(Photo: REUTERS/Lucas Jackson)
A nonprofit organization that works to connect Christian consumers with faith-compatible companies has ranked some of the nation's most recognizable brands in its annual Christmas shopping guide.
Faith Driven Consumer's 2013 Christmas Guide includes reviews of 43 different companies. Each company is rated on a five-star scale based on several different criteria: pro-life, marriage and family, biblical sexuality, non-pornographic materials, wholesome entertainment, philanthropy, corporate responsibility and "other."
The pro-life, marriage and family and biblical sexuality criteria are considered more heavily than the others in each company's overall score "because these categories flow from an understanding of how humans bear God's image as male and female," the guide says.
"Faith Driven Consumer's 2013 Christmas Guide is the single best resource for Christian consumers who care about spending their hard-earned dollars with companies that respect their beliefs and values," said Chris Stone, founder of FDC, in a statement. "This rapidly emerging and economically powerful market segment of more than 46 million people are consumers who care deeply about whether the companies they actively shop with welcome their worldview."
The most faith-friendly companies on the list, with four and a half stars, are DaySpring and Hobby Lobby.
DaySpring, a Christian greeting card company, is "bold in expressing its biblical values," according to FDC's review. The company is praised for supporting a variety of charities and ministries, and for maintaining a biblical stance on marriage, sexuality and family, among other things. One negative aspect of the company, according to FDC, is that it gives to United Way, an organization that "indirectly supports" the largest abortion provider in the U.S., Planned Parenthood.
Hobby Lobby, a chain of arts and crafts stores, is praised by FDC for supporting Christian ministries, staying closed on Sundays, playing Christian music in its stores and "courageously" taking a stand against the preventative services mandate in the Affordable Care Act.
Bed Bath & Beyond, Belk, Foot Locker, Kohl's, Lowe's and Michaels are listed just behind DaySpring and Hobby Lobby in the shopping guide with four stars. Abercrombie and Fitch, Nike and Apple are listed as one-star companies, and are described as "strongly leaning against a biblical worldview."
Faith-driven consumers, a subset of the Christian market as a whole, make up about 15 percent of the American population and spend approximately $1.75 trillion annually, according to FDC. Research suggests 64 percent of the market segment is looking for places that are more faith-friendly to shop, the organization reports, and 81 percent will change brands after learning that a company is incompatible with their worldview.