Thursday, August 04, 2005

Milking Jesus

An article in Salon Verily, I sell unto you surveys the recent flood of overtly xian businesses. Some choice bits:

About a Christian Faith Driving School based in Maryland.

    "He does not "witness" about his faith until the last session of the program, but he does preach the "moral values" of "courtesy and consideration to other drivers," he says. "By the end of the course the students seem to think that they can call and talk to me as a friend or a mentor, or ask me to pray with them." Gadow recalls that the Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration recommended against using "Christian" in the name of the school, suggesting that it might narrow his market. But he persisted, and now, four years later, he's turning students away."

and a Houston-based auto-repair franchiser, Christian Brothers which promises:

    "To glorify God by providing ethical and excellent automotive repair service for our customers, according to Colossians 3:17, And whatever you do in word and deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through him to God the Father."

and a Minessota bank:

    "I got saved at an Amway meeting, so the marketplace is where I invite Christ into my life," says Chuck Ripka, 46, co-founder of Riverview Community Bank in Otsego, Minn. ("We invited Jesus to be the CEO of our bank," he says, attributing the bank's "supernatural" growth -- from $5.5 million in start-up capital to $103 million in 27 months -- to divine intervention.) While the bank's name may sound generic (and the company Web site is "God"-free), the Ten Commandments banner in the foyer, the "God Bless You" sign at the tellers station, and the painting in the CEO's office of two businessmen shaking hands with Jesus, might tip customers off. "God has allowed us to be who we are: We're Christians and we're bankers, and we're allowed to mix the two. To me, it's seamless. We're a bank first, but in the midst of it all, when customers express their own needs, I am able to pray along with them," says Ripka, who customarily asks God's blessing for reporters at the end of interviews.


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