Published letter to the editor
Akron Beacon Journal
The claim last week before the U.S. Supreme Court that a for-profit arts and craft corporation, Hobby Lobby, possesses religious beliefs is the latest absurdity in the notion that corporations are “persons” with inalienable constitutional rights.
Hobby Lobby’s owners certainly have a right to religious freedom under the First Amendment, but their corporation does not. As a creation of the state, for-profit corporations are legally separate from their owners.
While certain laws shield religious groups from complying with particular federal statutes, Hobby Lobby is not a religious group or connected to one. The religious beliefs of its owners, who oppose the Affordable Care Act provision for providing contraceptives to women, are not applicable.
A Supreme Court ruling favorable to Hobby Lobby later this year would not only be an assault on common sense, but also an admission that artificial legal entities are spiritual.
It would also no doubt be an assault on a variety of democratically enacted health, safety and civil rights laws protecting people and communities, if such laws violated a corporation’s “religion.”
The bizarre time we live in where money equals speech and corporations are persons would become all the more preposterous if the court concludes that corporations can practice religion.
Northeast Ohio American Friends Service Committee