Toledo Talk

So Called Good Christian Businessmen

In the last few years I have run across a group of businessmen who use “being a good Christian” as a reason to do business with them. They use it thinking it gives them instant legitimacy, as though they are beyond questioning – yet they are dishonest, unlawful, swindlers. There are several I have dealt with or ran across in Bowling Green (coincidently from the same church) and couple businessmen in Toledo.

I was wondering if any TT Peeps have run across similar businessmen. I am not referring to The Churches, so please don’t turn this into a Cedar Creek/Corner Stone issue. I am talking about people who seem to prey on others who believe. An example; I was in a meeting where a business owner was trying to get paid for work it was questionable he did. When asked to itemize his bill his response was “We are all good Christians here…”

Another example is blatantly lying about people they have worked with or businesses they have started.
It reminds me of the old saying “Tommy asked God for a bike, but God doesn’t work that way so Tommy stole a bike and then asked for forgiveness”. Maybe that is their thinking.

Sorry TT’ers. I don’t normally post heavy stuff but this has been bothering me for some time.

created by Molsonator on Nov 18, 2011 at 11:25:24 am     Business     Comments: 21

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I'd like you to post the names of the illegitimate businesses you've dealt with.

And don't worry, God will get them back. Or "karma," if God's not your thing.

posted by OmarLittle on Nov 18, 2011 at 12:32:03 pm     #  

Meh I've dealt with Catholics, Baptists, Hindus, Pagans, and just about every other faith, when it comes to business they all worship the unholy Dollar.

Whenever I go into a business arrangement I expect to get screwed over and don't give anyone the benefit of the doubt no matter where or whom they pray too.

Your argument is valid that nobody should leverage their faith in business proposals but it is just as bad as saying "whenever we have cake the fat people eat it all".

Shucks of all shapes and sizes.

posted by dbw8906 on Nov 18, 2011 at 01:07:02 pm     #   2 people liked this

The more a business comes at me with that "Good Christian" and Jesus fish stuff, the tighter I hold on to my wallet. Just my experience.

posted by Ace_Face on Nov 18, 2011 at 01:23:29 pm     #   2 people liked this

I think it is not the wisest thing to link politics or business with faith. All people, including businessmen and politicians are sinners, and if you emphasize the connection people look for your faults and when you do wrong it is a bad reflection on the faith.

It's best to remember that all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, but non-Christians really expect a lot more and they should get it, too.

posted by ilovetoledo on Nov 18, 2011 at 01:26:59 pm     #   1 person liked this

I too get suspicious when a salesperson or vendor applies a thick layer of religious virtue in the conversation. On the other hand, my insurance agent is a staunchly conservative pro-life activist, but you would never know this by meeting with him: he will talk about his faith if asked (which I did) but in the first 10 years that I was his client I never heard him once mention religion, especially not as part of his sales pitches.

In fact, I think it is far better to represent your religion through practice - by showing strong moral character and being trustworthy - than to drape a bunch of religious imagery around the office or to drop the name of your favorite deity in the conversation in every opportunity that appears.

posted by historymike on Nov 18, 2011 at 01:46:17 pm     #   8 people liked this

True stories from my time working for "Christian" radio operators. I was managing their secular stations and did not have to participate in these shenanigans, but the FM "Christian Contemporary" station and AM talk & "Focus on the Family" station did:

1.) School supplies backpack drive: Station purports to have 5,000 backpacks filled with school supplies for poor children in the community...and for only $15 a listener can "donate" a backpack to a needy child.

Underlying facts: Station kept $10 of that $15 dollar donation as a "marketing fee". That would be a 67/33 split. Listeners were, in fact, donating to the station budget.

2.) Radio-thon for the homeless: Stations did a 12 hour radio-thon to support a local homeless shelter around Christmastime.

Underlying facts: See #1. But this time it was an 80/20 split, with the 80% once again as a "marketing fee". General manager says to me, with a straight face, "well, they wouldn't have had the 20% we gave them if it wasn't for us."

3.) The help: Our station general manager at the time was a guy with a business background, but the group overall was not performing up to corporate expectations. It was turning a profit. This was 2007--right at the start of our current recession. Corporate management...."good Christian businessmen" all...put so much pressure on the guy, threatened him, called his efforts a "fucking failure" (I was there for that meeting), etc., that he travelled to "visit" with his soon-to-be ex-wife and kids (who left him because he became so miserable at home from this job)...and after his visit, he promptly went to his hotel and blew a .357 slug through his cerebellum.

After the death, you should have seen the "oh we had no idea...he was such a good man...blah blah blah...spirit of Christ tells us he is in a better place...yada yada yada". Just sickening...good Christian businessmen who shit on this guy every day until he splattered his brains on the wall, but now he's a saint. Hypocrites. Where were they for their "brother"?

My wife and I came to a decision that I should leave after that. The environment was distinctly not Christian--it was money, money, money. God has been turned into a commodity that can be bought and sold. And branded as "family values" long as those values bring up the company values.

Margaret Thatcher had a quote "If you have to say you're a lady, you aren't." If you have to say you're a "good Christian", then what follows will most likely be anything but the actions of such a person.

posted by oldhometown on Nov 18, 2011 at 03:18:45 pm     #   8 people liked this

I felt led to weigh in... I agree that there are way too many businesses (as well as people) who use Christianity as some sort of marketing tool and I have been burnt by a couple of them as well... but I also have come across some who mention their religion in their ads and stand by Biblical principles in their business dealings... having said that, to me, I would love it if all businesses thought like that (not so much the Biblical side, but that they would at least follow customer driven priciples)... also, to oldhometown, I have worked with my share of the non-Christian Christian broadcasters... nothing angered me more.... but I also know of many who are incredibly rooted in their faith... a couple of local guys come readily to mind... they completely practice what they preach... I guess the answer is hope for the best but expect the worst...

posted by makinTV on Nov 18, 2011 at 04:14:01 pm     #   1 person liked this

If you ever hear "we're all good Christians here" as an excuse not to follow proper and ethical business practices, it is time to run the other way. I've worked with many Christian businesses who go out of their way to be ethical (in fact, they get a little nit-picky in my opinion) but there are plenty who use the "I've got a fish on the door" as an excuse to fleece the flock.

posted by TartyTinkbeiner on Nov 18, 2011 at 04:17:51 pm     #   1 person liked this

From OldHomeTown: If you have to say you're a "good Christian", then what follows will most likely be anything but the actions of such a person.

You nailed it.

Every single time I heard the phrase "We're all good Christians..." I just prepared myself for being nailed to the cross. It just never failed.

I did get in a preemptive strike once. The client was late on the final payment and I was "badly bent", so as I walked in to his office that afternoon I told him how good it was to do business with a good Christian, because the rest of the world had been hammering me all week. He sputtered around and looked kind of ill, then wrote me a check. Post dated.

The check was good, though, and that was that.

posted by madjack on Nov 18, 2011 at 06:31:47 pm     #   1 person liked this

Agree with what historymike said. Actions speak louder than words.

posted by mom2 on Nov 18, 2011 at 07:45:33 pm     #   1 person liked this

Sad though that words mean so little.

posted by TartyTinkbeiner on Nov 18, 2011 at 08:24:08 pm     #  

Don't forget the Xtian businesses that go apeshit after you do business with them and they find out you're atheist/agnostic/pagan/Internet Joke Religion-ist. Suddenly you're the rottenest customer ever....

posted by anonymouscoward on Nov 18, 2011 at 09:34:49 pm     #  

Personally I don't care if you worship a little green fairy. As long as you pay on time and treat me with respect everything is good. I've been screwed by every faith there is but no offense the worst have been people from the middle east.

posted by lfrost2125 on Nov 19, 2011 at 08:57:07 am     #  

These are all great comments and reflect my thinking as well. I ran across a business man who was doing business with one of these “good Christians”. I felt obligated to warn them about their business practices. They didn’t believe me. Said I must have the wrong person. That’s how convincing they were in building their façade. Oldhometown – funny you should bring up the fundraising part as one of the guys I am thinking of in BG collected items for an auction to the skate club – kept most of the money himself and bid on and won items in the auction which he never paid for. Winterfest was the event. Probably not coincidently, he used to work for one of the Christian radio/TV stations. Ha!
Oldhometown, my guess is you and I have crossed paths several times.

posted by Molsonator on Nov 19, 2011 at 09:08:36 am     #  

Suddenly you're the rottenest customer ever....

Well, maybe you are.

Just pulling your chain, AC.

I've had that happen to me as well. One vendor asked me if I drank (liquor) and when I affirmed that I did I started getting a lecture about AA and the evils of liquor. Not being able to resist temptation, I asked him if I gave up the good old morning snort if that would serve as a kind of compromise. He had no sense of humor.

Ah, well... the sun's almost over the yard arm. Care to join me?

posted by madjack on Nov 19, 2011 at 11:06:53 am     #  

I feel the same way about Christians trumpeting their Christianity on the front of their businesses as I do about those businesses who choose to hang a Michigan or Ohio State flag in the front of their store - why would you want to turn away half of your customers?

posted by TartyTinkbeiner on Nov 20, 2011 at 09:07:11 pm     #  

I don't equate the two. The Michigan - Ohio State rivarly is a friendly one with no intent of deception, just some good natured razzing from both sides. If someone walks away from a business because they don't share the same college football loyalty they're taking it far, far too seriously. I really doubt that happens.

I do give a wide berth to any person (other than ordained clergy) or business that feels it necessary to make prominent gestures to point out their religious affiliation. If you are a true Christian, you live it in work and at home without mention of it.

posted by holland on Nov 20, 2011 at 10:47:21 pm     #  

I agree with you "holland" on the "prominent gestures to point out their religious affiliation."

When it comes to the whole Michigan/Ohio State thing - I can't believe the lengths to which some will go. I've watched educated people choose to pay more for carpet because the business where they could have paid less hung the wrong flag outside (obviously I am speaking from personal experience on this one!). It is sort of funny that some people's fanaticism for a football team outweighs their faith - whatever that faith may be. Sports really is a a religion to some people!

posted by TartyTinkbeiner on Nov 21, 2011 at 10:58:11 am     #  

There's a quote from an English soccer manager: "Football isn't a matter of life and death. It's much more serious than that."

posted by Ace_Face on Nov 21, 2011 at 11:22:38 am     #  

...hmm..about flags...the display of an American flag doesn't always indicate a reputable business...and the lack thereof doesn't always mean it is not a reputable business!

posted by 55pointplace on Nov 21, 2011 at 11:49:49 am     #  

Word of mouth tends to be the best indicator for me...flags, displays of religiosity or ugly decor don't usually affect me. Quality service? Friendly? Those will do it every time - even if it is a little more expensive.

posted by TartyTinkbeiner on Nov 21, 2011 at 04:22:59 pm     #