So Much For Hobby Lobby: Wal-Mart Wins Right To Suppress Christian Shareholders (VIDEO)

A group of 44 lawyers who argued against Hobby Lobby before the Supreme Court last year said this:

Allowing a corporation, through either shareholder vote or board resolution, to take on and assert the religious beliefs of its shareholders in order to avoid having to comply with a generally-applicable law with a secular purpose is fundamentally at odds with the entire concept of incorporation. Creating such an unprecedented and idiosyncratic tear in the corporate veil would also carry with it unintended consequences, many of which are not easily foreseen.

At that time, the highest court in the United States disagreed, ruling that corporations could certainly avoid following laws due to religious beliefs.

Yet, just this week, in a suit filed by Trinity Church against Wal-Mart Stores Inc. a federal appeals court ruled that shareholders can’t impart their religious beliefs onto a corporation.

Back in 2012, the Wal-Mart corporation made CNN’s list of the top 9 “religious companies” in America. According to Lake Lambert III, who wrote the book on the subject of religious corporations, called “Spirituality Inc.,” the Walton family claims that “Christian servant leadership models” were used to build the company from the ground up.

According to the right wing Bible, a corporation’s one and only responsibility is to its shareholders. But what happens when Christian shareholders sue the supposedly “religious corporation” of Wal-Mart, in hopes of swaying the corporation away from decisions which they believe “offend family and community values”?

Wal-Mart fights them all to federal court, and wins.

In February of 2013, a group of 30 law professors joined Trinity church in a suit against the company. The church wanted shareholders to have the right to vote on whether the company should sell products that “might endanger public safety, hurt Wal-Mart’s reputation, or offend “family and community values” which they believe are “integral to Wal-Mart’s brand”.

Wal-Mart responded by claiming that shareholders have no right to participate in such decisions.

The suit, which would have allowed shareholders to vote on whether the company would sell controversial products, or products which violate the religious beliefs of shareholders, has been winding its way through the courts for the past 14 months. It finally reached the 3rd US Circuit Court of Appeals on April 14. The court ruled in favor of Wal-Mart, tossing out a previous order from a lower court, which would have allowed shareholders to have a voice in the types of products the company offers for sale.

The company’s choice to sell certain products, especially guns with clips which hold more than 10 rounds and weapons which have been used in mass shootings like the one at Sandy Hook Elementary, was a motivating factor in the church’s decision to sue the company.

If you ever need an example of right wing hypocrisy, this suit provides several. It should come as no surprise that the supposedly “religious” corporation of Wal-Mart has no problem trampling on the religious beliefs of shareholders. When it comes to the Ayn Randian philosophies of the right regarding corporate governance, it seems shareholders really aren’t so important after all.

The court’s decision in this case contradicts the Hobby Lobby decision on every level. A corporation, in and of itself, cannot have a ‘sincerely held religious belief’ about anything. A corporation is nothing but a piece of paper. The ‘sincerely held religious beliefs’ of a corporation are defined by the human beings that own it, in other words, a majority of the shareholders.

According to the Trinity v Wal-Mart decision, however, the religious beliefs of shareholders are of no consequence.

In light of Hobby Lobby, this ruling makes no sense. If shareholders, the actual owners of corporations, don’t have the right to define the religious beliefs of a corporation, who does?

This video from Mark Fiore, which was published to YouTube in April of last year (prior to the Hobby Lobby decision) sums up “corporate religious liberty,” cartoon-style.

*Featured image via