This Article argues that the proprietors of what the author terms “Christian Business Enterprises” (CBEs) would strenuously disagree with Justice Ginsburg and assert that their express mission is to earn a profit while propagating their religious values. As such, they operate businesses “infused with religion,” where Christian values are interwoven into the very fabric of the company and how the firm relates to its stakeholders, employees, customers, suppliers, and communities.
This Article further demonstrates the rich heritage of religious for-profit businesses throughout American history by focusing on a series of Protestant CBEs that led to today’s CBE giants: Chick-fil-A and Hobby Lobby. This account does not presume to be a comprehensive history of Protestant businesses in America but instead offers a few historical signposts to illustrate the continuity of Christianity’s connection to for-profit enterprises in a variety of forms. As the Article transitions into the twentieth century, it does not discuss any of the thousands of small, local CBEs and neglects entire industries, such as Christian media. This Article fails to adequately address how CBEs have dealt with racial and gender issues, which have been vital to the CBE story; at times, this intersection has perpetuated gender and racial inequalities. No American should face discrimination within the marketplace; however, this Article does not address the ongoing debate over how to balance religious freedom with civil rights. However limited, this Article does demonstrate the close connection between capitalism and Christianity throughout U.S. history. Understanding this connection can help us better contextualize twenty-first century cultural debates over the nature and future of the American marketplace.
Joseph P. Slaughter, The Virginia Company to Chick-fil-A: Christian Business in America, 1600–2000, 45 SEATTLE U. L. REV. 295 (2021).