Still, the owner, Doug Erickson, insists it is a religious company because, when it was failing and he thought about selling them off, he “gave it over to God” and now it makes money. “Erickson believes that his role as President and majority shareholder of the Dealerships is that of a steward of a business given to him by God and that his employees are God’s children who are entrusted to his care. He regards it as his religious duty to operate the Dealerships in conformity with his religious beliefs,” states the complaint. It also notes that he believes his company is a “marketplace ministry,” meaning he evangelizes to his employees and customers — a fact that I’m sure some of his customers would no doubt prefer to be made aware of before coming to shop.
So is that what it takes to be a “faith-based” organization now? In some ways, it appears that these businesses get the best of all worlds: an ability to proselytize to employees and inject their biblical worldview, but without the onus that true ministries have to actually improve the lot of the poor. Instead, they not only get to build their profit for their own comfort, but receive the benefit of tax write offs for giving parts of those profits to true faith-based organizations, who also then do not have to pay taxes because they are religious organizations and non-profits.
The internet changes so fast that one year online equals about five years in the real world. But the principles of how to start and grow a successful online business haven't changed at all. If you're just starting a small business online, stick to this sequence. If you've been online awhile, do a quick review and see if there's a step you're neglecting, or never got around to doing in the first place. You can't go wrong with the basics.