Corporate Persons Acting on their Religious Beliefs?

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The 5 Supremes who have sold out to the Corporations in their new robes

The 5 Supremes who have sold out to the Corporations in their new robes

So our Nine Supremes (funny, there were Nine Nazgûl too!) have decided that Hobby Lobby can refuse to pay for female contraceptives based on their “Christian” Beliefs… First of all who is the Government to decide which religious doctrines are OK to enforce in public life?

But wait. Hmmm? Maybe we should take a second look at this.

If Hobby Lobby is a “Religious Corporate Person,” then all the rest are too. Let’s look at one case in the news right now.

As we all know, Detroit has defaulted and is in bankruptcy.  Now, two of the biggest creditors, Financial Guaranty Insurance Company:

A. Edward Turi, III, Chairman, Chief Executive Officer and General Counsel
Timothy S. Travers, Executive Vice President
Derek M. Donnelly
Michael C. Haines, Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Office

and Syncora:

Susan Comparato, Chief Executive Officer and President
Michael Corbally, Senior Vice President
James W Lundy Jr, General Counsel & Secretary
Claude L. LeBlanc, Chief Financial Officer/Chief Restructuring Officer
Drew D. Hoffman, Senior Vice President
Orlando Rivera, Senior Vice President

are demanding that Detroit sell its World Class Art collection housed at the Detroit Institute of the Arts to pay off their debts. A recent thorough study by Artvest has suggested that even if the collection could be sold (many pieces cannot legally be sold because of donation contracts), it would only raise something under 2 Billion, a pittance to the total owed.

Detroit Institute of Art

Detroit Institute of Art

Not only that, but the sale would most likely result in the art masterpieces being taken away from the people, and going into the private collections of the obscenely rich.

Now I would be willing to bet, that given probabilities and looking at their names above, the leadership of Financial Guaranty and Syncora are either Christian, Jewish or Muslim. I guess like Hobby Lobby, that makes the Corporations members of the one the Abrahamic Faiths. And what do the Abrahamic Faiths teach about what one must do when you hold a dept over someone who has fallen on hard times?

Here’s what Byzantine Christians (Eastern Orthodox and Byzantine Greek Catholics) sing during the Liturgy of the Pre-sanctified during the first week of Great Lent:

While fasting physically, brethren, let us also fast spiritually. Let us loose every knot of iniquity. Let us tear up every unrighteous bond. Let us distribute bread to the hungry, and welcome into our homes those who have no roof over their heads, so that we may receive the Great Mercy from Christ our God.

Lenten Presanctified Liturgy. Photo by Julia Makoveitchuk

Lenten Presanctified Liturgy. Photo by Julia Makoveitchuk

These verses, in turn are based on the Hebrew Book of Isaiah, which is accepted as Sacred Scripture by all Jews, Christians and Muslims:

Is not this the fast that I choose:
to loose the bonds of injustice,
to undo the thongs of the yoke,
to let the oppressed go free,
and to break every yoke?

Is it not to share your bread with the hungry,
and bring the homeless poor into your house;
when you see the naked, to cover them,
and not to hide yourself from your own kin?

Then your light shall break forth like the dawn,
and your healing shall spring up quickly;
your vindicator[a] shall go before you,
the glory of the Lord shall be your rear guard.

Great Isaiah Scroll from the Dead Sea Scrolls

Great Isaiah Scroll from the Dead Sea Scrolls

Then you shall call, and the Lord will answer;
you shall cry for help, and he will say, Here I am.

If you remove the yoke from among you,
the pointing of the finger, the speaking of evil,

if you offer your food to the hungry
and satisfy the needs of the afflicted,
then your light shall rise in the darkness
and your gloom be like the noonday.

The Lord will guide you continually,
and satisfy your needs in parched places,
and make your bones strong;
and you shall be like a watered garden,
like a spring of water,
whose waters never fail.

Your ancient ruins shall be rebuilt;
you shall raise up the foundations of many generations;
you shall be called the repairer of the breach,
the restorer of streets to live in.

— Isaiah 58: 6-12

There is also the Jewish custom of the Jubilee year, when all debts are forgiven, described in Leviticus 25.

shrewd_manager-297x300Following this, the Master Jesus told the parable of the clever steward, illustrating that debts are less important than human relationships:

Ἔλεγεν δὲ καὶ πρὸς τοὺς μαθητάς· Ἄνθρωπός τις ἦν πλούσιος ὃς εἶχεν οἰκονόμον, καὶ οὗτος διεβλήθη αὐτῷ ὡς διασκορπίζων τὰ ὑπάρχοντα αὐτοῦ. καὶ φωνήσας αὐτὸν εἶπεν αὐτῷ· Τί τοῦτο ἀκούω περὶ σοῦ; ἀπόδος τὸν λόγον τῆς οἰκονομίας σου, οὐ γὰρ δύνῃ ἔτι οἰκονομεῖν. εἶπεν δὲ ἐν ἑαυτῷ ὁ οἰκονόμος· Τί ποιήσω ὅτι ὁ κύριός μου ἀφαιρεῖται τὴν οἰκονομίαν ἀπ’ ἐμοῦ; σκάπτειν οὐκ ἰσχύω, ἐπαιτεῖν αἰσχύνομαι· ἔγνων τί ποιήσω, ἵνα ὅταν μετασταθῶ ἐκ τῆς οἰκονομίας δέξωνταί με εἰς τοὺς οἴκους ἑαυτῶν. καὶ προσκαλεσάμενος ἕνα ἕκαστον τῶν χρεοφειλετῶν τοῦ κυρίου ἑαυτοῦ ἔλεγεν τῷ πρώτῳ· Πόσον ὀφείλεις τῷ κυρίῳ μου; ὁ δὲ εἶπεν· Ἑκατὸν βάτους ἐλαίου· ὁ δὲ εἶπεν αὐτῷ· Δέξαι σου τὰ γράμματα καὶ καθίσας ταχέως γράψον πεντήκοντα. ἔπειτα ἑτέρῳ εἶπεν· Σὺ δὲ πόσον ὀφείλεις; ὁ δὲ εἶπεν· Ἑκατὸν κόρους σίτου· λέγει αὐτῷ· Δέξαι σου τὰ γράμματα καὶ γράψον ὀγδοήκοντα. καὶ ἐπῄνεσεν ὁ κύριος τὸν οἰκονόμον τῆς ἀδικίας ὅτι φρονίμως ἐποίησεν· ὅτι οἱ υἱοὶ τοῦ αἰῶνος τούτου φρονιμώτεροι ὑπὲρ τοὺς υἱοὺς τοῦ φωτὸς εἰς τὴν γενεὰν τὴν ἑαυτῶν εἰσιν. καὶ ἐγὼ ὑμῖν λέγω, [ἑαυτοῖς ποιήσατε φίλους ἐκ τοῦ μαμωνᾶ τῆς ἀδικίας, ἵνα ὅταν ἐκλίπῃ δέξωνται ὑμᾶς εἰς τὰς αἰωνίους σκηνάς.

Then Jesus said to the disciples, “There was a rich man who had a manager, and charges were brought to him that this man was squandering his property. So he summoned him and said to him, ‘What is this that I hear about you? Give me an accounting of your management, because you cannot be my manager any longer.’ Then the manager said to himself, ‘What will I do, now that my master is taking the position away from me? I am not strong enough to dig, and I am ashamed to beg. I have decided what to do so that, when I am dismissed as manager, people may welcome me into their homes.’ So, summoning his master’s debtors one by one, he asked the first, ‘How much do you owe my master?’ He answered, ‘A hundred jugs of olive oil.’ He said to him, ‘Take your bill, sit down quickly, and make it fifty.’ Then he asked another, ‘And how much do you owe?’ He replied, ‘A hundred containers of wheat.’ He said to him, ‘Take your bill and make it eighty.’ And his master commended the dishonest manager because he had acted shrewdly; for the children of this age are more shrewd in dealing with their own generation than are the children of light. And I tell you, make friends for yourselves by means of dishonest wealth so that when it is gone, they may welcome you into the eternal homes. — Luke 16: 1-9

The Mainline Christian Churches (Eastern Orthodox, Roman and Eastern Catholic, Oriental Orthodox, Church of the East, Anglicans, Protestants) all teach some form of forgiveness of debts.

BmLjV7AIIAAU9c7.jpg-largeHere is an example from 2000:

The existence of a foreign debt which is suffocating quite a few countries of the American continent represents a complex problem. . . . The Church in her pastoral concern cannot ignore this difficult situation, since it touches the life of so many people. . . . I too have frequently expressed my concern about this situation, which in some cases has become unbearable. In light of the imminent Great Jubilee of the Year 2000, and recalling the social significance that Jubilees had in the Old Testament, I wrote: “In the spirit of the book of Leviticus (25:8-12), Christians will have to raise their voice on behalf of all the poor of the world proposing the Jubilee as an appropriate time to give thought, among other things, to reducing substantially, if not cancelling outright, the international debt which seriously threatens the future of many nations.” — (St.) John Paul II, The Church in America (Ecclesia in America), post-synodal apostolic exhortation (Washington, D.C.: United States Catholic Conference, 1999), no. 59.



Reject Calvinism!

Of course, hardcore Calvinism teaches that riches are the sign of God’s favor, and show that the Rich are predestined to salvation, while poverty is the sign of God’s hatred, and show that the poor are predestined to damnation. Social Calvanism, as we have discussed in this Blog before, is the secular religion of American Government and Commerce. Since this, as well as some other Calvinist tenets, directly contradict huge portions of the Hebrew and Christian Scriptures, I can only consider this kind of hardcore Calvinism to be a hideous distortion of the message of Christianity, and should be jettisoned by all.





Islam also teaches this forgiveness of debts.

Surat 2:280

Surat 2:280

If the debtor is in difficulty, grant him time till it is easy for him to repay. But, if ye remit it by way of charity, that is best for you if ye only knew.—Qur’an 2:280

Here is further commentary on this verse:

Ibn Katheer  said in his Tafseer: “It is recommended to cancel the debt of the debtor and Allaah Promises the one who does this much good and great reward as He Says (what means) {But if you give [from your right as] charity, then it is better for you, if you only knew}. ‘But if you give charity’ means: but if you leave your capital completely and relieve the debtor of paying it back (then it is better for you). There are also many Hadeeths of the Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alayhi was sallam to this effect…” He then gave a lengthy account of the Hadeeths that highlight the virtue of giving respite to an insolvent debtor. It is narrated on the authority of Abu Umaamah  that the Prophet , said: “Whoever would be pleased that Allaah Would Shelter him under His Shade on the Day when there will be no shade except His, let him alleviate the debt of an insolvent person or grant him remission.” [At-Tabaraani]

So no matter which of the Abrahamic Faiths Financial Guaranty Insurance Company and Syncora belong to, Debt Relief is part of that Faith.

In the statistically unlikely case that Financial Guaranty Insurance Company and Syncora are Buddhist, Hindu or some other religion, there are no doubt equally compelling mandates to forgive debts.

So Financial Guaranty Insurance Company and Syncora, stay with Hobby Lobby’s example, and follow your faith’s tenets. Forgive Detroit’s debt today.


Steven A. Armstrong
Tutor, Editor, Consultant

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