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The Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago has issued a decision blocking enforcement of the contraceptive mandate of the Affordable Care Act.

Court Considers Religion, 'Corporate Personhood'

 What makes this particular decision especially interesting is that they used the Citizens United decision of SCOTUS as a legal basis of their findings. They reasoned that since corporations have been found to be persons holding political rights under the terms of the first amendment they must also be considered to be holding religious rights as well. Thus requiring a corporation to provide contraceptive coverage is a violation of the corporate religious sensibilities. Ultimately we will see if the SCOTUS majority that brought us Citizens United are willing to extend their judicial reasoning yet another step too far.

It seems to me that this decision raises major theological challenges for the right wing religious establishment. If corporations are to be viewed as religious persons it would logically be necessary to address their [GASP] morality. One issue that quickly comes to mind is what has traditionally been termed corporate mergers. Surely if these are persons they ought to be married in church with all the trimmings and not living in sin as they do now.

Of course the issue of corporate marriage will make it necessary to address the matter of corporate gender. They certainly can't allow same sex corporations to enter into the estate of holy matrimony. Now just how are they going to tell the difference. I suppose that a marriage between a cosmetics company and a gun company would be ok, but what about two banks? I mean this is serious business!

They will of course need to find a way to baptize corporations so that they can be truly Christians. Can that be accomplished by sprinkling the articles of incorporation? Should the board of directors he held under water for some specified period of time? Now that has definite possibilities.

One thing I think is a safe prediction. It seems very unlikely that the theologians of the right will find it necessary to spend time worrying about moral standards of corporate behavior. They seem to be comfortably established in the notion that God likes greed and rewards those who excel at it.      

Originally posted to Richard Lyon on Sat Jan 12, 2013 at 09:29 AM PST.

Also republished by Street Prophets .

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Comment Preferences

  •  wondered when this kind of thing would (9+ / 0-)

    start happening.

    Looking forward to those gender assignments and weddings.

    Mourning the loss of actual persons' rights.

  •  The article is behind a pay wall. ;( /nt (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Be the change you want to see in the world. -Gandhi

    by DRo on Sat Jan 12, 2013 at 09:36:43 AM PST

  •  Indeed, let's take it further (6+ / 0-)

    Since Corporations have religious beliefs like people, the next question we must ask is "do they have souls" And if the corporations have souls,will they get into heaven if they do not act in accord to moral standards? Only then can we asked about the gender of the corporations marrying one another.

    If only this system we live in weren't such an absurd comedy.

    The main problem is that we live in a society where belief has trumped, and both parties profit from allowing reason and facts to lag behind the triumph of belief.

    •  One of the most obvious (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Joy of Fishes

      problems with the concept of corporate personhood is that real human beings have a finite lifespan.  We eventually die.  Corporations can theoretically live in perpetuity.  What afterlife?

      Things work out best for those who make the best of the way things work out.

      by winsock on Sat Jan 12, 2013 at 10:25:46 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Nice diary, Richard L. (0+ / 0-)

      Unfortunately, I think the religious right will meditate on the moral behavior of the corporate "person" precisely to the same degree that they have addressed the morality of the standard issue soul of the flesh-and-blood person.

      That is to say, as long as said person fornicates with the right people (no same-sex sex, nothing out of wedlock), and accepts as holy writ certain parts of the bible and the complete works of Tim LaHaye, then the religious right will give precisely two shits about the morality of their other actions.

      And the same is true of the corporation. Except for the sex part, because after all, corporate CEOs will be corporate CEOs.

      Nothing requires a greater effort of thought than arguments to justify the rule of non-thought. -- Milan Kundera

      by Dale on Sat Jan 12, 2013 at 11:51:03 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Why corporations are all male, of course. (10+ / 0-)

    And white.

    Whichever corporation is weaker at the time of merger will be assigned the female role.


    I don't blame Christians. I blame Stupid. Which sadly is a much more popular religion these days.

    by detroitmechworks on Sat Jan 12, 2013 at 09:38:19 AM PST

  •  Republished to Street Prophets. nt (3+ / 0-)
  •  Given that some of these boards of directors (12+ / 0-)

    have held the US economy under water for some time now, I have absolutely no problem with holding them under water for a while. Let's baptize them in their own foul effluence.

    What is truth? -- Pontius Pilate

    by commonmass on Sat Jan 12, 2013 at 09:39:42 AM PST

  •  Moneytheism is a natural consequence of (9+ / 0-)

    corporate personhood.

    "Where did I come from?  What is the meaning of existence?  What is my purpose?"


    If we don't revoke revoke corporate claims on rights of natural persons, we'll continue to be craptized.

    Before elections have their consequences, Activism has consequences for elections.

    by Leftcandid on Sat Jan 12, 2013 at 09:47:58 AM PST

    •  "Moneytheism "! (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      That's AWESOME!
      And it fits whit what I wondered above: What make you think that Corporations would be Christian?
      Religion does not automatically mean Christian. Could be Muslim or Jewish, maybe Hindu or maybe some Corporate religion that we've never heard of, strictly for Corporate persons.
      And that different "religion" could be Moneytheism, a sect of Capitalism.

      If I ran this circus, things would be DIFFERENT!

      by CwV on Sat Jan 12, 2013 at 03:15:16 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Next up: Corporate Armies. (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    fixxit, DRo, tofumagoo, Joy of Fishes

    As people, they have the right to bear arms.

    "What could BPossibly go wrong??" -RLMiller "God is just pretend." - eru

    by nosleep4u on Sat Jan 12, 2013 at 09:48:06 AM PST

  •  Does this mean a corporation under the age of (6+ / 0-)

    18 is a minor and requires a guardian?  What about minor-in-possession laws?  We should start busting young corporations that have alcohol on their premises.

    To any wingnut: If you pay my taxes I'll give you a job.

    by ban48 on Sat Jan 12, 2013 at 09:56:15 AM PST

  •  Let me guess....Easterbrook and Posner? (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    DRo, Joy of Fishes, sfbob

    Fucking conservative asshat 7th Cir. judges need to go.

  •  All jokes aside (5+ / 0-)

    There are other problems with this ruling, but the most important one is that it pits the First Amendment Against the First Amendment

    It essentially is placing one set of religious beliefs (those of the owners of the corporation) over those of the workers (their religious belief may include allowing and in fact endorse using contraceptives)

    This ruling is piss poor judicial logic at play and if its upheld would lead to a nightmare in which the rights of some are denied to protect the rights of a corporation. In other words, the rights of real individuals may be curtailed to promote the rights of fictional ones

    This is truly bat shit reasoning on their part if its upheld as far as its internal logic and that of First Amendement law

    •  Yeah, but this could force the silliness of (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      corporate-personhood to a head and force it to be overturned.  It was a dumb-ass supreme-court decision with dumb-ass consequences.  All jokes aside, forcing the issue by suing corporations for violating MIP laws might be the single-best course of action there is.

      To any wingnut: If you pay my taxes I'll give you a job.

      by ban48 on Sat Jan 12, 2013 at 10:18:40 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Or it could not do those things (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Richard Lyon, katiec

        And it could be enshrined into con law that the first amendment rights of the corp are greater than those of individuals

        This was forseeable from their rulins. I made that point when the ruling came out to Adam B, and was told that this was not an issue. Now we see it is. Doesn't mean they will rul the way you want.

  •  Corporate Gender etc. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Sue B, JayRaye

    One of the problems with figuring out the appropriate gender of a corporation is our English language where we do not have gender assigned to nouns. Because Spanish is the closest we have to a second language, it would make the most sense to use that to determine corporate gender. Of course this will provoke outrage from the English-only extremists, but the only other option is to hold a lottery and randomly assign gender to existing corporations, and to flip a coin when new corporate charters are granted.
    This could prove interesting if we do such things as declare that female corporations are only allowed to make 77% of the profits a male corporation in a similar industry does. We could also determine that a male corporation has to register for the draft when they have been in existence for 18 years. Then, if there were some national crisis, the government could conscript that corporation and take it over for the nation's good. Also, corporations would only be allowed to exist as long as the average life expectancy of American men and women.
    If corporations want all the rights of personhood, then let's have them take on some of limitations and obligations of real human beings.

  •  The CEOs already view themselves as god-kings (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    barleystraw, JayRaye

    living off the milk and honey of the dollar and sacrificing their workers to the hungry goddess Profit.  

    Buck up--Never say die. We'll get along! Charlie Chaplin, Modern Times (1936).

    by dizzydean on Sat Jan 12, 2013 at 10:51:31 AM PST

    •  In medieval Europe (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      dizzydean, katiec, marsanges

      there was an alliance between the rulers and the church to reinforce each other's authority. I seriously sometimes think that we are moving in that direction again.

      •  Well, sort of for the medieval piece (0+ / 0-)

        The Church and the secular leaders had many disputes from the Investiture Controversy to the French king (Philip the Fair) abducting the pope and forcing them to move to Avignon.

        I don't think we are heading towards greater religious influence in the US--in fact, I think we'll become more secular as time moves along.  

        Where I think the danger lies is in corporations using legal fictions to further their power.  Given that corps are amoral by nature, any notion of the common good or human dignity is lost on them.  

        Buck up--Never say die. We'll get along! Charlie Chaplin, Modern Times (1936).

        by dizzydean on Sat Jan 12, 2013 at 11:43:44 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  No it wasn't an entirely cozy arrangement. (0+ / 0-)

          What seems to be happening is that we are having an increased level of political conflict between the secular and the religious. People as a whole seem to be becoming less inclined to have their personal lives controlled by traditional religions. However, there is an ideological alliance between the forces of conservative religion and conservative economics. That strikes me as rather medieval in nature as it runs counter to notions of a secular democracy.  

      •  That was the Bush administration in a nutshell. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Richard Lyon

        When we think of the Bush years, we think of the office of faith-based initiatives, we think of the many instances of overheated Christian rhetoric that got overlooked by the administration where it would have jeopardized those churches' tax-exempt status. We think, in short, of an administration that rode evangelical support to electoral victory. (Or, more precisely, near-victory.)

        But it was the corporations that stood to benefit the most from those years. Appointments to the SEC, the Attorney General's office, and other mechanisms of governmental oversight over business were extremely friendly, during those years, to the very business sectors that they were charged with regulating. And the corporate bankrolling of the Bush campaign provided it with the support it needed to keep that Christian rhetoric front and center for eight years, thereby appeasing -- if only temporarily -- the demands of conservative Christians.

        Nothing requires a greater effort of thought than arguments to justify the rule of non-thought. -- Milan Kundera

        by Dale on Sat Jan 12, 2013 at 12:04:32 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Another analogy: The 3rd estate/peasants were (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Richard Lyon

        supposed to support the nobility in  return for the nobility's providing military protection for the population.  That was the theory at least.  The equivalent today is that the 1% are supposed to deserve their outsized income & wealth because they are the "job creators." In both cases there is also an assumption of the moral superiority of the aristocracy/oligarchy.  

        Of course, in both cases the reality was the direct opposite of the theory:  that is,  the 1% were much more predatory than either protective or productive.  

  •  since corporations are now accorded full (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Richard Lyon, Troubadour, sfbob

    legal personhood, should they not be imprisoned for felonies, and subject to execution for capital crimes?

    •  If corporations have personhood (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      then there can be no "crimes" against individuals, for individuals are merely cells in its body.  The only possible crimes are against other corporations of equal power.

      Pour yourself into the future.

      by Troubadour on Sat Jan 12, 2013 at 11:42:18 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  What about if you kill a Corporation? (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        wilderness voice, JayRaye, sfbob

        Buy it, strip it's assets, load it up with debt and force it into bankruptcy, intentionally. Isn't that premeditated murder? That would make Rmoney and people like him killers, right?
        Or what if you bungle it so badly that the company dies, isn't that negligent homicide?

        If I ran this circus, things would be DIFFERENT!

        by CwV on Sat Jan 12, 2013 at 03:21:52 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  And since corporations have a right to exist (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Richard Lyon, katiec, JayRaye, sfbob

    and cannot exist without the labor of individuals, those individuals may be compelled to provide their labor in order that the corporation may survive.  In fact, the freedom of any individual is the slavery of the corporation, and that slavery must end so that True Freedom may be defended.  Moreover, all institutions political or social that interfere with this process must be eradicated. War is peace.  Slavery is freedom.  All Hail The Korporation, Almighty and Eternal!


    Pour yourself into the future.

    by Troubadour on Sat Jan 12, 2013 at 11:39:56 AM PST

  •  if corporations have religious beliefs (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    then who decides what they are?

    The CEO - the Board?

    Or by majority amongst the shareholders, decided every x months....?

    How devout is the corporation?

    can the corporation be a muslim?????

    This really is very silly.

  •  Seems it won't be long until (0+ / 0-)

    you will have to be baptized into the Corporation in order to work for the Corporation.

    Already, where I work (a Corporation owned by a church) on the back of our name tag is "Our" mission statement all about the healing mission of Jesus Christ. Fine for Christians, but not all healthcare workers are Christian.

    Of course, workers do have the choice not to work there, the freedom to go homeless or hungry.

    God Bless the USA, where at least I know I'm free even if the Corporation is more free than me.

    WE NEVER FORGET Our Labor Martyrs: a project to honor the men, women and children who lost their lives in Freedom's Cause. For Dec: Life so cheap; property so sacred.

    by JayRaye on Sat Jan 12, 2013 at 12:19:45 PM PST

    •  Or perhaps the Corporation will be all: (0+ / 0-)

      The Government
      The Church
      The Educational System
      The Prison/Judicial/Law Enforcement System
      & The Media/Entertainment Conglomerate

      ...time will tell

      If there's a reason for the rich to rule, please, Lord tell us why.
                                 -Hazel Dickens

      WE NEVER FORGET Our Labor Martyrs: a project to honor the men, women and children who lost their lives in Freedom's Cause. For Dec: Life so cheap; property so sacred.

      by JayRaye on Sat Jan 12, 2013 at 12:28:10 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Corporations are created by state law and the (0+ / 0-)

    states out to have jurisdiction over the monsters they create.  The idea that a corporation has any of the attributes of a person must be ended.  It is certainly curious how these original intent types on the Court can come up with this stuff.

  •  A LOGICAL EXTENSION (0+ / 0-)

    For anybody feeling outrage over the corporate citizenhood, consider that "the business of America IS business" (Calvin Coolidge 1924) and that "America is ruled by the moral philosophy of the dollar" (Leon Trotsky while in New York 1916)
        Why do we need fresh outrage with each generation? Because nobody bothers to learn the history that the Establishment doesn't want us to learn.
         And so, you historical illiterates, you are simply repeating your outrage until somebody offers you a pay check to think otherwise. And God forbid any of you seek to find out things for yourselves and seek an actual education, something that might actually be passed down so we don't keep saying the same things and doing the same things over and over...
        i'm done with this idiot nation. Best of luck

    "America is ruled by the moral philosophy of the dollar." Leon Trotsky, New York, Dec, 1916

    by runningdoglackey on Sat Jan 12, 2013 at 03:07:17 PM PST

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