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The Heart Of A Corporation

Corporate+board+room%0Aphoto+courtesy+of+pixabay
Corporate board room
photo courtesy of pixabay

Corporate board room photo courtesy of pixabay

Corporate board room photo courtesy of pixabay

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Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness are three inalienable rights that the United States government is sworn to protect. These rights, originally intended to protect the individual, are slowly being extended to include corporations.

“[Giving them rights] is reasonable, but, at the same time, it’s like, ‘where do you draw the line?’ Should you treat a corporation like a complete person? You can’t be wishy washy and let them say, ‘I’m a person today,’ one day and then the next say, ‘I’m a business today,’” says senior Gina Joerger.

Corporation, however, is a broad term, one which includes private for-profit businesses as well as nonprofit religious groups or charities.

“Businesses probably shouldn’t force people to [follow certain practices], but with churches, people will be following those rules anyway,” says junior Andrew Lamont.

Corporations have some amendment rights just as we do, such as the right to freedom of religion. This was decided in the 2012 Burwell v. Hobby Lobby case, in which Hobby Lobby refused to provide birth control to an employee that was covered for it from their employee insurance policy. The case ruled that the company didn’t have to violate the owner’s’ religious beliefs by providing the contraceptive.

“I think that a major corporation can’t just assume that everybody that works for them has the same beliefs as them. If it was originally decided that they had to [provide birth control with insurance] they can’t just decide they’re better than that,” says junior Kendall Kiss.

This ruling set a new precedent for the treatment of businesses. As a result of the case, the court essentially ruled that a corporation, even one not created in extension of a church or religious group, can have a religious affiliation and exercise religious freedom. However, that also means that some employees, such as the woman from the Burwell case, may be expected to follow religious practices they don’t believe in while at work.

“If all the workers are fine with it, then yeah, but if there’s a large amount of disagreement, then they shouldn’t force those beliefs on them,” says Kiss.

It is not a clear cut situation, and there is no simple answer. One could certainly say that it would violate founders’ and business owners’ rights by forcing them to go against certain religious beliefs, for example, by providing birth control through employee insurance. However, it is just as easily said that by allowing businesses to exercise religious freedom, you would be restricting the rights of employees by forcing them to follow religious practices that are not their own.

“I think it could be hard to find a balance with the size of some of these corporations but what you could do is… [let] the leaders follow what they want and make their own choices but the employees don’t necessarily have to [follow their religious practices],” says Lamont.

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Brashier Middle College Charter High School News....written and created by students, for students
The Heart Of A Corporation