This guest post is by Jeremy Mack of The Evangelical Libertarian.
“You’re born with a religion or you adopt a religion. You have to obey the precepts of that religion and the government gives you a wide penumbra – you don’t have to form a corporation,”
“When we wrote RFRA [Religious Freedom Restoration Act] back in 1993 we did so to protect individuals with strong religious beliefs and give them the presumption they have always enjoyed; that they should be able to exercise their religious beliefs without interference from the government…. The court took that and applied it – misapplied it – to for-profit companies who exist for the purpose of benefitting from the open market, working in the marketplace under our laws.”
Chuck Schumer U.S. Senator, New York
I watched Mr. Schumer’s full press conference. The more I listened to him speak the more I was offended. As a former business owner I have first hand experience running a business. First, “You don’t have to open a corporation?” You do if you don’t want to be personally liable for a fall on your property or an injury to an employee. You do if you don’t want to pay the highest possible tax rate. Not forming a corporation for business purposes would be foolish, difficult if not impossible, and economically clumsy. Could you imagine Hobby Lobby as a sole proprietorship? Basically Chuck is saying, “sure you can live according to your faith if you want to, but if you do, you will not be able to have the legal protections afforded to other Americans who own businesses.” Unless you worship at the altar of Atheism, the established church in America, you become a second-class citizen, and the doors to prosperity are closed to you. This is nothing more than a U.S. Senator endorsing state sponsored persecution against people of faith.
Second, corporations are owned and operated by individuals. You cannot remove the moral and ethical components of life merely because you opened a corporation. In business if you defraud someone, you must repay them. If you contribute to the death of someone through the corporation’s actions you can be sued in civil court, and employees and officers can even be charged as negligent criminals. You are expected to operate your business based on moral principles as individuals. No one lives life in a vacuum. You cannot separate your religious life from your secular life completely, because you are a singular person, an individual. It is a fool’s errand to try and eradicate religious beliefs from public life.
Third, the market is “open”, but the government didn’t open it. The market exists in the private realm. Mr. Schumer, as well as most other nice government men believe it is their job to build the economy, set wages, decide benefits such as insurance coverage, etc., etc. But the reality is: the open market exists with out the state. Tomorrow, if the U.S. government collapsed and became part of the annals of history, people would still trade goods, find a medium of trade (money), and provide for their living. Government, for the most part, stifles the open market and creates problems by making arbitrary decisions, like this one. The attempt to force people against their conscience to provide a benefit (birth control) is absurd. Hobby Lobby’s wage and benefit contracts are private arrangements between the company and the individual. If the employee wants birth control as part of their benefits package, then let them search out new employment in the “open” market. Individuals “should be able to exercise their religious beliefs without interference from the government.” No one should be forced through the State’s monopoly on violence to live contrary their religious beliefs, even if they own corporations. The opening words to our Bill of Rights are, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.” Atheism has become nothing more than the Established Church of the American State. Mr. Schumer and those of his ilk wish to make people of faith in America second-class citizens with fewer rights and protections merely because we don’t believe as they do. I’ll say it again: this is nothing more than a U.S. Senator endorsing state sponsored persecution against people of faith.