Corporations as Spiritual Beings
June 30, 2014
Today the Supreme Court has ruled that “closely held” companies are able to act as persons in the particular area of birth control. I will not delve into the Affordable Healthcare Act, my views on birth control, or a variety of other areas. Those who know me well know my views and they are summed up in this statement: “Jesus turned no one away, never distinguished between the ‘worthy’ and ‘unworthy’ poor, and always found himself spending time with those cast out on the margins of society.” Take it for what you will.
Still reading? Good. Now, let’s talk about corporations as people and, more specifically, corporations as spiritual beings. Ever since Citizens United ruled corporations could be treated as people for the purpose of political contributions, people have been up in arms left and right about it. People are angry and frustrated. People are mad. Why should corporations get the same rights as citizens? How dare you treat corporations like people?
How dare you not? But I will talk about that a little bit further along.
I was reading an article on the Religious News Service earlier today where Rev. Harry Knox, president of the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice, said, ““No matter how closely-held, a corporation is still not a spiritual being…” and I couldn’t disagree more.
You see, in a very real way corporations are “people” in the sense they are spiritual beings. Christians, in all their bluster, seem to have forgotten this simple truth. As a geek and a child of the 1970s and 1980s, great movies like Robocop taught us that corporations would be the governing bodies of the future so we should equate corporations with governments. So, how have Christians often viewed governments?
Well, to be honest, I can’t speak for all Christians but I’m just going to be very frank. I see all these groups that dictate their compassionless desires upon others as “powers.” They could be individuals, they could be corporations, and/or they could be governments. As Hendrik Berkhof says in his book, Christ and the Powers, “They are ‘the rulers of this age’ (1 Corinthians 2:6). In their desire to rule they are in enmity toward the Lord of glory, who can suffer them only as instruments, not as lords.”
So, geekpreacher, what does all this rambling have to do with the Supreme Court’s decisions concerning the ACA and Citizens United? It’s rather simple. Both of these cases are about the stronger trying to rule over the weaker. Whether you like the Affordable Healthcare Act or not, it gave power to the weak to make medical decisions for themselves. That’s not something that happens everyday. In Citizens United, suddenly the free speech which has often been a hallmark of American society and a way in which the weakest of people can often have a voice in our society you find it co-opted by powerful lobbying groups and organizations who make more money in the time it takes me to type a sentence than many of us will make in a lifetime.
All of it boils down to control. Who controls you? Who rules over you?
Jesus came to seek and to save that which is lost. He is the one who said take my yoke upon you for my burden is light. Jesus came to rule us by serving us but in a fallen world organizations, even closely held ones, do not see themselves as serving others by allowing them to make their own decisions but, instead, seek to enforce their own desires and designs upon others. Those in positions of power still seek to rule.
As part of the Church, we are to unmask these powers for what they are. I could care less if they go under the label “evangelical Christianity” or conservative politics. It is our calling to see these powers for what they are and expose them. As Berkhof says, “When the Powers are unmasked they lose their dominion over [people’s] souls and the jubilant exclamation arises, ‘Nothing can separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus!'”
Yes, these Powers flaunt their ability to try and control the lives of people and rule over them but one thing they cannot do when we unmask them for what they are is control the hearts and minds of people. Are you walking in the love of God? Are you seeking to be one with Jesus? This may seem like hollow comfort in the midst of the Supreme Court’s rulings granting these rights to the corporations but when we realize it has been this way for a very long time then suddenly we have much clearer insight.
Too many people are arguing that these corporations are being maneuvered by money and the bottom line while others are arguing it’s the spiritual beliefs of those in control when, in reality, it is the powers guiding them. Sometimes these powers can be redemptive and sometimes these powers can be evil. The best way to distinguish the nature of the powers and to help us see more clearly is to see if these powers are trying to control our lives or grant us freedom.
At the end of the day, can we say, “It is for freedom that Christ has set us free” or is some group trying to place us under their own yoke of bondage? You decide. For me the answer is fairly clear.
Here are my final thoughts. Let’s treat corporations like people. If an American individual goes overseas and commits a crime against a child, did you know they can also be prosecuted by the American government? We have great laws like this one. Laws I think are wonderful and are meant to protect all children. So, if say, a corporation sends their manufacturing processes over to China and a child is abused in unsafe working conditions shouldn’t they be prosecuted just like an American individual? Let’s make it happen! I wonder how the boys in prison will treat you.
GP out….hope you still love me.
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