Why Should Communities of Faith and Ethical Convictions be particularly incensed by the widespread exercise by corporations of constitutional rights?
Move to Amend supporters who are members of faith, spiritual, and ethical communities see the intersection of the cause to end corporate rule and their beliefs that a higher power endows only living beings with inherent and inalienable rights. Love of money and power interfere with the observance of our respective values.
The Interfaith Caucus of Move to Amend, made up of members of religious and ethical communities, holds that the single-minded drive for profits by certain corporations degrades our environment and our society. Corporate power has come to dominate our existence through the legal fictions that corporations are people and that money is protected speech.
Corporations Are Not People
The Declaration of Independence declares that all people “are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights.” However, since the 1880s, the Supreme Court has given corporations, which are purely creations of the various states, many of the same rights as real people. This inappropriately elevates the state to the role of creator of rights and people.
Corporate rule makes it impossible for members of religious and ethical communities to practice their values like:
• Stewardship of the Earth
• Preference and Care for the Poor
• Respect for Human Dignity
Stewardship of the Earth
Climate Change: Corporations can spend unlimited money in politics to influence politicians to ignore science and ethics so they can continue to spew greenhouse gasses unchecked, overruling the will and needs of the people to curb climate change.
The earth and the natural world are gifts to be treasured, protected, and used wisely; not violated, torn apart, and sold for parts. However, many of the Constitutional Rights meant to protect people are used just for that purpose, in offense of our responsibility to be good stewards of creation and to provide for future generations.
EPA Inspections: Corporations can use the Fourth Amendment protection from searches and seizures to shut the door on government inspectors, buying them time to hide their violations of EPA regulations.
Environmental Regulations: Using the Fifth Amendment, corporations (Ex. Florida Rock Industries) can successfully sue for "taking" of their property when environmental regulations affect their profits, making it harder to create future necessary regulations.
Fracking: Cities and towns cannot stop fracking companies and other known corporate environmental abusers from operating in our communities due to the Fourteenth Amendment's Equal Protection Clause.
Preference and Care for the Poor
If money is speech, then only those with money have speech, and the poor are silenced. This creates a system that cares only for the rich at the expense of the poor.
Inequality: In 2009 the poorest 47% of Americans owned no wealth and in 2011 the richest 400 Americans owned as much as 80 million families.
More than 10 million children (21% of the total) now live in poverty, a six percent increase since 2000.
Food Insecurity: About 75% of farm subsidies go to the richest 10% of agro-corporations, sometimes paying them NOT to produce food, while people go hungry in every county in the country.
Bailed Out and Sold Out: Of $475 billion dollars the TARP bailout authorized in response to the 2008 financial crisis, nearly 75% went to the banks that caused the crisis, while less than 10% went to bail out their victims in danger of losing their homes.
Respect for Human Dignity
Corporate power prevents us from creating policy that demonstrates love for our neighbors and for the oppressed. It undermines our hopes for a society that respects human dignity and life.
Prisons: People of color are over‐represented by 12% more in for‐profit prisons than in public prisons. Some states promise full occupancy to prison corporations, motivating imprisonment, not protection for many.
Immigration: Private prison companies write discriminatory laws like Arizona’s SB1070 that calls for racial profiling and the jailing of immigrants not carrying documentation. They get these laws passed by funding state politicians and their campaigns of hate.
Peace: US military policy is determined not by the moral imperatives to strive for peace and to value the lives of the troops, nor even the principals of security and defense, but rather by the corporate, sometimes even foreign, interests of the defense industry.
Elders: Corporate assault on social security, rising health care and housing costs make it difficult, if not impossible, for many retirees to live with dignity.
Racial equality: US Corporatism relies on exploitation and oppression, with communities of color too often bearing the brunt of corporate rule. From the abolitionists through the Civil Rights Movement, faith and ethical communities have a long history of joining together to address racial violence and oppression. It is just as important today to recreate those alliances.
We invite all People of Faith and Ethical communities to join together to express these values and beliefs through action, to form or join Move to Amend affiliates and to focus our efforts on widening the coalition both within our denominations and beyond.
Actions for Communities of Faith and Ethical Convictions:
1) Leaders in congregations, with support of Interfaith Caucus members and materials, encourage their congregations to pass resolutions demanding the passage of the 28th “We the People” Amendment
2) Committed members of congregational teams expand the movement to other congregations within their denomination, coordinating the spread of resolution passage widely, and seek the support of appropriate organizations in their hierarchy (where appropriate)
3) Teams expand their activities within their interfaith circles to members and congregations of other denominations/religions/ethical organizations, and encourage them to follow the same process.
4) As denominations and ethical organizations pass resolutions, in collaboration with IFC and MTA organization, develop contacts with national legislative leadership to press for 28th Amendment passage.