Some interesting thoughts on corporate religion today from some of my favorite bloggers. Tipsy, who is opposed to the Obamacare contraception mandate has a post entitled Corporate Freedom of Religion? wherein he notes that, opposed as he is to the policy, the idea of corporations having religious beliefs gives him pause.
Sheila Kennedy, generally in favor of the mandate, has a post entitled Thus Spake the Profits noting that the religious beliefs of the Hobby Lobby corporation doesn’t seem to extend to an objection to stocking inventory produced cheaply in a country with mandatory forced abortions.
Both raise the question of when and how a corporation, a legal fiction, can be said to believe anything. How close do they have to be to the activity? Is the corporate veil pierced to allow its owners’ religious beliefs to leak through to its employees but not to allow its owners’ profits to leak through to its creditors? Are those religious beliefs offended if its employees are allowed to use money from their paycheck to fund immoral behavior? Allowed to use compensation in the form of insurance to fund immoral behavior? Are those religious beliefs offended where products come from suppliers with morally objectionable behavior?
And, just because it’s a hobby horse of mine, I’ll take a moment to reiterate that I don’t think libertarians can logically embrace the corporate form. It’s a government construct designed to shield an individual from personal responsibility for the consequences of his or her actions; about as anti-libertarian as you can get.
In any event, I already think we’ve gone too far with the “corporations are people” legal fiction. They have their uses, and policy and legal protections should reflect those uses. But, they are different from flesh and blood people in fundamental ways. Not having the capacity to believe anything is one of those differences.