuously throw God's name into conversations. I have known a number of these folks, whom I would never have turned my back upon. Some of the males were notorious womanizers, others lied, cheated and stole at the drop of a hat. Religion on a sleeve makes for a great cover up.

Therefore, I am always quite cynical when I see ads for "Christian" businesses. It is quite possible that someone is covering up a great scam. Those who have advertised in the little publication for the most part are probably not putting themselves forward as "Christian" businesses, but simply took the opportunity to reach a segment of the population. What litmus test they had to pass to qualify for inclusion, I do not know.

Frankly, I could care less whether the people with whom I do business are Christian, Muslim, Jew, Hindu, Atheist, or Buddhist. As long as they do a good job and treat me in what I believe to be a fair manner, I will be happy. In these cases, when it comes to religion and politics I have a don't ask, don't tell policy.

The little Christian yellow pages book is fine. I'm sure someone makes some money selling ads to businesses. It is free enterprise and no one forced it upon me. I'm sure that for some it is a great service. For me, I'll just stay with word of mouth, the "real" yellow pages and the good old Internet.


Stephen fox said...

You will want to search out the May issue of Harper's Mag, cover stroy by Jeff Sharlet on the Christian Military.
Pretty provocative story.

On another note no excuses for Blairsville, Ga and Clay County NC libraries not having several copies of Ron Rash's Serena; no excuses at all.

Looking forward to your review of the Billy Graham and Southern GOP Rise by STeven Miller.


That Baptist Ain't Right said...

When a biz has to advertize its faith, it is either: desperate for customers or, as you said, wearing faith on their sleeve as a good cover.

Don't forget the booklet was probably marketed by another "Christian" printer & used his faith as a selling point to other Christians, to attract other Christian business. Quite a racket

Another thing that bothers me is that if Christians were in the minority, would these businesses still advertise their faith? After all, if the moral of the story is to do business with those whose faith you also subscribe, would you want to advertise that you are a minority faith? That would be terrible marketing since the majority faith would, in like fashion, do business with their faith. Advertising as Christian when Christianity is a minority would mean cutting out the largest market share. Hmmmm. Seems more like marketing & using faith to manipulate than anything else.