Skip to main content

In Hercules Industries v. Department of Health and Human Services, the Colorado corporation Hercules argued that the Affordable Care Act's requirement that employer health insurance plans offer family planning violates the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (“RFRA”). Specifically, Hercules argues that RFRA is violated because free exercise of religion is substantially burdened.”

Hercules Industries, Inc. is a Colorado corporation owned by William, Paul and James Newland and Christine Ketterhagen. In reaction to the passage of the Affordable Care Act, Hercules amended its articles of incorporation:

[F]or the past year and a half the Newlands have implemented within Hercules a program designed to build their corporate culture based on Catholic principles. Id. at ¶ 36.  Hercules recently made two amendments to its articles of incorporation, which reflect the role of religion in its corporate governance: (1) it added a provision specifying that its primary purposes are to be achieved by “following appropriate religious, ethical or moral standards,” and (2) it added a provision allowing members of its board of directors to prioritize those “religious, ethical or moral standards” at the expense of profitability.

Hercules moved for a preliminary injunction. In its discussion of this motion, the court stated:

These arguments pose difficult questions of first impression.  Can a corporation exercise religion?  Should a closely-held subchapter-s corporation owned and operated by a small group of individuals professing adherence to uniform religious beliefs be treated differently than a publicly held corporation owned and operated by a group of stakeholders with diverse religious beliefs?  Is it possible to “pierce the veil” and disregard the corporate form in this context?  What is the significance of the pass-through taxation applicable to subchapter-s corporations as it pertains to this analysis?   These questions merit more deliberate investigation. [Emphasis supplied.]
The court continued its opinion with no further discussion of this dispositive issue, and proceeded to grant the requested relief. I will proceed to discuss the omitted question.

Corporations possess a myriad of constitutional rights, including under the First Amendment. In Citizens United v. FEC, the Supreme Court considered the issue of permissible government restrictions on corporate spending on political advertising. The Court stated:

The Court has recognized that First Amendment protection extends to corporations. Bellotti, supra , at 778, n. 14 (citing Linmark Associates, Inc. v. Willingboro , 431 U. S. 85 (1977) ; Time, Inc. v. Firestone , 424 U. S. 448 (1976) ; Doran v. Salem Inn, Inc. , 422 U. S. 922 (1975) ; Southeastern Promotions, Ltd. v. Conrad , 420 U. S. 546 (1975) ; Cox Broadcasting Corp. v. Cohn , 420 U. S. 469 (1975) ; Miami Herald Publishing Co. v. Tornillo , 418 U. S. 241 (1974) ; New York Times Co. v. United States , 403 U. S. 713 (1971) (per curiam); Time, Inc. v. Hill , 385 U. S. 374 (1967) ; New York Times Co. v. Sullivan, 376 U. S. 254 ; Kingsley Int’l Pictures Corp. v. Regents of Univ. of N. Y. , 360 U. S. 684 (1959) ; Joseph Burstyn, Inc. v. Wilson , 343 U. S. 495 (1952) ); see, e.g., Turner Broadcasting System, Inc. v. FCC , 520 U. S. 180 (1997) ; Denver Area Ed. Telecommunications Consortium, Inc. v. FCC , 518 U. S. 727 (1996) ; Turner , 512 U. S. 622 ; Simon & Schuster , 502 U. S. 105 ; Sable Communications of Cal., Inc. v. FCC , 492 U. S. 115 (1989) ; Florida Star v. B. J. F. , 491 U. S. 524 (1989) ; Philadelphia Newspapers, Inc. v. Hepps , 475 U. S. 767 (1986) ; Landmark Communications, Inc. v. Virginia , 435 U. S. 829 (1978) ; Young v. American Mini Theatres, Inc. , 427 U. S. 50 (1976) ; Gertz v. Robert Welch, Inc. , 418 U. S. 323 (1974) ; Greenbelt Cooperative Publishing Assn., Inc. v. Bresler , 398 U. S. 6 (1970) .
There is logic to this view in that a corporation does in fact engage in "speech" of many varieties. However, a for profit secular corporation does not "exercise" religion because it does not hold beliefs. Corporations serves purposes. For profit corporations generally serve the purpose of making money. Again, with regard to political speech, lobbying for favorable laws that best serve the corporate purpose of making money is something for profit corporations would logically do.

Citizens United acknowledged that "The Court has upheld a narrow class of speech restrictions that operate to the disadvantage of certain persons, but these rulings were based on an interest in allowing governmental entities to perform their functions." The question then, as framed by the court was whether the particular restrictions at issue were permitted by the First Amendment. As we know now, the Court ruled they were not permitted by the First Amendment.

However, the concept of a for profit corporation exercising religion is novel, if not unprecedented. It is, to put it charitably, a question of first impression. In the Hercules case, it is a dispositive question and one a court must answer before deciding the questions presented in that case. Remarkably, the court in Hercules recognized this fact and did not discuss much less decide the question.

It is obvious that a for profit corporation does not have views on religion. It is a legal fiction  after all. But might the exercise of religion be a corporate purpose? I suppose one imagine a scenario where a corporation is organized with the primary purpose being the exercise of religion. But Hercules Industries does not present such a scenario. As the court noted, Hercules is "engaged in the manufacture and distribution of heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (“HVAC”) products and equipment." That is what Hercules does. Hercules does not exercise religion.

After the fact, and in response to the passage of ACA, the owners of Hercules have now defined a corporate directive that 'its primary purposes are to be achieved by “following appropriate religious, ethical or moral standards,' and (2) it added a provision allowing members of its board of directors to prioritize those 'religious, ethical or moral standards' at the expense of profitability.'" Does this change cause the Hercules corporation to engage in the exercise of religion? No it does not. Hercules still engages in the exact same activity as it did prior to the adoption of these directives as a reaction to the passage of the Affordable Care Act.

Consider for a moment the logical conclusion to the view, apparently adopted sub silentio by the court, that Hercules is engaged in the exercise of religion. What laws would then be scrutinized for the question of whether they impinged on the free exercise of religion?

We all think of the exercise of religion as a matter of personal conscience. Even Ross Douthat does not cross the bridge that the court in Hercules does:

You can see this confusion at work in the Obama White House’s own Department of Health and Human Services, which created a religious exemption to its mandate requiring employers to pay for contraception, sterilization and the days-after pill that covers only churches, and treats religious hospitals, schools and charities as purely secular operations. The defenders of the H.H.S. mandate note that it protects freedom of worship, which indeed it does. But a genuine free exercise of religion, not so much.
If Ross Douthat does not argue for the exercise of religion by a secular for profit corporation, who might besides the Hercules court? I leave you with one final thought: if Hercules Industries is engaged in the free exercise of religion, would it violate the separation of church and state for the government to do business with Hercules (or any other corporation engaged in the "exercise of religion"?

The expansion of religion into our secular world is a complicated business when we are considering overtly religious institutions. To extend the view to secular for profit corporations will lead to a whole other level of chaos.

NOTE: I am writing solely about the question presented in the title. There are other issues with the decision in Hercules that deserve consideration.

Originally posted to Discussing The Law: TalkLeft's View On Law and Politics on Sun Jul 29, 2012 at 12:13 PM PDT.

Also republished by Street Prophets .

Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags


More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

  •  If that's true, the government might want to (9+ / 0-)

    consider the religious provisions the corporation wants to observe the next time the corporation applies for a government contract that prohibits discrimination. Hercules wouldn't mind if their bid was rejected in that situation, would it?

    -7.75, -8.10; All it takes is security in your own civil rights to make you complacent.

    by Dave in Northridge on Sun Jul 29, 2012 at 12:20:13 PM PDT

  •  Coming soon to a Mc Donalds chapel near you (8+ / 0-)

    But first the Hamburgular Prayer for all those that are hungry.

    Education is a progressive discovery of our own ignorance.

    by Horace Boothroyd III on Sun Jul 29, 2012 at 12:21:14 PM PDT

  •  that's what happens.. (10+ / 0-)

    when you go down the whole "corporations are people" route. What next? They'll be having sex and claiming deductions for childcare.

    This Rover crossed over.. Willie Nelson, written by Dorothy Fields

    by Karl Rover on Sun Jul 29, 2012 at 12:25:54 PM PDT

  •  This didn't strike me as so odd. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Certainly not-for-profit corporations can exercise religious rights (and do all the time), and the distinction between for-profit and non-profit doesn't seem like such an earth-shaking, difference-making divide.  Generally, for-profits can do anything a non-profit can do, so this doesn't strike me as a terribly big deal.  

    And take a hypo: say a mosque sets up a halal operation through a wholly-owned LLC subsidiary (it's very common for non-profits to own LLCs); would it be a violation of the first amendment for the government to pass a law requiring the LLC to, say, process pork products?  I think it would, and I think it pretty clearly would.  

    •  Or, consider a religious company that (0+ / 0-)

      does religious publishing: could a law stand that prohibits a company from publishing the bible, or would it violate the first amendment rights of the publishing company?  It seems like it would, right?  

    •  A for profit (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Occam was an optimist

      corporation does NOT have to seek to make a profit.  A corporation's article's of incorporation can include any goal so long as it is legal. The only problem would come if the director's violated their fiduciary duty - which I don't think is a problem here.

      The bitter truth of deep inequality has been disguised by an era of cheap imported goods and the anyone-can-make-it celebrity myth - Polly Toynbee

      by fladem on Sun Jul 29, 2012 at 01:16:21 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  WTF? (9+ / 0-)

      The laws that come into play aren't dealing with products or services. They concern the employees working for the company. The main question is does a for profit company have the right to deny it's workers benefits and compensation based on the religious beliefs of the owners?

      My answer is a resounding NO! The slope is too slippery and too dangerous to go down. In this day and age it shouldn't even be a question.

      All of these latest attempts by christianists to be exempt from providing equality in the workplace is a direct response to fundies' issues with abortion, birth control, the reproductive rights of women, and marriage equality. The health and civil rights issues facing American workers shouldn't be decided by religious bigots just because they own the store.

      Not this mind and not this heart, I won't rot • Mumford & Sons

      by jayden on Sun Jul 29, 2012 at 02:38:09 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Could you pick something where the (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      govt would maybe have a legitimate governmental interest for your example. It would help.

      That, in its essence, is fascism--ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power. -- Franklin D. Roosevelt --

      by enhydra lutris on Sun Jul 29, 2012 at 04:14:09 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  My secret wish is that as a number... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    jayden, Karl Rover, ichibon

    of businesses adopt a "we may have a future moral objection" to abiding by that law, it becomes totally UNTENABLE to distribute access to public health through taxpayer advantaged employer plans.

    Imagine if you had to buy your car insurance through your employer and had them picking over your driving record.  

    No one would stand for that crap!

    Imagine if you had to buy your home owner's policy through your employer and they got to pick over statements about improvements you made to your property.  

    No one would stand for that crap!

    •  Nobody has to buy their health insurance (0+ / 0-)

      through their employer afaik. Let's say your union (what?) has negotiated health care as part of your salary. Simply don't use it, and go buy your own as an individual on the open market.

      That, in its essence, is fascism--ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power. -- Franklin D. Roosevelt --

      by enhydra lutris on Sun Jul 29, 2012 at 04:17:23 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  a) snark, b) you don't live/work in the US nt (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        enhydra lutris
        •  Yep, I live in the US and worked here (0+ / 0-)

          my whole working life. Most of my employers did not provide insurance. I could neither buy it from or through them. My final employer did offer participation in their group medical plan as an optional component of my pay, and I jumped upon that offer because the cost of individual coverage is so enormous, but I was not forced to do so by anything except economic prudence.

          Yes, ther is some snark in the original, but it is not completely snark. The government has passed no laws requiring employers to provide or even offer health insurance and none requiring employees to take or buy it. Many employers do, all the same, ofer it or even just automatically include it in one's compensation (without scrutinizing the employee's medical history), but anybody who wishes better insurance can go buy some providing they have the wherewithal. The comment to which I was replying was divorced from reality.

          That, in its essence, is fascism--ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power. -- Franklin D. Roosevelt --

          by enhydra lutris on Sun Jul 29, 2012 at 04:42:36 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  It's a wish that the issue of religious... (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            enhydra lutris

            "exemptions" for some businesses to skirt whichever part of the law they want to quibble with, will EVENTUALLY lead to a complete rejection of the mechanisms by which they have acquired de facto rights to peer into private decisions of their employees.

            The ACA/religious persecution bruhaha is bringing all kinds of righteous snoops out of the woodwork.  

            I think this might be good for democracy in the long run as the religious assholes who happen to own/operate businesses  show themselves so we can all vote with our feet.

            Concede that a right to privacy protection from one's employer is somewhat separated from current reality thanks to religious entitlement, compensation structure, and tax law.

            •  The case being discussed has issues about (2+ / 0-)

              exemptions, because one of the basic premises of the decision is that the gummint may not argue that it has an urgent and overriding need for X if it gives exemptions to the regulation or law asserting that overarching need. In this case, the proof of overwhelming need despite religious claims of individuals running a secular corporation was said to be weakened because of exemptions given to the Catholic church, houses of worship and certain church tied institutions. What this will do is make sure there are no exemptions of the kind heretofore made, if this legal mess is upheld.

              Which is doubtful. Another thing the opinion said was that although SCOTUS was said to have strongly narrowed one of the rules required to give preliminary injunctions, the Tenth Circuit had not yet concurred in that opinion so he was following the Tenth Circuit, and not even analyzing or distinguishing the SCOTUS case. Oops.

              •  I hope "urgent and overriding need" for access (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                enhydra lutris

                wins the day, so that individuals can make their OWN informed decisions about their healthcare, with the help of their doctor.

                I just think that is an organization can't deliver the full range of advertised services than it's false advertising.

                For example pharmacies that claim religious exemptions should be required to register as a "limited" pharmacy or a "partial" pharmacy, etc. so that customers can easily identify which pharmacies are truly full service.

          •  For many if not most employees (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Occam was an optimist

            passing up employer-offered insurance means they are unable to have any insurance. The "choice" you are claiming is no choice at all. It is a death sentence for many not to be able to afford health care because private policies like the one you were glad to accept from your employer cost several times as much as if they had been able to do what you did. Your premise is also one that is divorced from reality, just as when Republicans say that cutting off food stamps from poor people will just mean they'll go out and buy their own food instead of mooching off the government.

            The idea that women could be denied reproductive health care because an employer believes it is immoral to provide it is entirely conceivable. You're okay with that?

      •  I noticed you didn't bother to respond to the main (0+ / 0-)

        point. Care to read for comprehension and try again?

        Imagine if you had to buy your car insurance through your employer and had them picking over your driving record.  

        No one would stand for that crap!

        Imagine if you had to buy your home owner's policy through your employer and they got to pick over statements about improvements you made to your property.  

        No one would stand for that crap!

        •  Imagine if your employer controlled and limited (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          enhydra lutris

          your seed choices, and packaged it up as part of your compensation.  The only other markets are locked up by Monsanto and ADM.

          In order to grow your own food in your small backyard garden you could choose

          1) the budget plan, which for a mere $200 per seed pack, provides seed for beans, peas, radishes, corn, and broccoli;  enough seed for one 5 foot row of each.


          2) the $1000 deductible plan under which you could choose any 8 of the following seed packs:  beans, peas, radishes, corn, broccoli, cauliflower, tomatoes, strawberries, carrots, squash, and parsley.  Seeds for grapes, chives, onions, potatoes and any other vegetables that are easy to propagate, and all perennial herbs are excluded because the profit margin is too low.  Seed packs in this plan provide enough seed for a 50 foot row of each, but your garden is only 20 feet.  You still get charged $200 per pack and have to pay out of pocket for the first 5 packs.  Unused seeds do not last through to the next season.  


          4) the cadillac plan covers all of the above, with as much seed as you need, packaged in whatever size you need to match the size of your garden and you can freely substitute another seed supplier that has something not available through this plan.  Further this plan gives you access to top quality mulch, compost and gardening advice whenever you need it.  

          The only catch is that it counts for 25% of your compensation, for which your employer receives a tax break.  You hate your employer but can't leave for a better job without giving up your ability to provide for your family by growing food in your own garden.  And you live in a flood prone area and the plan provides for produce vouchers in the event of a weather related loss for any of your produce.

          OK, maybe I've gone on a tirade.  It's not my problem, but I think this is what many workers in America currently face with respect to access to healthcare.  All of their practical choices just suck.

          Price discovery is almost impossible, the profit motive has distorted the market, and bad tax policy incentivises employers in preverse ways, such that choices that provide cheap long-term value are not included in ANY of the plans.

          •  Total disconnect from reality, just like the (0+ / 0-)

            prior "imagine" stuff. Leave "imagine" to the Beatles, they do it better.

            That, in its essence, is fascism--ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power. -- Franklin D. Roosevelt --

            by enhydra lutris on Sun Jul 29, 2012 at 07:28:56 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  You Left Out Something, I Think (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Occam was an optimist

            Imagine further that the seeds obtained from the mature plants you have grown are sterile, the plants being hybrids. That means not only is the game fixed, you can't get out of it.

            "Facts are meaningless. You could use facts to prove anything even remotely true." -- H. Simpson

            by midnight lurker on Mon Jul 30, 2012 at 09:48:02 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Agree, and the analogous thing to sterile seeds is (0+ / 0-)

              any mechanism that effectively prevents price discovery for products and treatments that have proven long-term health benefits.

              And all the complex arbitrary rules means that many policy holders don't even access things that are covered.

              Sustainable healthcare might be possible when health insurance is decoupled from business management and tax policy.

        •  There is no main point there, simply two (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Occam was an optimist

          "imagine some farfetched shit", which, in the context of a diary relating to ACA, I took to be piss poor analogies to the health case status quo (since they clearly are even further off base from the ACA). That is what I replied to.

          That, in its essence, is fascism--ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power. -- Franklin D. Roosevelt --

          by enhydra lutris on Sun Jul 29, 2012 at 07:27:52 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  OK, calm down, I thought it was obvious that I (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            enhydra lutris

            agreed on the central point - Employers have no duty, nor should they be required by law to provide any health insurance products to their employees.  

            It's a collossal mess if you ask me.  

            At some point in the past it must have made sense, but that time has long since past.  I'm not quite sure why we are still putting up with such an inefficient system that sucks up so much time for everyone involved.

            •  The original idea, which worked, BTW, (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Occam was an optimist

              was to get more citizens covered by health insurance. They made employer contributions to employee health care plans tax exempt to the employees, correctly figuring that unions and other employees would lobby to receive part of their compensation in this form. It became quite widespread. Shitloads of people got insurance and got it more cheaply than they otherwise could have.

              Now it is a problem largely because you lose your insurance if you quit and the insurance companies pull that pre-existing condition shit.

              That, in its essence, is fascism--ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power. -- Franklin D. Roosevelt --

              by enhydra lutris on Mon Jul 30, 2012 at 11:35:24 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Yes, I agree the pooling and spreading of risk (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                enhydra lutris

                is the whole premise behind keeping insurance premiums affordable and matched to a product that provides value.

              •  But it became a way to steal part of earned (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                enhydra lutris, peregrine kate


                IT = employer negotiated insurance.

                It worked at first because people generally stayed for a long time with the same employer.  So there wasn't much demand for portability when changing jobs because people didn't change very often.

                But once it was widely adopted it morphed into a tax-advantaged profit extraction practice, wherein an insurance company extracted more and more of the workers' earned compensation while they are relatively healthy and working, and paying little out in claims.

                But NOW insurance companies are enabled BY LAW to deny benefits 18 months after that worker leaves that job - for any reason.

                If the current system of employer mediated insurance is so good - why can't there be a law extending COBRA as long as the former employee wants to stay on it.

                Then we might start to see a truly competitive market for insurance products.  A new employer's plan would have to be competitive or the person would reject what they are offering as reasonable compensation.

  •  Thank you for an informative diary. I'm curious. (0+ / 0-)

    What industry/sector is this company in?

  •  Are not corporate charters approved by (8+ / 0-)

    the state in which they are authorized?  Are not establishments of religion corporations, artificial bodies composed of individuals with a common purpose and interest?
    Why employers are being tasked with providing medical insurance is questionable from the get-go.  Fact is that our public corporations (nation and states) have abrogated their responsibilities and obligations to provide for the general welfare and delegated them to non-governmental agents, whom it is almost impossible to hold to the standards outlined in the Constitution.

    The bottom line is that our legislators, at all levels, chafe under the obligations and duties they have agreed to carry out. What they prefer is to give orders and dole out favors to their supporters, 'cause that's where the power lies.  Instead of recognizing that "limited government" means they are bound to carry out directives and nothing more, they prefer to argue that their obligations are minimal (to employ military force) and their rule is sovereign. Universal suffrage calls those assumptions into question and makes it very difficult for them to wield sovereign authority over anyone.  Which does not keep them from trying and going after women, migrants, children, gays in turn to show how important they are.

    Legislators could demonstrate their powers vis a vis private corporations. But, they're reluctant because they have so much in common.

    Willard's forte = "catch 'n' cage"

    by hannah on Sun Jul 29, 2012 at 12:35:04 PM PDT

  •  This is the beginning of the end for employer (4+ / 0-)

    -sponsored health insurance.

    It may be painful in the near term but these businesses that are raising moral objections are actually ADVERTISING THAT THEY ARE NOT MORALLY CAPABLE of serving the most basic health needs of their employees.

    They may think they have an easy upper hand, and at the moment they do.

    But they are jettisoning what used to be a tax advantaged form of compensation, because it looks easy to them.

    My prediction is that when people experience portability of their benefits, people will not want to go back, and then companies will have to adjust compensation in a way that is easier to assess BEFORE you accept the job.

  •  I've often thought about this subject (6+ / 0-)

    Usually when I do it's in the context of framing corporations as godless heathens. The next step is equating them to satanic edifices who ultimately serve only the dark master.

    After getting that frothy mixture going I like to present it to those on the far religious right and demand that they justify their support of satan.

  •  Can a corporation (6+ / 0-)

    Express itself sexually?  I'd like to see that.  Porn video companies might wat to explore their corporate form, if you know what I mean.  

    ‎"Find out just what any people will quietly submit to and you have the exact measure of the injustice and wrong which will be imposed on them." --Frederick Douglass

    by Nada Lemming on Sun Jul 29, 2012 at 12:43:27 PM PDT

  •  What if a corporation decided occupational (7+ / 0-)

    safety regulations or product safety regulations were against "the corporation's" religion? Is there a violation of "freedom of religion" here?

    "Mistress of the Topaz" is now available in paperback! Link here:

    by Kimball Cross on Sun Jul 29, 2012 at 01:03:34 PM PDT

  •  Easy way to break them: Fundies hate Catholics-- (4+ / 0-)

    Scare them with what they are most afraid of about Catholics--"worship" of Mary, the subservience to the Pope, the belief that all other Christian denominations are heathen blasphemers and that they're all going to Hell--that sort of thing, and encourage them to boycott a "Papist" company.

    "Nothing in all the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity." --M. L. King "You can't fix stupid" --Ron White -6.00, -5.18

    by zenbassoon on Sun Jul 29, 2012 at 01:25:58 PM PDT

  •  If a corporation has the right to exercise ... (4+ / 0-)

    religious freedom, and its religion says to hire only co-religionists, wouldn't that make the legal prohibitions against religious discrimination in employment unconstitutional?

    Bin Laden is dead. GM and Chrysler are alive.

    by leevank on Sun Jul 29, 2012 at 01:53:34 PM PDT

  •  Will they worship the magic underwear? (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ichibon, Occam was an optimist

    If Bain buys them out?

    •  Can we stop the "magic underwear" references? (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      It's just plain and simple prejudice against Mormons.

      I don't have a problem with Mitt Romney's religion.  I do have a problem with the fact that he appears to be a really lousy excuse for a human being -- a fact that has nothing to do with Mormon temple garments.

      Political Compass: -6.75, -3.08

      by TexasTom on Sun Jul 29, 2012 at 03:56:24 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  So, tell me..... (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        Let's say Hercules Industries got bought out and assimilated into a larger corporation, say one predominantly owned by......Muslims.

        Will Mr. & Mrs. Hercules:

        A) Be people of their word n' accept the word of Allah like their employees would have to for them and their religion.

        B) Lash out the f&kin' hypocrites they are protecting their "freedom of religion", like they would do if it were Mormons, Jews, Hindus, Atheists, or the dam Spaghetti Monster. Since their favorite motto is always: "Religious freedom for ME, not for THEE."

        No, my joke isn't directed at people worshiping sparkling undergarments, aliens in the sky, or a yummy Italian dinner w/ Ragu.

        The joke is they believe their money, property, and ownership gives them permission to trump all other faith and liberties. Faith by money, a very dangerous precedent......And I'm not laughing.

  •  First link broken? (0+ / 0-)

    Viewing source it's just /a href=""\  (replace slashes with angle brackets)....?

  •  Well of COURSE it can! It's "people," my friend. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Occam was an optimist
  •  First Amendment (3+ / 0-)

    Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion,

     Corporations come into being by laws passed by the congress of the states

    By the constitution they can not respect the establishment of religion

    •  also (0+ / 0-)
      Thus the RFRA was ruled unconstitutional for state and local applicability; however, it still applies to the federal government.[5] The Act was amended in 2003 to only include the federal government and its entities, such as Puerto Rico and the District of Columbia.[9] A number of states have passed so-called mini-RFRAs, applying the rule to the laws of their own state, but the Smith case remains the authority in these matters in many states.[10]
  •  A first thought. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Occam was an optimist

    If the question is answered in the affirmative, could then a corporation be considered exempt from taxation?

    Or is that just a ridiculous notion?

    •  Most exempt organizations are (0+ / 0-)

      corporations, as are most churches.

      That, in its essence, is fascism--ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power. -- Franklin D. Roosevelt --

      by enhydra lutris on Sun Jul 29, 2012 at 04:26:02 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  IIRC Amish businesses can be exempted from Social (0+ / 0-)

      Security/Medicare taxes because insurance is against their religious convictions.

      So for their Amish employees they don't collect, but if they have non-Amish employees then they have to collect the social security tax through pay-roll deduction.

      In other words - the employee's lack of concordance with the employer's religious convictions TRUMPS the religious exemption from adhering to the law.

  •  Corporations are creatures of state creation. (7+ / 0-)

    Once upon a time their charters were granted only by the passage of special bills. Now the authority is usually vested in a Secretary of State. But with that said, I see a potential First Amendment issue in allowing corporations to have religious purposes, especially if they are contrary to laws of general effect. In order to avoid that constitutional issue, the Judge should have denied the injunction and dismissed the suit.

    (See what I did there?)

    Ok, so I read the polls.

    by andgarden on Sun Jul 29, 2012 at 03:34:48 PM PDT

    •  xanthippe2 offered the abbreviated version (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      xanthippe2, blueoasis

      in a comment above.

      I agree, it really should be that simple and the suit should have been dismissed on Constitutional grounds.

      Not this mind and not this heart, I won't rot • Mumford & Sons

      by jayden on Sun Jul 29, 2012 at 03:40:50 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Citizens United and the Montana followup (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Occam was an optimist

      seems to have eliminated the ability of the state creating a corporation to limit its personhood rights or decree what corporatations in the state's boundary may or may not do. The Montana case is the reall problem.

      •  Presumably a state can choose not to have (0+ / 0-)

        corporations, but it probably can't keep out foreign corporations who wish to speak. The prospect of all states abolishing corporations is an interesting hypo.

        Ok, so I read the polls.

        by andgarden on Sun Jul 29, 2012 at 08:57:38 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Not quite the point I was making. States can (0+ / 0-)

          determine what rights their corporations may or may not have, as part of their determination of what a corporation organized in their state can do. This does allow distinctions between religious corporations which have certain different tax positions and secular commercial corporations like Hercules. The question that may have been decided in the Montana version of Citizens United is whether all corporations in fact are persons no matter what they are incorporated to do, and have those general rights that those with feet in shoes have, once they exist at all.

  •  Maybe we are looking at this the wrong way.. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Occam was an optimist

    Employers do not 'give' health insurance.  Employees EARN it as part of their wages.

    If that is so then don't we have a right to do what we want to with our wages? Didn't the Supreme Court rule that what you do with your wages was protected as free speech?

    Just saying.

    Glenn - Who cuts your hair and why do they hate you? (Jon Stewart)

    by veruca60 on Sun Jul 29, 2012 at 07:53:53 PM PDT

    •  This is an interesting argument... I think there (0+ / 0-)

      would be a simple change in law that might open up a
      competitive insurance product market.

      All that's required is to extend COBRA for as long as the ex-employee wants it to extend, instead of expiring at 18 months (most states) or 36 months (CA, I believe).

      That way employee's could choose to stay on their prior plan or switch to the new employer's plan.  The new employer's plan would have to be competitive or employee's would reject that part of their compensation and should then be paid in cash.

    •  And another rip off is when an employee opts out (0+ / 0-)

      of a crappy insurance plan offered by their employer, why isn't the employer required the pay the compensation in wages?

      As currently structured, the employer gets to steal part of the employee's compensation.

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site