Behind Every Great Fortune . . .

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logo@2xHonore de Balzac once remarked, “Behind every great fortune lies a great crime.” I would like to appropriate his comment in a paraphrase to state “Behind at least one growing fortune likes a great hypocrisy.” Anyone who knows me for long will discover at some point in our relationship I hate three things above all others — cabbage, the New York Yankees, and hypocrisy. I would rather deal with a pathological liar than a hypocrite because at least with a liar, you know what you’ve got. I realize I’ve often been cited as having no filter for my opinions, but I prefer to look at it as letting everyone know where I stand. The reason for this particular rant against hypocrisy has its roots in a “direct sales” party Budge attended just before school was out.

I love direct sales parties. Where else can you make rent money by guilting your friends and your friends’ friends into buying overpriced stuff they will never use while they are under the sway of a glass or two of Bi-Lo wine and surfeit of those little cream filled chocolate eclair poofs from Costco? Personally, I’m a Pampered Chef junkie. I have the ice cream scoop, apple corer, a set of utensils, and a sweet, lime green santoku knife. With direct sales, you know you’re getting huckstered, but that’s okay because you’re going to do the same thing to this same group of people at your next “party.”

Still, I cannot abide hypocrisy and to me the worst form of hypocrisy is that which strives to make money or any other form of gain through the use of reference to the Bible, Jesus, God, or any other type of religious iconography. The company which has attracted my ire most recently for this egregious profiteering is Thirty-One.  Oh, let the hue and cry begin. How can I come down on such a wholesome group? Why, the very name “Thirty-One” is a reference to Proverbs 31; a Bible passage which outlines the graces and superlatives of the ideal woman. However, as the son of a real Proverbs 31 woman and the husband of another, I take offense at Thirty-One’s hypocrisy that appears on the little tags inside every piece of Thirty-One merchandise  which say “Made In China.”

Here is the email I sent the customer service department of Thirty-One after discovering all of the items Budge had bought said Made In China:

Dear Thirty-One:

My wife brought home her recently purchased order of Thirty-One product today and as I was looking over her goods, I found to my great dismay that each item was labeled “Made in China.” I hope an organization like yours, which purports to be founded on “Christian ideals and principles” and mentions the name of God several times in your material would have a legitimate reason for purchasing your products wholesale from the greatest persecutor of Christians since Domitian ruled Rome. Child labor, slave labor, human rights violations by the score AND unyielding persecution and outright murder of Christians are daily facts of life in China yet you do business with them. Please, I beg you, spare me the tired saw of “well, it’s the only way we can AFFORD to sell at the price we do,” because the minute you say that, you are out of the realm of God and into the realm of Mammon.

I don’t have an issue with your company if you want to make money. Making money in all throughout the Scriptures and is a linchpin in the passage of Proverbs the company is named for, but I have serious issues with your company if you are using God like so many politicians today — as a marketing tool — all the while filling the coffers of an avowedly atheistic regime, I don’t mind entrepreneurship but I detest hypocrisy in all it’s forms. Dealing with China is as much a deal with the devil as the nefarious bargain Faust struck himself in Goethe’s masterwork.

There is no reason your textile based products cannot be made in America. Certainly the costs would triple, if not more, but again, I must ask whom do you serve? God or Mammon? I will also grant you this nation of ours is fallen far, far from the “Light Upon A Hill” some of our Puritan forebears wished it to be — if indeed it ever really was — but so far, our government does not openly or covertly execute Christians as “enemies of the state” and that is an extremely important distinction.

Perhaps you buy your items from a wholeseller and didn’t know of the origin of the goods, in which case I would think you are poor businesspeople, but at least not hypocrites. Now you know where the textiles originate so the question remains — what are you going to do about it? Are you going to keep treating with a godless and atheistic nation that persecutes people just for naming the name of Christ — whom you claim to serve — or will you buy your goods from somewhere Christians are free to worship as they choose. It doesn’t even have to be the USA, but it certainly mustn’t be the People’s Republic of China.

For the record, I am not a particularly enthusiastic Bible thumper. I am a political liberal, so don’t get the wrong idea, please.

I hope to hear from you soon.
Sincerely,
Shannon Wham

I sent this email June 1st. I haven’t written anything about it because I wanted the company to have time to explain itself. So far, a month later, all I have received is the following email:

Hello Shannon,

Thank you for contacting Thirty-One Gifts’ Consultant Support! We appreciate your concern about our products. I have forwarded your concerns onto our management department, and they will be reviewing them as soon as they can. Thank you again!

Please contact us again if you have any further questions.

Thank you for giving us the opportunity to help you,

Alycia
Thirty-One Gifts
Consultant Support Representative

I don’t have an axe to grind with Thirty-One. They are trying to make money and let other people have a piece of the pie too. What I have a problem with is they passing themselves off as a wonderfully Christian organization while at the same time buying their goods from China.

Folks, I said what I had to say in the email, but not to put too fine a point on it by way of summary they KILL CHRISTIANS IN CHINA! The government has a very sanitized state run church and its members are generally viewed with suspicion, but to be a member of an underground house church is a death sentence. Knowing this, how can a “Christian Company” with a name taken directly from the Bible have dealings with these people?

Maybe you can answer me in the comments.

Until then, love y’all and keep those feet clean.

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