Court rules Christian homeless shelter must hire non-believers

by Jacob Fuller

Curt Flewelling, FISM News

A Washington faith-based homeless shelter is being forced by the state to stop hiring only individuals that share their religious beliefs. The edict is a result of a recent Washington Supreme Court reinterpretation of anti-discrimination law.

The court’s new view of the law essentially eviscerates a religious employer’s exemption that heretofore allowed such entities to exclusively hire like-minded individuals who share and live out their Christian beliefs. Now Yakima Union Gospel Mission (YUGM) is suing the state over the court’s ruling that could force the organization to hire those who do not agree with a Biblical interpretation of marriage.

After the state supreme court’s recent actions, YUGM can now be subject to significant monetary penalties for being in violation of the Washington Law Against Discrimination (WLAD), which prohibits sexual orientation discrimination in employment. YUGM is now leaving itself wide open to a lawsuit if they choose to only hire individuals whose religious beliefs on marriage and sexuality are in line with the Bible.

Mike Johnson, CEO of YUGM is concerned with these recent developments.

“Religious organizations are free to hire people who share their beliefs. That’s what makes us a religious organization. The functional benefits of that for us as a rescue mission are really important because … we are a community of Christ,” told CBN’s Billy Hallowell.

“We are people relating to each other around the person of Jesus. We love everybody that comes through our doors, but we need our employees to be able to build Christian community with each other, because that’s the essence of what drives change.

The shelter’s ability to function has been hampered by the state’s new interpretation of the law which has led to a hiring freeze. YUGM is now being inundated with applications from individuals who are in disagreement with, and even openly hostile to, the mission’s beliefs on marriage and sexuality. The group recently received an application for a position from a person who said, “the bible is false and that religion is indoctrination.”

This disruption has led the shelter to sue Washington state officials in order to protect its constitutional right to hire employees who share the same religious beliefs. The Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) is representing the YUGM.

“Clearly a Christian mission should not be forced to hire individuals who do not believe in the Bible, but under Washington’s interpretation of its non-discrimination law, it would have to,” senior counsel for ADF Ryan Tucker told CBN.

The state does not seem to be concerned with YUGM’s action, as Attorney General Robert Ferguson told Fox News Digital, “The state routinely defeats ADF in court, and will be seeking an early dismissal of the lawsuit.”

He continued, “My office respects the religious views of all Washingtonians and the constitutional rights afforded to religious institutions. As a person of faith, I share that view.”

ADF’s Tucker is equally confident that his side will prevail in District Court.

“Under the First Amendment, the government doesn’t get to decide who is qualified to share the mission’s Christian message, spread the gospel, or disciple one another. If the mission cannot make sure that all of its employees agree with and live out its beliefs, its Christian message and its very purpose will be contradicted and quite frankly undermined,” Tucker told Fox News Digital.

Editor’s Biblical Analysis

It comes as little surprise to see the high court in a Pacific coast state making this decision. Of course they are siding with the secular, human-centered ideology that has become the god of the postmodern western world over the rights of Christians to authentically live out His mission.

In Washington, and in most of our society, we are living through a clashing of two totally incompatible worldviews. On one side are those who say that God created the universe (Genesis 1:1-2). He gave it order and life (Gen. 1:3-25). He made man and woman in His image and gave them dominion over the earth (Gen.1:26-31). He also warned them of good and evil, right and wrong, and that sin leads to death (Gen. 2:17).

The viewpoint of our seemingly ever-growing secular culture is far different. Secular culture states that either there is no god or that if one — or many — exist, it’s not something worth worshipping. It believes the universe is chaotic and random. It believes that men and women — or nonbinary xe/xems and gender-fluid they/thems — should be created in their own images, however they imagine themselves at this moment. It believes humans should serve the earth, rather than earth serving the needs of humans. And as a natural consequence of the previous beliefs, today’s secular culture no longer believes in any objective right and wrong.

The only evil in today’s secular, atheistic viewpoint is a direct challenge to the licentious ideology and lifestyles to which it leads. There is no sexual sin. All is permissible. The only sin is judging or excluding those living in sexual sin.

Our nation and most of its people need to recognize their sin and the fact that it is separating them from God.

Let us pray that God’s will may come to pass at Yakima Union Gospel Mission. Pray that those in leadership there stay true to God’s Word and living out His mission. Let us pray that our nation turns its eyes to Christ, recognizes its sin, repents of its evil ways, and that we, as a kingdom, will run full speed ahead toward the Kingdom of God in righteousness and truth.

That is the path to life eternal. The other path might seem to have a more colorful view today but it leads to death.