Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Faith Leaders Opposed To Citizens United - Are They Against Freedom of Religion for Corporations ?

Stand Firm takes on a group of Faith Leaders that seem all concern about the  Citizen United Supreme Court case  and matters that touch on Free Speech. See Shut Up, They Explained .

They do a pretty good job of blowing up some of their arguments.

The Coalition of Faith Leaders say :

...Most recently, the watershed “Citizens United” Supreme Court decision that awarded corporations the same legal rights as people has had the practical result of granting special interests and individuals almost unlimited power to influence elections through massive spending....

.....We are also disturbed by a decision that gives the unique status accorded to human beings, made in God’s image, to corporations. People, not corporations, were made in the image of God....

Let me add a few things.  That Corporations have been viewed as persons as a needed legal fiction  is nothing new See Debunking a Progressive Constitutional Myth; or, How Corporations Became People, Too

Also it is not correct that Corporations after Citizen United have the SAME legal rights as people. For instance a corporations does not have the right against self incrimination as an example.

However this leads us to a problem and one I find these Faith leaders curiously silent on. In fact I find many of them quite hostile too. That is it's not clear that a corporation has any First Amendment rights as to religion. In fact this is something the Federal Govt is arguing in a quite aggressive fashion in the HHS Contraception mandate cases as to any corporation ( and lets recall that includes a good many mom and pop type things) that makes a profit.

The problem of this and indeed the real SPIRITUAL CHRISTIAN travesty of this is talked about a good deal in the this excellent article The Naked Private Square.

When I talk to progressive Christians about this nine times out of ten they seems that there is some separation of Church and business in the Constitution. In fact they seem to almost think this is all theologically sound to boot. As the Naked Private Square shows that is quite a departure from human history where in some cultures there is not even a word for "work".

In their zeal to limit some corporate speech / rights  , and perhaps just some speech they just don't like , these issues should be addressed. Citizens United at the very least might set the stage for allowing the Court to recognize that yes indeed some Corporations ( in reality their flesh and blood owners )  do indeed have rights not to be compelled to leave their Faith at home.

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