I interrupt your regular blog post for a rant. Recent events compel me to veer off course a bit, but not that far. The Supreme Court decision we’ve recently all heard about will have far reaching effects on anyone of alternative religions. So here’s my rant, no pictures today. Just let the words sink in.
You’re wrong. You’re all wrong! It’s not about Hobby Lobby. It’s not about contraception. It’s not even about women’s rights (but it is, ultimately). The public rhetoric over this Supreme Court ruling is focusing so closely on the contraceptives issue, the women’s reproductive rights issue and on Hobby Lobby, that the REAL issue is being missed completely! The fact is that this particular ruling is limited to the emergency contraceptive pills and certain IUD’s. Yes, the beliefs of the plaintiffs about those products are wrong. Yes, they are denying reproductive rights to their employees. But this will blow over when so few people notice any difference in what they need covered by their insurance. This will be explained away with the fact the Obamacare will pick up the slack in coverages. But for now, the powers that be want you focused on that, precisely because it’s the fight they can handle. They want you to make this about Hobby Lobby and about birth control, because they don’t want you to notice the one thing about this case that’s REALLY a PROBLEM.
That is that the highest court in our country has just handed down a ruling containing a brand new precedent, one by which every lower court in the country is now bound. That precedent states, for the very first time in US history, that a FOR PROFIT Corporation has RELIGIOUS RIGHTS.
The following are advantages of incorporating, as listed in an article on Entrepreneur.com
- Owners are protected from personal liability from company debts and obligations.
- Corporations have a reliable body of legal precedent to guide owners and managers.
- Corporations are the best vehicle for eventual public companies.
- Corporations can more easily raise capital through the sale of securities.
- Corporations can easily transfer ownership through the transfer of securities.
- Corporations can have an unlimited life.
Honestly, I’ve been following this case for some time. The fact that this happened shocks me deeply. When I read about the fact that the precedent which was being sought, at the heart of the Hobby Lobby case, would establish religious rights for corporations, I assumed that it couldn’t be done. Silly me, thinking our Supreme Court would actually used legally established information to make a decision. The whole POINT of forming a corporation is to separate the individual owners from liability incurred by the corporate entity. So how can it be that the personal religion of the owners now extends to the corporation? On what basis can it possibly be said that a corporation has a religion?? (The exception, of course being a non-profit or church specifically formed to promote its religion and ideals.)
One of the advantages above is regarding ease of transfers of shares. So, if the religious shareholders who established the corporation’s religion sell their shares to individuals of other religions, does the corporation go through conversion? What of the fact that corporations have unlimited life? How can an immortal entity be subject to the tenets of a religion that bases its morality on the idea that there is an afterlife and that’s where consequences lie?
That fact is that all for-profit companies ALREADY DO have a religion. It’s called CAPITALISM and they all worship at the altar of the ALMIGHTY DOLLAR. Note that almost all of the advantages of incorporating, listed above are about gaining more money or protecting the assets of the individual owners.
And yes, this ruling is limited (for now) to “closely held corporations”. Most people seem to be interpreting this to mean private companies. That’s not what it means. The definition of a closely held corporation is that at least 51% of its stock is owned by five or fewer people. There are a number of publicly traded companies which are also “closely held”; Walmart and Koch Industries to name just two obvious bastions of morality. And more than half of the American work force is employed by closely held corporations.
So here’s the REAL slippery slope created by this ruling. Corporations can now, quietly, in the background, in the non-media hyped world of lower courts, begin filing suits based on their claimed religious freedoms. They can file suits affecting individual employees, suits about government regulations from which they feel their religion should be exempt, suits about tax issues, and about Flying Spaghetti Monster ONLY knows what else. It will be small at first, growing incrementally more significant and imposing the religious convictions of some small number of individuals on larger and larger numbers of other individuals until finally someone notices, over the din of media controlled public rhetoric telling us to keep our eyes on the giant, scary, smoke breathing apparition but NOT ON THAT CURTAIN, until SOMEONE notices that we are being completely ruled by incredibly corrupt despot PRIESTS.
End Rant. Have a nice day.