I’ll admit, the whole Pope-thing whizzed by so fast I did not comment, and dropped this thread so to recap on Pope-ery thoughts; I’m cautiously optimistic about this guy, he is setting the right tone, and while not technically a European, an ethnic Italian from South America is the perfect compromise for a hide-bound church. And I love Jesuits irrationally, for their rationality.
So on to today’s topic, personhood, which is not going to be about abortion at all, to the dismay of some and the delight of others. It’s actually about corporate personhood, or rather, reason number 5,037 why confusing corporations with actual people is bad for democracy. To whit, I think a Person is a living, breathing, post-birth human being — and not a legal entity structured for commercial benefit and profit. Where the hell am I going with this? Right now, social media is exploding because Eden Foods, a crunchy health food corporation founded by a Roman Catholic, has decided to sue over the Obamacare provisions on providing birth control coverage to employees. Since a great number of their customers are liberals, they are getting themselves in quite a pickle (do they make soy pickles yet? blech).
Here is part of a statement by co-founder Michael Potter, (excerpted from annarbor.com, where Eden is based):
“Potter: We had to object to the blatant government overreach that we saw happening. The government is just walking on the rights of companies and individuals who are trying to exercise their lives consistent with their conscience. The affront to the exercise of religious practices is quite obvious, there’s obviously some conflict there. We felt that the safe thing to do would have been to be an ostrich and stick our head in the sand, but we decided not to do that.”
Note how Mr. Potter conflates “companies and individuals” as the same thing — yet corporations do not have lives “to exercise” and they certainly do not have a “conscience” (this is not meant as a dig at corporations per se; a corporate executive can have a conscience, but a business cannot). He says it is obviously an “affront to religious practices,” but what religion does his company practice? This is not a point that is just about grammar — freedom of religion and the first amendment apply to People. Real People. A food products corporation does not have a company religion — the owners of the company may have a religion, but so too do the American citizens who work for said corporation — and if my religion says I am free to use contraceptives, why is my employer saying “it infringes on his religious freedom to provide that benefit? Surely there are other government mandated inclusions that rub up against a corporate officer’s religious views, and he is absolutely free to not use contraceptives in his own life. But conflating his personal views with his commercial enterprise is his mistake — if your state or city requires domestic partner inclusions for companies that provide benefits, does it mean that corporate officers are sanctioning living in sin? Does that violate a company’s religion?
I love corporations — I own two of ‘em. But I am pretty clear on where my “Person” ends and the “Persons” who are my employees Begin. And I’m pretty certain they value their religious liberty too.