The U.S. Supreme Court confirmed that churches and ministries have the right to only hire those who agree with their religious and doctrinal views, but many IT solution providers require churches and ministries to certify that they do not discriminate in their employment or hiring practices as a condition of qualifying for a donation from that provider in the form of a heavily discounted charity license. Let’s talk about software services and what’s changed since the U.S. 2020 election.
Many of us on every side of the political spectrum were surprised to see some things politicized that we never anticipated would be. That includes things like what you could say in the ‘public square’ using tools like Twitter and Facebook. It also includes things like what results search engines would show— or, more importantly, would not show.
Is there a lesson for the church in what we saw? There is, and it directly relates to Matthew 10:16 — I am sending you out like sheep among wolves. Therefore, be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves. (NIV)
Churches and ministries have the opportunity to purchase many software licenses at charity rates, but it is possible to jeopardize some rights otherwise guaranteed to churches and ministries in how that is done! Here’s how to avoid that possibility.
The Church in the World
The Church operates in the physical world, of course, and to do that efficiently, we are wise to use the tools available to help us fulfill our call. We recognize that our message is contrary to that of the ruler of the kingdom of the air (Ephesians 2:1-2). It should not surprise us, then, that some of the providers of the tools we like to use are in opposition to the church and some of its doctrinal positions. This will likely increase in the future.
I have heard from many Christian churches and ministries who are concerned that their data is hosted by a platform that is beginning to act in opposition to their doctrine. Those churches want to move away from those platforms. The current area of major concern is the requirement of many providers to accept their charity license terms, some of which include agreeing not to discriminate regarding employment practices along religious or sexual orientation/expression lines. That is problematic for a large percentage of churches and ministries.
(I am not advocating for any doctrinal positions in this article. I am hoping to bring awareness of an important trend.)
Hiring Practices vs Software Platform Policies – What’s the Problem?
Most churches and ministries want to reach those who do not agree with them religiously or doctrinally. That’s not what the concern is. The concern is whether or not those churches can choose to only hire those who agree with their religious and doctrinal views.
The challenge is that U.S. Supreme Court recognized that churches have the right to only hire those who agree with their religious and doctrinal views. Yet, in order to receive a discounted charity license, many IT solution providers require churches and ministries to certify that they do not discriminate in their employment or hiring practices.