Jul 2, 2014

What The Hobby Lobby Judgement Means

from: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hobby_Lobby
Most conservatives, and Christians, are excited by the news of Hobby Lobby's judgement by the Supreme Court; however, others are crying foul, including some of the Justices themselves. In the end the court made the right decision for America by basically telling the government to back off business in the area of religious freedom.

Business regulations is nothing new to America. The government has regulated some things that it should such as child labor laws, minimum wage, the Family Medical Leave Act, Social Security (not that they handle the account right), safety laws, and yes…many environmental laws do protect us from some big companies. So, there is some good to the government overseeing and regulating business practices. However, there is a down side as well. The government has also overtaxed certain areas, often used taxes as a form of punishment for certain industries, placed restrictions on operations such as oil and gas organizations, restricted drilling, lowered import taxes to a level where American corporations often can not compete with foreign corporations, NAFTA, bailouts, and strict regulations on healthcare benefits (most recent). The bottom line is we have to live with certain regulations for the good of the entire country, the workers, the people living near the industry, and future generations. We do not have to live with regulations affecting our religious beliefs though.

Courts have spent years indicating that corporations can be viewed as individuals (Corporate Personhood). Despite the fact that the corporation usually represents several people, it represents the views of those people as a collective and essentially becomes that person. They are in business to make money for the person(s) organizing them, their investors (if any), and the people working for them. Most corporations offer benefits of some kind. It could be vacation days, holidays, sick days, dental plans, health plans, and/or 401K plans, etc. The benefits they offer are decided in one or three ways. Either the employee asks for the benefit and it is granted, the corporation offers the benefit to the employee, or the government requires the benefit. For example, a person might want his or her corporation to pay for some advanced training. The corporation does this to help the person improve on his or her job. The employee has the knowledge from the training and can keep that knowledge as a benefit even if he or she leaves the corporation. From a corporate point of view, a corporation may offer a higher salary. The corporation for example might offer $10 an hour instead of the federal minimum wage, and this would be a benefit offered by the corporation. The government might require a benefit such as overtime for hours in excess of 40 per week. This would be a government benefit offered by the corporation due to regulations, but an appropriate one.

Hobby Lobby offers benefits based on their corporation's collective view. As a person, the corporation takes the views of the board such as Hobby Lobby is closed on Sundays. This benefit allows employees of Hobby Lobby to attend a church of their choice, or to not attend a church of their choice, but either way they have Sundays off regardless of the work week schedule. Hobby Lobby also offers other benefits that are in line with their corporation's views. The corporation does not offer something it does not believe in from a religious point-of-view as a benefit.

As stated earlier, almost immediately people, including at least one Justice, issued outcries of foul about the ruling. They yell that other corporations could use this to their benefit, and they are right. A Jewish owned corporation for example might close on Friday evenings and not open back up until Sunday-to observe the Jewish Holy Day. This same corporation might offer other benefits or holidays around the Jewish calendar. Another corporation might, as Hobby Lobby did, refuse to offer morning after pills as part of their health benefits because they do not believe in abortion. Naturally, pro-abortion groups are already yelling foul as well.

What the people who are yelling foul fail to remember, especially the Justice, is two important facts. First, nobody is making anyone work for any certain corporation. This is America and work is not a prison sentence. An employee, if he or she does not like the benefits of one corporation, is free to go find another corporation to work for with benefits they want. The worker is free to find any job he or she desires. The other thing so easily forgotten is that the government has spent the last hundred years or so through litigation and laws giving the corporations a personhood. This means that despite the all yelling about the ruling, the bottom line is a corporation represents the person or persons who administer the board. Their collective decision is the view of the personhood of the corporation. With this in mind, the government can not tell the corporation how to administer religious beliefs or benefits that violate those beliefs. If the court had ruled against Hobby Lobby, it would have set a dangerous path that would say that the corporation's personhood has no religious rights. For most Americans, that should be alarming because it is way too close to saying the "person has no religious rights."