Because major religions agree they are stewards of creation, because climate change continues to advance unabated, and because it is detrimentally affecting our planet and each and every one of us creating a scenario of a bleak and tortuous future globally, culturally, socially, and economically…
THE PROBLEM: The acceleration of climate change continues unabated!
Pope Francis, in his 2015 Encyclical (Laudato Si – Care for our Common Home) clearly stated:
- Climate change is real
- Human activities are largely responsible
- Economic activity involving corporate greed is the primary active force contributing to climate change
- People of faith have an ethical duty to act
Attempts to impose restrictive regulations or legislation on emissions and other polluting activities have met with legal objections on the basis of a corporation’s “gifted” constitutional rights under the 5th and 14th amendments. As a result, courts have frequently ruled in favor of the corporation!
Communities of faith and ethical conviction alone have the influence and the cumulative power of numbers to mount an ethically-based demand to our government proposing and urging the passing of an amendment that reins in corporations; an amendment that restricts the power corporate donors have over legislators; and an amendment that ensures our laws and regulations will be ethically passed within the political process.
Communities of faith and ethical conviction exhibit many differences among themselves, some of which are strongly held, yet on the issue of responsibility as stewards of creation to act, there is unity and agreement.
National communities of faith and ethical conviction standing together highlighting the problem and demanding change, will bring the importance of the issue directly to the Executive and the Legislative branches of our Federal Government making the importance of the issue difficult to ignore.
Why can’t corporations be reined in?!
Our American independence was, to a great extent, achieved for the purpose of freeing the colonies from corporate domination (British East India Company and Crown Colonies –which were primarily setup to maximize profit for the King of England).
- Our constitution does not mention corporations – the individual states were given the responsibility of “chartering” corporations under strict rules of conduct.
- Charters were weakened only gradually until 1886 when an illegitimate Supreme Court decision (Santa Clara County v. Southern Pacific Railroad) gave corporations 14th Amendment Rights – rights which were intended to protect freed slaves.
- Since then Courts have also given corporations rights under the 1st, 4th, 5th, 6th, and 7th Amendments, resulting in their ability to successfully plead legal arguments in numerous cases against the interests of “We the People” and to protect their own profits.
- The 2010 decision: “Citizens United v. the Federal Election Commission (FEC)” was the final straw that removed restrictions on corporate money’s ability to control our elections via monetary donations in support of or against any political campaign (equating money with/as speech).
- Due to these so-called Corporate Constitutional Rights and the implied idea of money as speech, many cases involving attempts to rein in corporate actions (such as greenhouse gas emissions) are stymied by court decisions which end up protecting corporate rights which in turn leads to a government dominated by the dictates of corporations. This also institutionalizes an endorsement of greed that debilitates our political system and our actions towards and within the world in general.
SOLVING THE PROBLEM:
Only a constitutional amendment can undo decisions by the Supreme Court and return the rights to “We The People” alone.
o In today’s political environment the likelihood that such an amendment will be passed by Congress
via the normal political route is extremely low because politicians are controlled and benefit
politically by favoring the interests of corporations over those of the people.
o The alternative provided under Article V of the Constitution is that it takes 2/3 of the states to
request a convention to amend the Constitution. This is unlikely to happen and is fraught with
possible undesirable and unintended consequences.
o Only a concerted effort by the major national faith and ethical conviction communities working
together on many fronts has the likelihood of success!
The passage of an amendment to eliminate corporate constitutional rights and money as speech would have the following effect, both immediately and over time:
- Render the Citizens United 2010 decision invalid.
- Lead to the passage of laws and regulations that could place reasonable but effective restrictions on the activities of corporations that are today contributing significantly to accelerating climate change.
- Permit changes to restore justice and democracy to a significant range of other issues that today are leading to increasing levels of injustice, poverty, inequality, racial and ethnic oppression, voter repression, and many issues that are stalled by corporate oppression.
- Return the leadership role that the United States has traditionally enjoyed in the world and by our example, to set a precedent for other nations to follow suit.
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