Thursday, August 4, 2005

There’s One Born Again Every Minute

Lynn Harris has a good article in Salon.com about the rise of evangelical business owners and their attempt to include salvation along with the rest of their products.

No statistics yet exist on the number or growth of these businesses, but there are certainly enough to support numerous regional and national Christian business directories. The largest such directory, the Shepherd’s Guide, now covers over 100 cities (after launching with just Baltimore, Md., in 1979). “There seems to be more of a recognized movement of Christian businesses in the marketplace,” confirms David Moyer, Shepherd’s Guide vice president. “In years past you didn’t so much make a statement of your religious life through your business. Today Christians — and I believe rightfully so — are making a commitment to say, ‘I want to stand out for my belief.'” (According to Christian retail trade association CBA International, sales of specifically Christian products reached $4.34 billion in 2004, up by about 10 percent from 2000). The Christian Blue Pages has tripled the number of regions it serves; Chris Chandler, founder of the online business directory Christian eBuy.com, says that four years ago, he received one or two listing submissions a day. Now he gets 200. Why the increase? “Now people are seeing that they can be more open with their faith in the marketplace and the workplace. They’re more emboldened,” says Chandler. “I also think a lot of people feel that we’re in the last days, and we’ve really got to share our faith.”

These guys also probably figure that anyone who will buy the story about two naked people and a talking snake will fall for anything.