Companies and Religious Freedom

Companies and Religious Freedom

Many civil rights activists today press for more ‘religious freedom.’ Their idea of this term really means less public display of religion – For these activists, the Ten Commandments outside of a courthouse, a Christmas tree in a public school and a cross as a memorial of an American tragedy all infringe upon their right to ‘religious freedom.’

As these activists gain power, the term ‘religious freedom’ is slowly being redefined and the mistreatment of Christians in America is becoming more prevalent.

Apple Inc. used to be a company that valued the ideals of those with a Biblical worldview. However, Apple has not defended its Christian customers in its recent decisions.

In the case of an Exodus International app for the iPhone, Apple responded to more than 150,000 signatures demanding Apple remove the application. The argument for the change.org petition was that the application “was instituting a potentially ‘devastating’ double standard by banning racist and anti-Semitic apps from iTunes, while ‘giving the green light to an app targeting vulnerable LGBT youth.” According to the Huffington Post, Apple removed the Exodus International app because it “[violated] [the] developer guidelines by being offensive to large groups of people.”

Unfortunately, for Apple, this would not be the first application it has pulled due to pressure from a petition claiming the applications were violating their rights to ‘religious freedom.’ In 2010, Apple pulled the Manhattan Declaration app because civil rights activists called the application “’anti-gay’ and ‘anti-woman,’” according to Christianity Today. Further, Apple also pulled its promotion of iTunes from the Christian Values Network because of the same pressure.

Recently, PayPal was pressed to ‘stop handling donations made to a group of organizations that promote family values.’ The New American said PayPal responded to the campaign that gained over 37,000 signatures by suspending 10 of their accounts. A spokesman for the company said “that while the company bans groups and individuals who promote hate and violence, ‘we also take into account the rights of free speech and religious freedom.”

The marketplace was once a place that valued the opinion of those with a Biblical worldview. However, the marketplace changed when the demands of the consumer changed. Faith driven consumers need to become more active in order to encourage a marketplace that listens to Christians.

Please take a look at our company reviews today to see if the companies you support align with your Biblical values and if the companies have made decisions to protect the religious freedom of Christians.

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'In God We Trust' Stands as Nation's Motto

'In God We Trust' Stands as Nation's Motto

The House of Representatives on Tuesday reaffirmed “In God We Trust” as the national motto.

This action was initiated by Rep. Randy Forbes, R-Va., who supports the display of the motto in all public schools and government buildings. Forbes said the resolution was necessary after several circumstances raised questions about the issue.

Recently in a speech to the International community, President Obama asserted “E pluribus unum” (“from many one”) as the national motto.  Before that, “E pluribus unum” was  engraved in the Capitol Visitor Center as the national motto. Congress ordered this be corrected.  The National Mint recently removed the motto from the face of a new coin and placed it on the edge instead.

If our president misrepresents our nation’s motto and the House has to reaffirm the phrase, what is this truly saying about where Americans place their trust?

Our country was founded upon Christian principles, and even our money says this motto. Then why is it that we fail to trust God in various situations  we encounter daily?

Consider this: Money is a leading cause of divorce. Companies are misusing the money consumers spend through supporting organizations that do not honor God. So what can we do about this as faith driven consumers?

It’s time to actually trust in God as a nation. If we truly trusted God, wouldn’t we earnestly seek to honor Him in all ways, trusting that He would provide for our every need? As a Christian consumer, you can use the Company Reviews tool to see how companies line up with your Christian values and see what they are supporting.

Join  Faith Driven Consumer as we aim to honor and trust God in all aspects of our lives, even in the marketplace.

 

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How to Handle Halloween as a Faith Driven Consumer

How to Handle Halloween as a Faith Driven Consumer

Pumpkins, candy, and costumes–these things may come to mind when thinking about the Halloween holiday. Next Monday night, kids will be lining the street with masks on their faces and bags full of candy in their hands uttering the words “Trick-or-Treat”.

But have you ever thought about the deeper implications that this holiday brings? Do you ever feel oppressed as a Christian during Halloween and wish your children weren’t exposed to seeing specific costumes or celebrating ghosts, demons and witches?

According to an opinion article by Bloomberg, ‘People value Halloween, like Valentine’s Day, because they can tell themselves that it’s not merely secularized, it’s secular, which is to say not Christian, Jewish, Hindu or Muslim.’

For many Americans, Halloween is a night for trickery and innocent fun, but as Christians we should be concerned with the way this holiday has developed throughout the years.In recent years, we can see the gradual shift from the fun of Halloween to a darker, more demonic focus. It is inevitable that there will be two or three box office hits centered on demons and the supernatural at Halloween time. Movies like t he ‘Paranormal Activity’ trilogy have set the tone for scary movies by hitting number one at the box office.

Continual Trend with Halloween Costumes

The darker side of Halloween has also taken over the costumes we can purchase. There is now an increase in demand for the ‘sexy’ women costume. And they are not just marketing to women, but teens girls as well.

This shift has caused discomfort for many with a Biblical worldview, and being subjected to explaining some of the things that come with Halloween to children doesn’t help.

The Bloomberg article mentions a child who dresses up as Aslan, to which it says ‘Lewis was on to something: People can keep children away from religion, but they can’t stop children from believing in something.’ And that ‘there’s something unsettling about the education of a child who comfortably enumerates the rules for surviving zombie apocalypse but finds it uncomfortable to enumerate the rules of his grandparents’ faith, if he knows them.’

Further, the article says, ‘you don’t have to reject Halloween to ask what it may be replacing’–it may be replacing the belief in God.

As Christians, this should be concerning for us. As everyday retailers are selling things from the darker side of Halloween, consumers are purchasing these things now more than ever.
Faith Driven Consumers have a choice, though:


This link is a good source for Christians who want to celebrate an alternative Halloween.
As you approach Halloween on Monday, remember how this holiday has implications toward the dark side, and how we need to be careful what our families are exposed to. Find a way to celebrate and still uphold your values. Let’s show companies that we care how they promote Halloween in our stores!
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Where Has Modesty Gone in America?

Where Has Modesty Gone in America?
Lately, it has become the norm to walk down the street and see women in tight fitting clothes, short skirts and a shirt that exposes their cleavage. Even men have no problem exposing their upper bodies in public anymore.You see it on advertisements, on television shows and even in the movies. The imagination is not left with much to wonder.

America has a modesty problem and it is the fault of both men and women. We are surrounded daily with images that tell us that we should look a certain way–sexy and toned–and that we should wear certain clothes. In most cases, the media is telling us to dress in a way that does not honor God.

In 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 the Bible tells us “Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.” Dressing immodestly is glorifying man in our sinful nature; it is causing men issues with pornography and women self-esteem issues.

recent article by Mail Online discusses Mormons and modesty. Across the country, Mormon women are showing off their style in a modest way.

Their blogs portray recent trends found in magazines without the high hemlines and the low necklines. These women are speaking up for their religion and their bodies. One blogger says, “What’s most important is not the rules of modesty, but the respect given to an individual’s body.”

The women in these blogs don’t sacrifice their bodies for the sake of fashion or to impress men. They are dressing modestly to show others the respect they have for their bodies; their bodies are to glorify God, and they live by this rule.

As Faith Driven Consumers, we need to help our families and friends live by what the Bible says about modesty. Both men and women need to work to encourage each other to value their bodies by showing respect for the other sex.

Let’s tell companies that we want wholesome advertising and express to clothing companies that we want modest clothing. And together, let’s work to set an example of modest dressing.

You can check out more about companies that you are currently shopping at by clicking here to see company reviews completed by Faith Driven Consumer.

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Organizations Support Planned Parenthood

Organizations Support Planned Parenthood

Breast Cancer Awareness Month

Out of all of the fall colors you see from the foliage, you may notice a bright color sticking out amongst the rest–pink! October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. As you may have noticed, everyday items in stores are marked with pink ribbons, signifying a donation to a breast cancer research foundation.

October is breast cancer awareness month. These pink ribbons are seen on many products and in several stores as part of your money goes to help fight breast cancer.

Among the most popular breast cancer research foundations is Susan G. Komen for the Cure. Created in 1982, the Susan G. Komen foundation has invested more than $1.9 billion the breast cancer awareness movement. Its advocacy has been supported generously with contributions from corporate sponsors and donations.

For many, Susan, G. Komen offers hope to those with breast cancer, but as Christians we should be concerned about where the foundation places its contributions.

According to LifeNews.com, just last year Susan G. Komen gave $700,000 toPlanned Parenthood–the largest abortion provider in the country. The foundation released a statement in June 2011 saying “Komen funding is used exclusively to provide breast cancer programs, including clinical breast exams conducted by trained medical personnel.”

Further, the Susan G. Komen mission states that it is to ‘help save lives by increasing screening rates among all populations of women across the U.S. and around the world. As long as there is a need for health care for vulnerable populations, Komen will fund the facilities that can best meet those needs.’

While this seems like an appropriate response for those worried about where the money is going, Faith Driven Consumers still need to be concerned. Every time you buy something with the pink ribbon that gives proceeds to Susan G. Komen, you are helping fund a part of Planned Parenthood services.

Here are some quick facts about Planned Parenthood’s breast health services:

  • Planned Parenthood does not offer mammograms.
  • Planned Parenthood provides breast exams with a doctor.
  • Planned Parenthood provides education/information about breast cancer: signs, treatments, etc.
  • If the doctor feels a mammogram is necessary, they provide a referral.

Though Susan G. Komen for the Cure believes that giving to Planned Parenthood will provide women breast health services, Planned Parenthood is the primary provider of abortions.

Another philanthropic organization that also supports Planned Parenthood is United Way. While United Way is an organization dedicated to using community support to further the lives and common good of people, some United Way groups have donated to Planned Parenthood.

In a statement provided by United Way, it has taken a neutral position on the issue of abortion so as to not detract from the mission and goals of the organization. United Way maintains that the money does not go to fund or support abortions, but rather to help the well-being of the people through “community health maintenance, e.g. communicable disease prevention; medical care service; family planning; health education; public awareness services; and family preservation and strengthening services, e.g. counseling and family life education.”

While United Way may not directly support abortion services through Planned Parenthood, it is providing money to them in other ways which frees up Planned Parenthood’s resources to spend more toward abortion services.

Is giving to Planned Parenthood still justified in your mind?

Mother Teresa said, ‘America needs no words from me to see how your decision in Roe v. Wade has deformed a great nation. The so-called right to abortion has pitted mothers against their children and women against men. It has sown violence and discord at the heart of the most intimate human relationships. It has aggravated the derogation of the father’s role in an increasingly fatherless society. It has portrayed the greatest of gifts — a child — as a competitor, an intrusion, and an inconvenience. It has nominally accorded mothers unfettered dominion over the independent lives of their physically dependent sons and daughters.’

Some organizations are currently speaking out against Planned Parenthood and abortion. Lila Rose is president ofLive Action, a youth-led, pro-life movement for human rights. Abby Johnson, a former employee at Planned Parenthood also speaks out against the organization in her book unPlanned. The National Black Pro-Life Coalition is an organization that wants to ‘end abortion by restoring a culture of Life and the Foundation of family in the black community.’

As Faith Driven Consumers, we need to speak out against giving to Planned Parenthood and support organizations that are advocating for the lives of the unborn. We encourage you to do some research and find breast cancer foundations that you believe are faith-friendly and give to organizations you can support.

Please look at our company reviews to see which companies are giving to United Way, Susan G. Komen or Planned Parenthood.

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Testimonial From the Value Voters Summit

Testimonial From the Value Voters Summit

Our intern, Addy Haseltine, recently went to Values Voter Summit in Washington, D.C. She speaks of her experience in this post:

Washington D.C. is one of my favorite places–having spent a good portion of my childhood (up until I was ten) in the area, the monuments and the streets never get old.

Now that I live in Raleigh, North Carolina, the pace of life is completely different;and coming back to D.C. to visit family always brings a shock for me. It is inevitable that going to DC now I will see people begging for food, business people shuffling by, and gay pride flags hanging from most of the stores on a street. Has the city changed or have I grown up?

Well, it is both. The once pinnacle of American freedom has become a place of sin and frivolous politics. The ‘change’ we were promised was a broken promise, and Americans are demanding  honesty and moral values from our leaders. But, where are these leaders?

I believe the future leaders of America were at the Values Voter Summit.

Presidential runners Rick PerryHerman Cain and Rick Santorum spoke out against the moral decline of America and the broken promises coming from the White House. In Glenn Beck’s address to Values Voter, he said that Americans need to put their money where there heart is and go back to their places of worship if we want to see change in America.

Laura Ingram spoke of her children and the future they will have in American should we continue down this path. This really stuck with me throughout my time at VVS.

As a college student, Values Voter Summit brought about many opportunities, including a student mixer. While I was at the mixer, it was inspiring to see how many young people held the same values as me. In that room, I met the future leaders of America.

A recent graduate of UCLA, Lila Rose, spoke out against abortion and Planned Parenthood. She has started a movement among young people across America. Jason Mattera, author of Obama Zombies: How the Liberal Machine Brainwashed My Generation, is creating a political movement among young conservative to challenge and question liberal leaders with videos he calls ‘ambush interviews.’

I think Americans need to wake up and realize that the future of America is in our youth. My generation will one day lead America. This generation needs our leaders and adults to stand up for biblical values–the values of the family, honesty, dignity, and morals–or else our country will fail to stand for the freedom I knew when I was little.

I encourage you, as a Faith Driven Consumer, to stand up for the youth of America by voting in the presidential nomination and election for a leader you know will uphold the values of Christians. America needs a president who will defend the Faith Driven Consumer Biblical worldview.

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Company Reviews Tool up and Running!

Company Reviews Tool up and Running!

We have an exciting update here at Faith Driven Consumer!

The company reviews tool is officially up and running on our website. This tool will allow you, as the consumer, see what companies you are buying from are actually supporting.

At Faith Driven Consumer, we are not here to judge or boycott companies for what they are doing wrong. We are simply encouraging consumers to make conscious decisions before spending money.

Have you ever considered what happens to your money past the cash register? We are here as a resource to provide you the information so you can ultimately decide who you will support.

You can research companies based on their industry, name or the amount of stars you would like them to have in a specific category. Click here to see how we are ranking companies.

We are extremely excited to provide this tool as a resource for all consumers. Please keep checking back as we are expanding our company reviews daily!

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Where Americans Spend Their Time

Where Americans Spend Their Time

Time is a precious commodity when you consider the busyness that consumes our life in America. Unlike other cultures, Americans value every moment they get to work, rest, play, sleep, or just spend time with their families.

recent survey by the Wall Street Journal asked Americans how they spend their day. The study concluded that Americans spend the most time sleeping at approximately eight hours and 23 minutes and the least time in call, mail and email at approximately 11 minutes. According to the study–besides work and work-related activities–Americans spend the a large majority of their time mostly involved in leisurely activities:

  • Watching television: 2 hr. 31 min.
  • Leisure and sports (excluding TV watching): 2hr. 9 min
  • Eating and Drinking: 1 hr. 12 min.
  • Personal Care: 49 min.

Christians in America are bombarded daily with messages to spend time on the things of this world. These messages come from the shows we watch and the places we go–telling us to pursue the American dream, ultimately detracting our time spent focusing on God.

Americans have been so affected by these messages that approximately 16 minutes are spent in organizational, civic, and religious activities. These 16 minutes may not be limited to religious activities.

Faith Driven Consumer believes the amount of time spent on religious activities is too low for a person who wants to seek and pursue God, especially in comparison to the time spent watching television and participating in leisure and sports.

As Faith Driven Consumers, we need to be purposeful with our time and encourage companies whose messages align with our values. If Americans are going to be spending most of their time watching television, eating and drinking, let’s hold companies accountable for the content it uses to advertise its products and the messages it sends on television shows.

 

Graphic from the Department of Labor

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Consumer Spending in America

Consumer Spending in America
Ever thought about what you spend most of your money on each year? For many Americans, the answer is probably yes. But considering the effects of your purchases is most likely a different answer.
The U.S. Department of Labor conducted a survey asking Americans how they spend their paycheck throughout the year:
  • Housing: 34.1 %
  • Transportation: 17.6 %
  • Food: 12.4%
  • Insurance, Pensions: 10.8 %
  • Utilities, fuels, public services: 7%
  • Healthcare: 5.7%
  • Entertainment: 5.4%

All of the purchases we make affect the marketplace. We buy houses through certain retail companies, buy fuel from a gas station, buy food from a specific grocery store and go to the movie theater to see a movie on any given Friday night.

But, what happens when the companies we buy from support things contrary to what God has called us to value?

Modern day companies are primarily concerned with the customer–they seek to please and accommodate to the needs and wants of the customer. Many Christians do not know the companies they buy from everyday give to charities and organizations that should grieve the heart of a Christian.

Faith Driven Consumer strives to be an online gathering point and an information resource for making faith-conscious decisions. We provide a company reviews tool to allow you to do this. These company reviews are seen through a Biblical lens to give Christian consumers the chance to see what their favorite companies are supporting. Through these Christian consumer, we are able to let companies know how they can improve to be more faith-friendly.

If Americans are spending all of their money in the marketplace and companies aim to please the consumer, we need to make sure our voice is heard and our values are respected by companies.

We know that no company is perfect, but as Faith Driven Consumers, we want companies to engage the Christian consumer based upon their needs, wants and preferences just like they do for consumers with other worldviews.

By doing this, we hope Christians can feel comfortable spending their money in the marketplace, knowing it will not compromise their morals.

 

Graphic from the Department of Labor
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New movie 'Courageous' promotes wholesome values

New movie 'Courageous' promotes wholesome values

The new family-friendly movie “Courageous” is leading ticket sales at the box office. Through grief, struggle, and reliance on God, this movie illustrates how men strive to raise their children in a God-honoring way.

Faith Driven Consumer is a strong supporter of “Courageous”, as it promotes the traditional family system. This movie was produced by Sherwood Pictures, who also did “Fireproof” and “Facing the Giants.”

With all of the not-so-friendly entertainment that we tend to see, this is a breath of fresh air for the Christian audience to enjoy with their families.

 

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