Now With 25% More Jesus
by Noah Lugeons
It’s been almost a decade since I lived in the deep south. It hasn’t changed but I’m discovering quickly that I have. I suppose the pro-Jesus stickers on the shop windows and the biblical passages on the newspaper and the Christ-praise on the menu board and the “Christian Owned” notes on the print ads were there the whole time. And I’m sure I noticed them before. But I don’t recall them pissing me off quite so much.
I’m seeing them everywhere now. Every fourth business I walk into makes it damn clear that they’re Christian. It’s a selling point for them: “Get your taxes done here because we love Jesus more than H&R Block!” And it must be effective or so many businesses wouldn’t be doing it. Sure, they lose my business when I see a big “Jesus Loves You” sticker next to the one that tells me that they accept Discover Card, but obviously I’m outweighed by the people who see the sign and say, “I’d rather support a Jesus-loving dry cleaner than a heathen one.”
But perhaps that view is hyper-capitalist. The bakers who sue for the right to refuse the money of gay customers might get some residual business from fellow bigots, but I doubt that’s the motivating factor. They’re doing it because they hate gay people and their bigotry trumps their desire to make money. If I told a business owner that I was going to take my business elsewhere because of the Jesus sign on the door, he or she would probably be happy to hear it. They would probably rather not cater to a godless spawn of the devil anyhow.
The exclusionary nature of faith somehow remains invisible to a vast swath of the faithful. They actually argue that religion (or more specifically their religion) encourages universal fraternity, fellowship, community, inclusivity… and then they build a wall between themselves and non-believers, members of different faiths, gays, women and the scientifically literate.
So far I’ve kept my mouth shut when I see these “Christian owned business” signs, but eventually I’m not going to be able to. I’ll go up to the proprietor and demand proof that he’s more Christian than the other barber. I’ll ask if he would sacrifice his son as a burnt offering to the lord if so commanded. I’ll ask if he would massacre babies in an armed conquest upon the lord’s decree. I’ll ask if he thinks women should be allowed to speak in public. And if he answers in the truly Christian way, I’ll point out that he’s a sociopathic fuck who shouldn’t be allowed to work with scissors.