As the host of Open for Business, I am the last person to be critical of capitalism. After all, without it we’d be… Greece? Portugal? But, as a believer in a higher power, I sometimes find myself at odds between my religious and capitalistic beliefs. It’s a little hard for me to wrap my head around the Son of God dying for my sins on the cross and 20% off at (enter the name of your favorite store here).

Religious Accommodations

I also think its interesting, that the Christian religion in particular, goes out of it’s way to be all inclusive of everyone. For example, devout Christians celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ every December 25th. It’s the most holy holiday in the Christian religion. Yet, on Christmas morning, it was Santa Claus who made the midnight visit and brought all the goodies found under the tree. Most kids know it was Dad in a bad suit from a costume shop.

Today we are entering Easter weekend, where Christians believe, that on the third day, Christ rose from the dead and ascended to heaven. It’s the second most religious day in the Christian religion. Its also the day the Easter Bunny brings eggs(?) and hides them all over the front yard.

So if you are an atheist, Santa Clause and the Easter Bunny still let you cash in on some of the cool holiday stuff, and still maintain your non-belief. Hopefully that will make up, in some small way, for not getting off work for any of the religious holidays the rest of us enjoy. Believing does have some perks. I’m just sayin…

Are profits sinful?

Mark 8:36 – “What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, yet forfeit his soul?” This verse sounds like the merchant is placing profits before his inner self and personal beliefs. Putting the dollar before the deity. But is making a profit sinful? The Golden Rule says, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you?” or as some people feel, “He who controls the gold MAKES the rules.” I would agree with the latter statement.

Who controls the gold?

The answer is very simple; the customer controls the gold. In business, majority rules, and in the marketplace, — the customer is the majority. We used to have what were called “blue laws” in the United States. They were put in place because of one of the Ten Commandments. I will paraphrase it here, “Don’t work on Sunday.” When I was growing up, if you didn’t buy it on Saturday, there would be no place open to buy it on Sunday. You were just out of luck. In Germany most shopping is still banned on Sunday.

So why are merchants open on Sundays today? One by one, cities, counties and states started voting blue laws down. The reason being is customers want to shop on Saturdays, Sundays, and in the middle of the night in some cases. Today’s merchants are simply giving customers what they demand. If it’s profitable to be open business will be. If not then they will not be open. Is there a cost to bear to accommodate these fickle customers? You bet there is. Payrolls, utilities, inventory, just to name a few. Quite frankly catering to the whims of spoiled customers is a pain in the behind for many businesses. I can’t deny that many businesses brought these problems on themselves. But it’s pretty tough to put the toothpaste back in the tube.

The more things change the more they stay the same.

Nothing much has really changed in two thousand years. Business and religion are still butting heads. Trying to co-exist, yet always trying to entice a few possible converts over to their respective sides. Year after year, we keep a running tab on how much was spent on the monetary side of each holiday. Not sure how to evaluate the other side numerically. I suppose, if I can still look at myself in the dresser mirror, while folding my new sale sheets, I’m not too much of a sellout.

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