Opinion with Ginion – Secular businesses and where do Christians draw the line?

To be in the world and not of it. To engage with secular companies or to avoid supporting their anti-biblical agenda. To make a stand for theological convictions or to participate in culture. These are a few of the questions we need to consider as sojourners living in a broken world. We inevitably must encounter and interact with organizations that do not claim the name or values of Jesus. Where, when and how should we do so?

While it would be awesome to be able to ensure that our money strictly goes toward companies that promote and support Christian ideology, it is incredibly impractical, if not impossible. Odds are you shop at Kroger and Target just like everyone else. Chick-fil-A and Hobby Lobby aside, there aren’t too many other widespread businesses that operate out of a Christian faith.

Beyond even just personal shopping choices, what businesses should Christian organizations support or avoid? More specifically, should there be a Starbucks on Liberty’s campus, let alone two?  Should The Grid sell Peace Tea, a brand that occasionally features and promotes LGBTQ+ pride on its packaging?

At the institutional level, Liberty is financially supporting these brands as well as promoting them among students. Sure, the students get to decide for themselves whether to buy from them or not, but should Liberty even offer them in the first place?

The trouble comes in deciding which businesses to allow and which to reject. If we are to boycott Starbucks’ being on campus for its lack of Christian values, then we also must consider Dunkin’, Slim Chickens and Pizza Hut. Cherry-picking which secular organizations are or aren’t permissible opens the door to hypocrisy and foolishness. If a business does not proclaim to be Christian, then we cannot expect them to operate as though they were. The same principle applies to our non-believing friends, family and co-workers. Their lack of faith does not constitute us cutting off all ties, but rather should propel us to engage with them even further, showing them the light and hope that we have.

Cartoon by Hannah Gilmer

However, Liberty does have this opportunity to actively support a more deserving business. We could be intentional about selecting products that come from Christian-based companies. As these businesses are typically smaller, it would be greatly beneficial for their profit and success.

We also could focus on a local business to incorporate on our campus. Instead of two Starbucks, maybe we could have a Mission House or Golf Park location. Starbucks is such a huge corporation that it does not need our university’s revenue, but Liberty could be a game-changer for these smaller, local businesses.

Doing so would also help students to learn and think more about their buying choices. Our money speaks. What do we want it to say?

As Christians, we should desire to support and help businesses that are trying to be a light in a dark world. There are countless companies that do not claim Jesus. Let’s do our part to continue to build those that do.

This is what it means to be in the world but not of it. We can engage and interact with secular culture while maintaining our Christian witness. 

So no, it is not wrong or sinful of Liberty to have secular brands available on our campus. But perhaps there is a better way to spend that money for the sake of the kingdom. 

If we are to be Champions for Christ, it starts here. We need to champion both the little things and the big things for Christ. Just because it is the way it has always been done — that doesn’t mean that that’s the way it always has to be.

Let’s take a closer look at our choices and examine if there is a better, more fruitful path. If we can make a better choice, then I think we should.

Ginion is an opinion writer for the Liberty Champion

One comment

  • Jeaneen G Moore

    I have really been struggling with this topic over the past few weeks and decided to Google it today. I am thankful for your thoughtful article, which has helped me think through my struggle.

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