BY KENNY BELFORD
I’m not sure who first made the comment “Truth is stranger than fiction,” but that remark has proven to have a depth of knowledge that’s reflected in the amazing scenario currently unfolding at the U.S. Supreme Court. It began in 2010 when the court issued a ruling in the Citizens United case, granting personhood status to corporations. Their logic indicated that since corporations have people working there, the actual corporation is also a person.
That same logic could be applied to trees. There are people that work in forests so trees must follow that logic and be people, too. I suppose you could extend that logic and file murder charges against loggers who harvest the trees.
Applying that logic, that corporations are persons, it might be theoretically legal to charge Walmart with mass murder. Their corporation, now a legal person, has caused the deaths of tens of thousands of small main street corporations, also persons, across America.
Once you willfully enter the territory of bizarre-o world almost anything can become possible.
Now the U.S. Supreme Court is tangled up in a case brought by Hobby Lobby. In the Hobby Lobby case, their corporation wants to be granted authority to deny contraceptive coverage through their employee health care plan.
It’s a slippery slope. Allowing an employer to selectively deny which pharmaceuticals or medical procedures will be allowed or disallowed is dangerous territory. Hobby Lobby bases their position on the owner’s religious beliefs.
There are religious denominations that don’t believe in any doctors or drugs, relying solely on prayer and healing hands. It’s not uncommon to read about criminal charges brought against parents that have intentionally denied medical treatment for their children, when treatment would be lifesaving.
If the U.S. Supreme Court rules in Hobby Lobby’s favor, a corporation owned by a member of those denominations could deny potential coverage to employees, even if it resulted in death, and do so with impunity.
The absurdity of the current Hobby Lobby case centers on whether the U.S. Supreme Court will grant religious rights to non-human entities. It really is that simple and that basic.
– Kenny Belford lives in Tulsa, OK and is a frequent contributor to The Oklahoma Observer