Google waves a big middle finger at wasteful, discriminatory groups…otherwise known as 'churches'

Bwahahaha!!!  God must truly love me to send me a wonderful story like this.

For years, the search and software giant individually offered some of its products—including its office software and popular Gmail—for free or discounted use to qualifying nonprofits. Eligibility requirements varied by product, but churches and faith-based groups were welcome to use some.

All of that changed in mid-March when the company launched “Google for Nonprofits.” The new initiative united a robust set of Google’s tools into one program, but it also came with new guidelines that excluded numerous entities, including schools, political thinktanks, churches, proselytizing groups, and any organization that considers religion or sexual orientation in hiring decisions.

Yup – if you won’t hire a gay person just because they’re gay, Google just told you to get bent and cough up some of that tax-free money if you want to use their software.  I freaking love Google.

If you’re determined to be a cabal of bigots, then there should be social penalties.  Of course, Living Hope Baptist Church doesn’t see it that way.

Young had originally planned to unify 50 paid staff members and 270 volunteers with customized Gmail and office software; distribute video of Sunday services through a premium YouTube channel; beam live feeds of faraway missionaries using Google Video; and map locations of service projects and missionaries with Google Earth. He expected the 3,000-member church would also use Google AdWords (up to $10,000 worth) included in the program.

“There were so many things for nonprofits that were going to benefit us,” said Young. “We just wanted to use them.”

Disappointed by the rejection, Living Hope scaled back its plans and paid $2,500 ($50 per user) to use Google’s office software and Gmail for one year. Young is happy with the products, but also unhappy that he’ll have fewer capabilities—and fewer remaining budget dollars to aid his church’s social ministries.

Fewer remaining dollars for the church’s ‘social ministries’?  Oh no!  I popped by their web site to see what their social ministries entailed.  I started by clicking the ‘giving to others‘ tab to find a running total of the global population along with a total of people who haven’t heard the gospel.  You can sign up for mission trips to help spread Christianity to impoverished regions.  Under gift for Christ week, you can see where almost all of their social ministry money goes (hint: it rhymes with broselytizing).  There’s also a focus group to reach out to West African countries like Mali and Niger.

The Songhai live across West African countries like Mali and Niger.  Living Hope partners with IMB missionaries in Niger to reach out to the Songhai.  Less than 2% of the country are believers in Jesus Christ.

Niger consistently has one of the lowest ranks of the United Nations’ Human Development Index.  Presently it is 167th of 169 countries.  Mali is 160 out of 169 and has a life expectancy of 49.2 years, largely due to starvation.  Yet, thanks to the influence of religious thinking, here’s a well-funded, large group of people that thinks the main problem with these areas is that less than 2% of the population thinks a dude walked on water 2,000 years ago.

The message is clear: if you wanna do this shit and use Google apps to organize it, you get to do it on your slimy-ass dime, not Google’s.  Churches with FUBAR’d social priorities like this are the opposite of rare, and it’s time they started getting called on this bullshit.

Also, when religious people cite wasteful shit like this when they preen about Christian charity, it makes me want to beat them over the head with reality that much harder.

Thanks to SSA Events Specialist Sarah Moglia, not god, for the story.

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About JT Eberhard

When not defending the planet from inevitable apocalypse at the rotting hands of the undead, JT is a writer and public speaker about atheism, gay rights, and more. He spent two and a half years with the Secular Student Alliance as their first high school organizer. During that time he built the SSA’s high school program and oversaw the development of groups nationwide. JT is also the co-founder of the popular Skepticon conference and served as the events lead organizer during its first three years.


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