It’s not easy for many Christian ministries to provide desperately needed services and outreaches to their communities and still manage to pay the bills every month.
Many faith-based charities are busy helping the poor, orphans, homeless, hungry and drug-addicted individuals and supporting outreach missions abroad.
That’s why it’s a blessing when Microsoft offers donated products such as Windows 10, Office 365 Nonprofit and other training and resources to nonprofit charity organizations as part of its Microsoft Corporate Citizenship Charity Sales program, which donates $2 million in software every day to charities.
But, according to the company’s “nondiscrimination policy,” Christian nonprofits need not apply for the donated software – that is, unless they’re willing to hire gay, lesbian and transgender employees, a move that such ministries may see as directly conflicting with their biblical beliefs regarding traditional marriage.
Microsoft’s policy offer exclusions for actual churches, which have legally protected hiring exemptions. However, no such protection appears to be offered to faith-based 501(c)(3) ministries – and disqualification from the program could present a financial burden to groups that are unwilling to hire openly gay, lesbian, or transgender employees because the organizations adhere to biblical teachings on homosexuality.
The Microsoft policy states:
“Organizations that engage in discrimination in hiring, compensation, access to training or services, promotion, termination, and/or retirement based on race, color, sex, national origin, religion, age, disability, gender identity or expression, marital status, pregnancy, sexual orientation, political affiliation, union membership, or veteran status other than as allowed by law, are not eligible to participate in this program.”
The company’s “Who’s Eligible” page continues:
“Therefore, organizations are not eligible to participate in the Microsoft corporate citizenship nonprofit giving program if they have a policy or mission of discrimination in hiring, compensation, access to training or services, promotion, termination, and/or retirement based on race, color, sex, national origin, religion, age, disability, gender identity or expression, marital status, pregnancy, sexual orientation, political affiliation, union membership, or veteran status.”
The company boasts that it “donates software, services, and equipment to numerous LGBT civil rights and service organizations,” and that it was “one of the first companies with sexual orientation in its corporate nondiscrimination policy,” a change made in 1989.
In March, Microsoft was one of 379 companies to file a friend-of-the-court brief with the U.S. Supreme Court in support of same-sex marriage just months before the court’s landmark Obergefell v. Hodges decision on June 26, 2015, legally recognizing the unions. Microsoft Corp. is featured on WND’s “Big list of ‘gayest’ companies in America,” as it received a 100 percent rating on the Human Rights Campaign’s Corporate Equality Index.
A media representative who initially said WND’s questions “were in review” at Microsoft noted that the company “feels strongly” about its nondiscrimination policy.
One of the questions WND asked Microsoft: “What about faith-based nonprofit organizations (not churches, but faith-based ministries run by Christians, Muslims, Jews, Mormons, etc.) that do not hire openly gay, lesbian or transgender employees because it goes against their religious beliefs? Are they no longer eligible for this Charity Sales program?”
After WND had actively pursued comment from the company for several days, a Microsoft spokesperson ultimately provided only the following statement:
“The update to Microsoft’s anti-discrimination giving policy, found here: Who’s eligible, provides greater clarity for nonprofit organizations with the addition of the following sentence, ‘The only exception to this policy is for religious organizations that are exempt from laws that prohibit such discrimination.’ In addition, the policy provides further clarification in the accompanying FAQ, which is found here: Nonprofits FAQ.”
Concerned individuals may contact Microsoft.