How much crazier can this get? In Citizens United, the five Republicans on the Supreme Court held that corporations were people, too, with the same right to freedom of speech that we have. The practical effect of this was to legalize the sale of our politicians to the highest bidder.
Now they want to decide that corporations have freedom of religion, too? If you're a Christian, do you think that McDonald's has an immortal soul, then? Are you going to meet Enron and Countrywide Financial in Heaven? (Or in Hell?)
All five Republicans on the Supreme Court are Catholic (one of the four Democrats, too). Does the church have no problem with this idea? Did Jesus die on the cross so Kentucky Fried Chicken has a pathway to Heaven? Are they going to start recruiting corporations to serve as priests? Will News Corp. become the next pope?
It's just incredible, isn't it? Corporations aren't people. They're run by people, they're owned by people, but they're not people themselves. And note that the people who control corporations aren't necessarily the same people who own them. (Ownership and control are two entirely different things.)
A corporate CEO might have a particular religious belief himself, but that's unlikely to be shared by everyone else who works for the corporation. And the people who own stock in the corporation, or who own stock in mutual funds which own stock in the corporation, are even less likely to share the same religious beliefs.
But this was one of the big problems with Citizens United, too. A CEO might give the corporation's money - your money, if you owned any stock or mutual funds - to a politician, in order to get political favors, but you wouldn't even know about it, let alone have any input. The CEO was probably most interested in buying tax cuts for himself, but that probably wouldn't be your priority, would it?
The corporation itself couldn't think anything, because a corporation doesn't have a brain. The corporation itself couldn't want anything, because a corporation isn't an entity which can feel desire. It's not the corporation which has a need for freedom of speech but the people who run the corporation. And they've already got freedom of speech.
In fact, given the fact that the owners of the corporation - technically - might have no control over any of this, you are actually violating their freedom of speech by allowing someone else to use their money in ways which might well be the exact opposite of what they'd wish, themselves.
But the five Republicans on the Supreme Court allowed this (over the objections of the four Democrats), and they may well decide that corporations have freedom of religion, too. So the corporation you work for might have a different religion than you do,... and even the corporation you own, at least in part, might also push some other religious belief than yours. How will you like that?
Of course, it's not actually the corporation which has that belief, which pushes that belief, but the guy running the corporation. Corporations can't have religious beliefs, because they don't have minds, they don't have emotions, and they don't have souls. Of course, with regard to the latter, neither does anyone else.
But if you think that people have souls, do you really think that corporations do, too? Do you expect to see these corporations all sitting beside Jesus in Heaven? Or, heck, I don't know, maybe you're Hindu. If so, do you think that Enron has been reincarnated as Twitter, maybe? (And is that for being good or being bad?)
What's next, corporations running for public office? Will Microsoft become our first corporate senator? Will Google become our first corporate president? When will Texas execute its first corporate prisoner? When will the Catholic Church name the first corporate saint?
Sorry, but corporations aren't people. People are covered by the Bill of Rights, not corporations. In particular, corporations can't have religious beliefs - or beliefs of any kind. Corporations don't have a brain, so they don't have a mind.
I'm a skeptic. I think it makes sense to have reasons for what I believe, so I apportion my belief to the evidence. You're welcome to disagree. Please, tell me I'm wrong. I probably don't agree with anyone about everything. Why should disagreement be a problem? Check the Pages section below for series posts and links to book reviews and game posts, as well as contact info. Unfortunately, I rarely blog at all, anymore. So don't expect new posts. - Bill
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It doesn't matter how beautiful your theory is, it doesn't matter how smart you are. If it doesn't agree with experiment, it's wrong - Richard Feynman
The general root of superstition is that men observe when things hit, and not when they miss, and commit to memory the one, and pass over the other. - Sir Francis Bacon
When a whole nation is roaring Patriotism at the top of its voice, I am fain to explore the cleanness of its hands and purity of its heart. - Ralph Waldo Emerson
Speculation is perfectly all right, but if you stay there you've only founded a superstition. If you test it, you've started a science. - Hal Clement
No matter how many times a theory meets its tests successfully, there can be no certainty that it will not be overthrown by the next observation. This, then, is a cornerstone of modern natural philosophy. It makes no claim of attaining ultimate truth. In fact, the phrase "ultimate truth" becomes meaningless, because there is no way in which enough observations can be made to make truth certain and, therefore, "ultimate". - Isaac Asimov
The government of the United States of America is not in any sense founded on the Christian Religion. - Treaty of Tripoli, passed unanimously by the U.S. Senate and signed by President John Adams (1797)
I don't doubt the sincerity of dowsers, but even after we've demonstrated that they can't produce results that are any better than chance they'll still go away believing in their abilities... It is like the mother whose son is caught shoplifting on tape. She wonders why someone would want to frame her child by producing a fake video. - James Randi
During many ages there were witches. The Bible said so. The Bible commanded that they should not be allowed to live. Therefore the Church ... imprisoned, tortured, hanged, and burned whole hordes and armies of witches, and washed the Christian world clean with their foul blood. Then it was discovered that there was no such thing as witches, and never had been. One does not know whether to laugh or to cry. - Mark Twain
Aristotle maintained that women have fewer teeth than men; although he was twice married, it never occurred to him to verify this statement by examining his wives' mouths. - Bertrand Russell
A casual stroll through the lunatic asylum shows that faith does not prove anything. - Friedrich Nietzsche
I have been thinking that I would make a proposition to my Republican friends... that if they will stop telling lies about the Democrats, we will stop telling the truth about them. - Adlai E. Stevenson, Jr.
This is not about proof. Science does not use proof. We favor evidence, and the work consists largely of the slow accumulation of evidence in support of ideas, not magically potent proofs that establish an idea as unassailable. - PZ Myers
No, people don't expect government to solve all their problems. But they sense, deep in their bones, that with just a slight change in priorities, we can make sure that every child in America has a decent shot at life, and that the doors of opportunity remain open to all. - President Barack Obama
The formula was very simple: build this really flexible, really open economy, tolerate creative destruction so dead capital is quickly redeployed to better ideas and companies, pour into it the most diverse, smart and energetic immigrants from every corner of the world and then stir and repeat, stir and repeat, stir and repeat, stir and repeat. - Shekhar Gupta
We are prodding, challenging, seeking contradictions or small, persistent residual errors, proposing alternative explanations, encouraging heresy. We give our highest rewards to those who convincingly disprove established beliefs. - Carl Sagan
We are all atheists about most of the gods that societies have ever believed in. Some of us just go one god further. - Richard Dawkins
120 million of us place the big bang 2,500 years after the Babylonians and Sumerians learned to brew beer. - Sam Harris
To kill a man is not to defend a doctrine, but to kill a man. - Michael Servetus, burned at the stake in 1553
Democracy is not about majority rule; it is about minority rights. If there is no culture of not simply tolerating minorities, but actually treating them with equal rights, real democracy can't take root. - Thomas L. Friedman
We cannot absolutely prove that those are in error who tell us that society has reached a turning point, that we have seen our best days. But so said all who came before us and with just as much apparent reason. - Thomas Macauley, 1830
It may be true that the law cannot make a man love me, but it can stop him from lynching me, and I think that's pretty important. - Martin Luther King, Jr.
We will not walk in fear, one of another. We will not be driven into an age of unreason if we dig deep into our history and remember we are not descended from fearful men. - Edward R. Murrow
The deepest sin against the human mind is to believe things without evidence. Science is simply common sense at its best - that is, rigidly accurate in observation, and merciless to fallacy in logic. - Thomas Huxley
There is no absurdity so obvious that it cannot be firmly planted in the human head if you only begin to impose it before the age of five, by constantly repeating it with an air of great solemnity. - Arthur Schopenhauer
Because religious belief, or non-belief, is such an important part of every person's life, freedom of religion affects every individual. ... Erecting the "wall of separation between church and state," therefore, is absolutely essential in a free society. - President Thomas Jefferson
To be elected in America, no matter from what party, the candidates have no choice but to year after year pledge to lower taxes further and further. We have become the nation of Ken and Barbie, looking good but very poor at the math. - Rack Jite
Invisible Pink Unicorns are beings of great spiritual power. We know this because they are capable of being invisible and pink at the same time. Like all religions, the Faith of the Invisible Pink Unicorns is based upon both logic and faith. We have faith that they are pink; we logically know that they are invisible because we can't see them. - Steve Eley
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