Support the Cause by Voting with Your Wallet
One way to support the cause is to vote with your money. What that means is, taking a bit of time to make sure the products you buy come from companies which are at least neutral to the secular cause (e.g. Coach Inc). Even better is when you can purchase from companies which are directly supportive of the cause (e.g. Secular Therapist Project).
To start you off, I've collected an ever-growing list of businesses at the bottom of this article.
For anything not on the list, here are the steps I follow when determining which of two businesses to give my money to.
1. Google for News Articles
First, I look for press about the businesses by searching on Google. For example, let's test Hobby Lobby. Some terms you can search for include:
-hobby lobby religious
-hobby lobby religion
-hobby lobby christian
-hobby lobby republican
-hobby lobby politics
-hobby lobby secular
-hobby lobby atheist
-hobby lobby skeptic
Turns out that Hobby Lobby is definitely not a business that is supportive of the secular cause. To find an alternative, my favorite trick is to type in the name of the company with a "vs" after it, then wait to see what Google Suggest turns up. If that doesn't work, try the company name and the word "alternatives." For example, hobby lobby alternatives.
2. Find Out Who Owns It
If that doesn't turn up anything, the next step is to look into the ownership of the company. This takes a bit more effort, but can often turn up the results you're looking for.
If it's a public company, I start with Google Finance. You can type in the company name there. At the bottom there's a section showing the management of the company:
You can Google each of these executives using the terms above, such as "victor luis religion" to look for clues.
To identify how much of the company the executives own, I then head to MSN Money (you can find a direct link on the side column of Google Finance, under heading "Major Holders"). I switch to "5%" so I can see individuals, then you'll see who owns the most stock:
Private companies are a bit harder. There are paid sites that can help you out, such as Dun&Bradstreet, which is part of Hoovers, and even has a section titled "Who Owns Whom." But going to the library or nearby college to use these tools is a bit more effort than I'd certainly like to make. Instead, I prefer to use Wikipedia. For example, I wanted to know about Godiva Chocolate. At first, I was excited because it's based in New York City, a traditionally secular city. However, I discovered that it has been purchased by a company called Yildiz Holding, which after a Google search turns out to have a reputation for being a conservative Muslim organization, not necessarily known for being supportive of the secular movement. Perhaps there's a better option for spending your money.
What do you do if there is no direct press about the company's stance, nothing shows up about the owners, and/or you can't find much information? The last piece of information I use to decide between two companies is where they are headquartered and employ most of their workforce. If one company is in a more secular state, I choose that company.
Supporting secular businesses is an action you can take while you go about your regular day, and has a small but steady impact on the cause. Best of all, it gives you a sense of peace, knowing that even your everyday purchases are helping the world move beyond religion.
- Secular Therapist Project
- Rational Recovery
- SMART Recovery
- Doctors Without Borders
- Coach, Inc.
Unsupportive (and alternative):
- Chick Fil A (use Popeye's instead)
- Hobby Lobby (use Michael's instead)
- Salvation Army (use Goodwill instead)
- Alcoholic's Anonymous (use Rational Recovery instead)