Are You There God? It's Me, Hobby Lobby.

March 25, 2014

For-Profit Corporation Seeks Protection of its "Religious Freedom"

Today the Supreme Court hears yet another corporate first amendment rights case: Sebelius v. Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc. This case is not about free speech, which has recently captured the outrage of Americans with Citizens United and the pending McCutcheon case. It is about religious freedom.

Who would have thought that we'd see the day corporate lawyers would argue that for-profit corporations can practice spirituality? 

The Greens, who own the chain of 500 arts and crafts stores employing more than 13,000 people, mostly women, are evangelical Christians. They claim their corporation is being discriminated against on religious grounds.

The Greens find fault with the Affordable Care Act (ACA) provision providing contraceptives to women. They have a beef with the morning after pill, claiming it is an abortive, and that their religion prohibits its use. Because of their personal beliefs, the Greens don’t believe their corporation should be forced to provide insurance to their employees, who might access the pill through the coverage for which Hobby Lobby pays.

The Greens have a right to religious freedom, but their corporation does not.

If this case goes the wrong way, an avenue would open to the owners of corporations that would allow religious objections to myriad laws, perhaps even hiring, based on religious convictions.

In the article “Divine Incorporation”, Move to Amend Team member Sabina Kahn takes a more in depth look at the implications of the case.

It is hard to know which idea is more preposterous, that for-profit corporations are spiritual beings and practice religion, that corporations are entitled to Constitutional rights, or that money is protected political speech.

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