Since Corporations are People, Can They Be Religious?

It’s going to take all you can muster not to shout the Lord’s name in vain over this one, so brace yourself: corporations are going to court to fight for the right to have an explicit religious identity.

The argument may seem groundless, but unfortunately it has at least one leg to stand on: corporate personhood. After all, corporations are considered people, and since people have a Constitutionally protected right to religious freedom, corporations may be entitled to that same right to worship.

Make no mistake – allowing corporations this “freedom” really means depriving employees of their own respective rights. For example, a devout Christian corporation (whatever that means) may be able to discriminate against employees for their sexuality, health practices and own forms of spirituality. In that sense, instituting a certain religious viewpoint at the workplace actually negates people’s freedoms.

Thus far, lower courts have disagreed on whether corporations are entitled to religious views, delivering contradictory verdicts. Therefore, it seems inevitable that the Supreme Court will ultimately weigh in on whether a corporation can legally take a pious stance.

The Obama administration might have invited trouble on this matter when it allowed religious nonprofits to receive exemptions from Obamacare’s contraception mandate. With that precedent, for-profit corporations, which have always been viewed differently in the eyes of the law, want to opt out of it, as well.

Currently, 39 companies are suing the government because the Affordable Care Act includes forms of birth control. The companies claim that their businesses shouldn’t have to provide employees with these options since the care contradicts with their religious values.

The most notable case actually chalked up a victory for a company’s right to religious freedom. Hobby Lobby, an Oklahoma craft store chain, says it was established on biblical principles and does not wish to offer its 13,000 employees with IUDs or the morning-after pill. The company (or rather a representative for it as corporations can’t actually talk) insists that such forms of birth control are essentially like abortions and therefore against its religion.

To be clear, morning-after pills and IUDs are not abortions since they prevent fertilization from occurring in the first place. Nonetheless, the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals agreed with the Hobby Lobby that Obamacare infringed on the company’s religious freedoms, even citing the infamous Citizens United decision as a precedent. “We see no reason the Supreme Court would recognize constitutional protection for a corporation’s political expression but not its religious expression,” the judges said.

Citizens United has already compromised the electoral process by declaring corporate money a form of “free speech.” This next move to obtain religious freedom is yet another way to abuse corporate personhood.

Can a corporation sit next to you in a pew at church? Can a corporation have a Bar Mitzvah? Can a corporation wrestle with existential questions to either strengthen or weaken its own faith? Heck, can a corporation think independently in any capacity?

Personally, I won’t be convinced that a corporation is capable of having religious thoughts until a business begins practicing a religion that differs from its owner. We’d see real quickly just how far a Jesus-loving CEO’s plight for religious freedom extends if his company were to somehow convert to Islam.

These upcoming legal battles will certainly be worth watching.


Jim Ven
Jim Ven1 years ago

thanks for the article.

Michael A.
Michael A4 years ago


Donna Ferguson
Donna F4 years ago

just weird!

Alberto Gtz.
Alberto G.4 years ago

Two secret new global pacts -- the TPP and TTIP -- could massively increase the power of corporations to sue our governments
Check this:

William Eaves
William Eaves4 years ago

Religious Nutters.

Patti T.
P T4 years ago

Whatever happened to "All Men Are Created Equal"? What gives ANYONE the right to tell ANYBODY what religion, if any, their employees or citizens the religion they are supposed to become?
What happened to a little thing in the US Constitution called "Religious Freedom"?
Why is it these Radical Religious Fanatics are allowed to pick & choose only the parts of the Constitution they want, ex: Gun Rights for Everyone-the more the better, etc., etc.?
The Tealibans definition is NOT the TRUE definition of Christianity that so many of them believe, and once they try to make their employees/citizens worship their vengeful & unforgiving God then they will truly show the world the lengths they will go to assume complete Power.
It's well Past the Expiration Date of the Party of NO!
Spread the word & get the Vote out in 2014!!

Patti T.
P T4 years ago

Like the saying goes..."I'll believe corporations are people when Texas executes one!"
Corporations are NOT People & the sooner we get rid of that along with 'fetal personhood' & 'Citizens United' we'll be a Lot closer in taking our country back from those crazed Tealibans!

Carole L.
Carole L4 years ago

Joseph B.
“What is good for coporations is good for unions as well-
If Citizens United unlocked dirty money from coporations, Doesn't it follow union dirty money and influence peddling is just as bad and must be stopped?”


Dimitris Dallis
Past Member 4 years ago

Corporations don't even run by people!