When Did Corporations Find Religion?

Supreme Court considers ObamaCare contraception mandate
By Matt Cantor,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 25, 2014 12:46 PM CDT
When Did Corporations Find Religion?
This May 22, 2013 file photo shows customers at a Hobby Lobby store in Denver.   (AP Photo/Ed Andrieski, File)

This week, the Supreme Court is considering whether ObamaCare can require corporations to offer coverage for contraception. Companies like Hobby Lobby say that mandate violates their right to religious freedom, a claim that has some pundits raising their eyebrows:

  • Corporations don't seem too worried about religious values when they consider employee wages or robo-sign foreclosures, writes Sally Kohn in the Daily Beast. With the Hobby Lobby suit, "corporate America is trying to use religion to achieve new heights of greed and corruption," seeking to end any limits to their power. And consider the possible fallout from the case: Could corporations use religious beliefs to, for instance, refuse to hire gay people or women who are unmarried and pregnant?

  • Hobby Lobby argues that "corporations are entitled to the same religious freedom protections as people," write professors Naomi Lamoreaux and William Novak at Slate, who have written an amicus brief in the case. In fact, throughout most of American history, "the corporation was seen as a special and artificial creature of the government. It has never been seen as entitled to the same array of rights guaranteed to citizens."
  • The editorial board of the Los Angeles Times points out that "business corporations are legal entities distinct from the individuals who create them," regardless of those individuals' religious beliefs. What's more, the mandate isn't a "substantial burden": It "doesn't require an employer to do anything more than make it possible for a female employee to decide for herself whether to use contraceptives."
  • But in the New York Post, Rich Lowry disagrees. "Everyone recognizes that nonprofit corporations have such rights (to exercise religious freedom), so what makes for-profit corporations different?" he asks. "The truth is that the Obama administration wants to bring Hobby Lobby to heel as a matter of principle. In its pinched view of religion, faith should be limited as much as possible to the pews."
(More ObamaCare stories.)

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