On Tuesday, March 25, the Supreme Court of the United States heard oral arguments concerning Sebelius v Hobby Lobby, Inc., representing yet another stop on America's arduous journey toward advancing stronger rights for the corporate person than the human person. The case centers around what are contented to be two contradictory federal statutes (the Affordable Care Act and the Religious Freedom Restoration Act).
Hobby Lobby contends that its objection to IUDs and the morning after pill is firmly based its owners' sincerest of Christian religious beliefs (there are
of pages in the Bible citing God's opposition to contraception), and that, therefore, the Affordable Care Act, which requires employers to provide insurance which covers those items, violates Hobby Lobby's religious liberty, as laid out in the Religious Freedom Restoration Act and First Amendment.
The Supreme Court's decision could make it so that corporations, legal entities designed to aggregate capital and shield owners from direct personal liability, are persons to the point where they get the same right to speech as human beings, and the same right to worship whichever God in whichever way they please.
There are a few things to worry about here: 1) Is the corporation becoming more of a person than the human being? 2) If the Supreme Court gets filled with conservatives from the south, what is to stop it from allowing the corporation to abandon every any regulation it feels violates its God-given rights?
This is just another ploy to squeeze people for more and more behavioral control.
As ThinkProgress Justice editor Ian Millhiser pointed out
, if Hobby Lobby wins this case, it will very clearly run into a problem of allowing corporations to abandon any and every regulation to which it can claim is a strongly held religious belief.
When Clement tried to deflect this list, Kagan came armed with an even bigger what. What of religious employers who object to gender equality
, or the minimum wage, or family medical leave, or child labor laws? If the Supreme Court agrees with Hobby Lobby’s brief, which argues that laws burdening a corporation’s purported religious faith must survive the “most demanding test known to constitutional law
,” then there would be few laws corporations could not exempt themselves from following.
Ladies and Gentlemen! Let me introduce to you a nifty little book (a bestseller!): The Bible. (Notice how my tongue is, like, practically through my cheek here).
However, you may purchase male or female slaves from among the foreigners who live among you. You may also purchase the children of such resident foreigners, including those who have been born in your land. You may treat them as your property, passing them on to your children as a permanent inheritance. You may treat your slaves like this, but the people of Israel, your relatives, must never be treated this way. (Leviticus 25:44-46 NLT)
When a man strikes his male or female slave with a rod so hard that the slave dies under his hand, he shall be punished. If, however, the slave survives for a day or two, he is not to be punished, since the slave is his own property. (Exodus 21:20-21 NASB
So, let's say that I am the sole owner of a corporation in Texas. I buy a few slaves from some Mexican drug cartels. I have at least two verses of the Bible to which I can point and claim my strong religious beliefs. Not taking slaves would be abhorrent in the eyes of God, per my understanding of the Bible, which I hold sincerely. Does my corporation's personhood trump the personhood of the slaves I have "purchased?" Which amendment, the first, or the thirteenth, will trump the other? Is my religious freedom more valuable than freedom from slavery? Should my corporation be forced to ignore its strongly held religious beliefs just so that a few human beings can maintain their ontological status as human beings? Or does my corporate metaphysical personhood transcend the real and place us above and beyond the natural fray of morality?
Alright, I know that the RFRA only makes it so that the court is supposed to apply strict scrutiny to laws which interfere with a person's religious freedoms, and that the Thirteenth Amendment holds far greater weight than the RFRA. But it goes to stress the absurdity of the idea that a corporation has the same religious rights as a human being. If a corporation wants a religious identity, it should register as a church.
If Hobby Lobby is to win this case, and the Supreme Court rules that its sincerely held religious objection to four forms of birth control outweighs the individual's right to affordable, quality reproductive healthcare, there will be no end to the amount of regulations which corporations can then deny on the grounds of religious sincerity.
Good news for child-beaters, private schools, and day-cares:
Proverbs 23:13-14 (ESV)
Do not withhold discipline from a child;
if you strike him with a rod, he will not die.
If you strike him with the rod,
you will save his soul from Sheol.
So, private schools could cane your kids, because they believe it will save them from the depths of Hell. Day-cares too! Why not your local McDonalds when your ten year old is squirting ketchup packets in the play area and you're too busy playing Flappy Bird to do something about it? McDonalds is just like, "look, if you don't watch your kids and they misbehave in our restaurant, that shows us that the kid is going to Hell. We want to save your kids from hell, so we beat them with the rod we use to beat our 14-year-old part-time employees.
God Bless America!
2:28 PM PT: I re-read my post, found that my message was unclear and revised it.