Is the concept of a "Christian Business" morally defendable? And is it illegal?

I discovered a little while ago that there is such a thing as a "Christian business".
As I understand the concept, it is a business that, as part of its operating precepts (among other things) acts to either preferentially or exclusively deal with other "Christian businesses" and to employ Christian staff.
I realised today just how morally repugnant I find this concept. If I understand it correctly, these businesses essentially operate as a cartel founded on religious prejudice.
I did a little google search today and discovered over 3,000 hits for “Christian Business” in Australia alone. Many of these are Christian Business Networks or Christian Business Directories that openly state their purpose as providing opportunities for Christian businesses to network in order to encourage employment opportunities for Christians.
I am interested to hear:
• Do others find the concept of a Christian Business morally repugnant?
• Does such a business breach ‘anti non-competition’ / ‘anti-trust’ laws?
• Does such a business breach equal opportunity / anti-discrimination legislation by preferentially offering employment to one religious group?

Tags: Discrimination, Law, Morality

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Does such a business breach equal opportunity / anti-discrimination legislation by preferentially offering employment to one religious group? Probably. I'm no lawyer, but I'm sure that religion is on the list of things that you're not allowed to discriminate by in employment practices.
Do others find the concept of a Christian Business morally repugnant?

I don't find it morally repugnant, but I do feel minor disquiet. However, that disquiet is based only on vague concerns about what could occur (i.e., worst fears of christofascism in action), not what seems to be occuring.

Presuming these are the search results you found, it just seems to be a way of networking. Nothing wrong with it from what I can see. There doesn't seem to be any actual discriminaiton going on, just advertising to a specific market segment.

Does such a business breach ‘anti non-competition’ / ‘anti-trust’ laws?

Doubtful. These are general businesses offering goods and services that are available elsewhere, with comparable access and pricing. If they do discriminate against a specific customer in the provision of goods or serivces, that would be a breach of law.

Does such a business breach equal opportunity / anti-discrimination legislation by preferentially offering employment to one religious group?

Depends on how the law is written, and what the business actually does. If a business states in its employment ad that one must be a Christian, that would, for instance, violate the Victorian Equal Opportunity Act. Of course, most people are savvy enough not to state such a requirement. And then there is the issue of demonstrating in one's complaint that one was denied employment because of one's non-adherence to the business owners' religion. It's rare that an employer would be that obvious.
If they do discriminate against a specific customer in the provision of goods or serivces, that would be a breach of law.

Of course, one of the reasons that this practice gets my gander is that I have had the experience of tenderering for a project, and then getting the distinct impression that I was excluded on the basis of not attending the right church. But, how can you be sure ...

I do also have some inside knowledge of the decision making processes within one of these businesses, as my wife previously worked with one. Certainly that business promotes the sort of selective discrimination that I have referred to. But, as you say, it is not something they are very open about.

I'd be interested to see any stats on the extent to which Christian Businesses deal exclusively with other Christian Businesses, and any analysis of the effects of the economy of such cartel behaviour. Surely it can't be good public policy to allow this?
It would be alright in my eyes if we Atheists were able to have Atheist businesses which intentionally exclude all religion from the employment roster. IE, if you're Christian, you're not allowed to work for the company.

Unfortunately, it would be viewed as religious prejudice if we attempted such... and as such, it is in my opinion against the law for a Christian Business to exclude Atheists and other religions from working for them.

If we exclude them, they sue, if they exclude us, they get a special title for their business... sound justifiable to you? It doesn't to me.
I don't have a problem with networking,and preferential treatment of one's own group may be morally dubious,but a fact of life everywhere of which one needs to be aware.


Lack of identification doesn't bother me:Here,Sanitarium,maker of an iconic and actually healthy Aussie breakfast cereal (Weetbix) is owned by Seventh Day Adventists. It's one of only two breakfast cereals which meet my personal standards,so I'm not about to give it up because I don't like the owners.

The coffee shop chain 'Gloria Jean's' is also owned by some church. I don't patronise that business because I don't eat fast food and rarely patronise any food chain or franchise. Besides,all Australian cities have their own vibrant coffee shop culture.We don't need tacky chains.(as Starbucks discovered to their considerable cost)

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