I saw this fascinating article on Religion Dispatches.
My Business, Myself: Piercing the Corporate Veil: Conscience challenges to the ACA contraceptive coverage mandate may bring surprise risks to small business owners
It seems that the same foolish equating of corporations with persons which brought us Citizens United (to bankrupt our political process), may turn on those who assert it seeking a religious exemption for their businesses.
Can business owners assert that their free exercise is being burdened when the coverage mandate is imposed not on them, but on their business? Does the for-profit corporation or LLC have religious beliefs of its own? Does General Motors practice religion? If not, do smaller corporations exercise religion? Or are the small businesses really asserting the religious rights of their owners?
The article discusses how in cases where a corporation becomes an alter ego of it’s owners, the owners become liable for potentially unlimited damages and expenses.
I have long thought that we need a constitutional amendment that defines corporations much as did Justice John Marshall: as limited entities given a charter for some public good, a charter which is revocable should the purpose not be adequately met. It is ludicrous to consider that a corporation should have constitutional rights to “free speech.” It is even crazier to think of corporations as having religious rights and observances.
I’m all for individuals exercising their conscience. We should all have the opportunity to decline benefits with which we do not feel comfortable; but for a corporation to deny us the opportunity to choose how to do so is just wrong. When this is done due to the corporation being an alter ego of its owners, it is just as much an imposition of the few upon the many as Citizens United‘s “one dollar, one vote” is upon the democratic principle of one person, one vote. It is proof of how the godless nonperson corporations must be restrained by real persons.