Do you avoid religious businesses?

Some businesses readily demonstrate a preference for religiosity or have overtly religious management teams. One example is Chick-fil-A which cites religion as reasons for closing on Sunday and opposing gay marriage.

1. Are you, as a consumer, less likely to spend at a business that is overtly religious? Why or why not?

2. Do you keep track of which businesses bill themselves as religious, which have taken no public stance, and which are run by atheists? Do you know of any resources for keeping track?

3. Say you pulled into a gas station and read this message on the pump. Would you still buy gas there? Say you have a choice between a Catholic hospital and a secular hospital. Do you avoid the Catholic hospital because it is Catholic?

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    Joe Passarino

    My decision to patronize a business is based on value of the product or service I receive for my money.  I go to Chick-Fil-A because they serve the most delicious chicken sandwich that beats anything a comparable fast food chain sells.  What the Cathy family does with the profit they earn off my purchase is their business and right.  If I was at the gas pump in the picture, I would think "Well I don't like it so I'll leave and get gas elsewhere."  If it makes the owner feel morally superior, so be it.  His perceived superiority really doesn't affect me except that I have to inconvenience myself to find another gas station.  I'm pretty confident that the Muslin or Sikh owned franchise down the street may provide the service and product I seek without the proselytizing.

    My wife works at a Catholic hospital and for insurance reasons I've had a couple procedures performed there.  My Jewish surgeon and Buddhist anesthesiologist don't seem to have a problem working there so I'm not too concerned if the registration forms ask me if I want to give my confession before going under the knife.

    When a clerk at a store I went to would tell me to "have a blessed day", I always wanted to tell her "I'll have any damn kind of day I please" but instead of being confrontational about someone's beliefs which are different than mine, I just accepted that this was her way of being friendly and there's nothing wrong with that.

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      Some religious people may choose not to do businesses with atheists, though they would seem to be ignoring the inclusiveness and nonjudgmentalism Jesus seemed to be promoting in the parable of The Good Samaritan.

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        Tim Schock

        As a business owner myself, I wouldn't want people to avoid my business just because they disagree with my lack of belief. Which is why we don't advertise ourselves in such a way. It's certainly no big secret, but in business it's important that everyone feel welcome.

        Why any business would go out of their way to do the opposite is beyond logic, but many do. I try to base my choices on quality of service but I often wonder; if they are missing this basic component of business skill, what else are they doing wrong?

        Answering your questions directly:

        1. I live in PA's Amish country. Many businesses advertise themselves as Christian. It would be impossible to avoid even if I wanted to. I am however, more likely to support a business that is outwardly non-religious.

        2. I don't make it a priority. Though when I do hear of a business doing something particularly awful (i.e. Hobby Lobby, Conestoga Wood) I will remember it and avoid them. I know of no particular resource for better tracking, this could be a useful tool.

        3. Gas station: I would make it a point to tell the owner that I disagree with his statement and am leaving to give the Sikhs down the street my money, as he requested.

        Catholic vs. secular hospital: I know of no reason to believe the level of care is different at either type of facility.