Google says no to God

Or more precisely, Google has said no to organizations that serve in God’s name. So reports the Nonprofit Newswire today and Christianity Today a few days ago.

Google made the decision back in March to exclude churches and other faith-based nonprofits from access to free or discounted software and business products. That’s when the company launched “Google for Nonprofits,” along with new guidelines identifying numerous entities, including schools, political think tanks, churches, proselytizing groups, and any organization that considers religion or sexual orientation in hiring decisions, as ineligible for the program.  It simply took this long for the religious nonprofit community to notice it had been left behind.

Christianity Today reminds us that

While church leaders may be startled by Google’s changes, corporations often exclude faith-based groups from their philanthropic programs or restrict who can qualify, said Lloyd Mayer, a professor at Notre Dame Law School. He said Google is “trying to avoid anything that would reflect negatively on them” by avoiding potentially polarizing causes that might alienate customers.

Such exclusions are generally legal, even if ill-advised, said Stuart Lark, an attorney specializing in nonprofits and religious organizations with Holme, Roberts & Owen in Colorado Springs. But he noted that similar exclusions from public facilities or benefits may be unlawful religious discrimination.

The folks at The Nonprofit Quarterly take a different tack, claiming that churches “are the first ones to exclude those who disagree or challenge their beliefs and those with lifestyles they judge sinful.” In other words, one discriminatory act deserves another — at least as the NQ writer sees it.

What’s your take on Google’s decision? Has your organization felt the impact?

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