York Daily Record, Pa., Mike Argento column
|By Mike Argento, York Daily Record, Pa.|
|McClatchy-Tribune Information Services|
He was upset because, he wrote, as a Christian, he did not condone gays and he felt that, by working there, he was being forced to honor something that he believes shouldn't be honored. He wrote, "I hold no hatred or animosity for gays but I do not and cannot celebrate or condone this Ideal. ...This is offensive to me as it will appear that all employees embrace this Ideal. We celebrate one
I'm being purposely vague about the guy and his employer because he feels he may face repercussions for speaking out on the issue -- a possibility, I suppose. He has the right under the First Amendment to express his opinions -- a right, to paraphrase Voltaire's biographer, we should defend to the death -- but the corporation that owns the business also has First Amendment rights that may trump his rights, at least according to the
Which brings us to the Supremes' ruling in the case involving
By its usual 5-4 vote, the court ruled, essentially, that corporations, like human beings, can hold religious views.
That comes as a surprise to many of us who believe that corporations are large, faceless, soulless entities specifically designed to make tons of money while evading any responsibility for their actions.
It raises a lot of questions. Where do corporations go to church? How to they fit in the pews? Do they tithe, putting stock options in the collection basket? (Sure, they do.)
It seems silly to even consider that corporations can hold religious beliefs. Although, as comedian
And it raises a lot of questions about what happens now.
The court's majority opinion claimed that the ruling was narrow, applying only in this case, as if the highest court in the land were the same as a district justice ruling in a landlord-tenant dispute. I don't think that's how the
Right. Corporations would never do something that cynical and deceitful. Nah.
What if a company owned by religious people felt it violated their beliefs to hire gays? What if they held a deep religious conviction that women shouldn't work? What if they held a deep religious belief that offering vaccinations to children of their workers violated their beliefs?
It could go on and on. Each of these companies could file a claim, take it to court and point to the
Corporations could become Muslims and decide that women shouldn't work. Or they could become Scientologists and believe that insurance shouldn't cover mental health problems. (From what I've read about Scientology and its founder, hack sci-fi writer
Or corporations could cloak themselves in religion and decide that they are pacifists and don't want to pay taxes for weapons or the military. That doesn't work out very well for people who are pacifists. But the court may have opened that door.
If this continuing legal evolution of corporations into human beings continues apace, it could raise a lot of questions. Could corporations be granted the right to vote? Can they get a driver's license? Could they cite religious belief and go through the express checkout at the grocery store with more than 12 items?
And, finally, if corporations are people, where would they go to the bathroom?
Apparently, the answer is anywhere they want.
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