Corporations don't have religious beliefs [Letter]

March 31, 2014

Claims that corporations should be exempt from the health insurance law because their owners object to it on religious grounds are ludicrous ("Don't open Pandora's box," March 24).

By incorporating, the owners of Hobby Lobby receive valuable protections from the government: For example, the owners aren't personally liable for the debts of the corporation and can't be sued as individuals for injuries that occur due to the firm's negligence.

Now the corporation claims to have a religion. Who decides the religion of a business corporation? Is it the CEO, the board, the shareholders? If a Catholic corporation merges with a Baha'i company, what is its religion then? Can a Hindu corporation apply to a rabbi for conversion to Judaism? Can a business corporation claim its god is Mammon and thus be protected from all regulatory aegis?

The owners, boards, and executives of business corporations receive massive benefits from their corporate status. These benefits are bestowed by – and only by – government. Our government is ordained to function of, by, and for the people, and therefore the granting of a corporate charter should only be made when it may reasonably be expected to benefit the people.

People have unalienable, constitutional rights. Corporations have rights granted by charter but no constitutional rights, and applicants for corporate charters have no inherent right to obtain one.

Charlie Cooper

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