In a landmark decision, the Supreme Court ruled that corporations were people capable of exercising religion. This ruling came about when Hobby Lobby argued that its Christian beliefs were being violated by the Affordable Care Act, which covers contraceptives in its insurance plans. The Court sought to remedy this grave injustice by establishing that a corporation could theoretically ignore a law that violated its sincere beliefs. Well, not taxes — the government always gets its cut.
While corporations have been declared to possess a religious identity, it seems that, just like any other person, a corporation does not always practice its religion down to the letter. A female employee that wants her insurance to cover contraceptives suddenly becomes a moral dilemma that violates the corporation’s deeply-held beliefs. However, these same corporations may at the same time be investing into abortion pill manufacturers (or what amounts to slave labor.) That’s just profit maximization, which may not be a religious belief, but sure is a deeply-held one. But, I digress — let’s get back to the topic at hand.
The thought can’t be ignored that the Court would have probably ruled differently if those beliefs were of a non-Christian denomination, such as Islam — which is the second largest religion in several U.S. states. Hijabs for all female employees? Beards for all male employees? No food or drink for anyone during Ramadan? I guess we will have to wait for a corporation with Islamic beliefs to come forward and demand that its religious beliefs be respected in order to find out.
Illustration by Sara Abo-Zed; caption by Mohammad Barakat.