Michael Greenman came to speak with us today about justice.
The earth is our common home. Wealth is part of our spiritual growth when it is governed by morality. Earning wealth through deception is immoral. Judaism teaches that wealth is a part of the world that can be used for good. Waste of wealth, even if it is your wealth, is immoral. We note that the Pope recently issued an encyclical called “Care for our Common Home” in which he wrote that corporate greed is responsible for causing injury to the planet and it will take the actions of human beings to save it. Humanity must take care of ourselves by taking care of the people and the planet we live on.
Democracy is a concept where the people assist in the government. Supreme power is spread among the people. The social contract is not between citizens and the government, but rather citizens with each other. The state becomes a sovereign entity through its citizens.
So as a result, it is a fundamental problem when a society elevates an artificially constructed thing like a corporation to the privileges of citizenship. Corporations have no responsibility other than to make a profit. Corporations have no moral code, no morality. You can’t send a corporation to High School for 4 years and teach it lessons in civics, nor can you punish a corporation by putting it in a jail cell.
In 1886 the Supreme Court of the United States began a policy of recognizing corporations as entities with rights which had up until then only been granted to people. In 1976 the Supreme Court decided that money was equal to speech. The rights of corporations to be considered “persons” cannot be reversed except through an amendment to the constitution. In 2010, the Supreme Court’s “Citizens United” decision cleared the way for corporate persons to spend unlimited amounts on campaign contributions. In ancient times humanity taught that we must consider the consequences of our actions upon the 7th generation, but corporate persons are not imbued with any moral constraints, so corporate persons will consider the consequences of their actions on the bottom line of the next quarterly earnings report.
Do we have any hope of limiting the rights of corporate persons to dominate human persons? If we want it badly enough it is possible. What is more probable is business as usual.
“HOPE IS THE BELIEF IN THE PLAUSIBILITY OF THE POSSIBLE AS OPPOSED TO THE NECESSITY OF THE PROBABLE.”
As people of faith, we can encourage more people to take baby steps. Encourage recycling first, then move on to responding to calls for an amendment to the U.S. Constitution limiting the powers of corporate citizenship. Committed leaders of fundamentalist religions are beginning to see a moral responsibility to be good stewards of the earth and are now protectors of the environment. We the People can reduce corporate power. As we do, let others join us.