The U.S. Supreme Court will soon decide whether for-profit corporations have First Amendment religious protection, so I wrote another educational blockbuster. (More)
I think I’m getting closer to my big Hollywood breakout. The other day I watched a movie and one of the actors looked at the camera and I could tell he was thinking: “I wish the BPI Squirrel had written this screenplay.” Or maybe he had a headache that day.
My cinematic oeuvre began with Tribalism and You, followed by the pulse-pounding and subtly romantic sequel, Tribalism and You Too. I even added clever product placement in Elitism and You. Mrs. Squirrel and our son Regis agreed that one had “BLOCKBUSTER” written all over it in big green ink, as they sipped their sponsored sports drink after the twins put down their sponsored and washable green markers. But Regis also said “ripped from the headlines” fiction is really big, so here goes:
[EXT. U.S. Supreme Court Building, push through to INT. courtroom. Legal drama music swells as camera pans from WENDY WORKER to BRUCE BOSS and up to bench.]
BAILIFF: Oyez, oyez, the Supreme Court of the United States is now in session.
[JUSTICES file in, led by CHIEF JUSTICE. They sit and CHIEF JUSTICE picks up paper from bench.]
CHIEF JUSTICE: In the case of Boss vs. Worker, the appellant argued his religious liberty was infringed when the trial court held that Worker was wrongfully fired under Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act after Boss reviewed company-installed surveillance video and discovered that Worker had engaged in oral intercourse with her husband at home, in violation of Boss’ religious beliefs and clearly written company policy on his employees’ moral obligations. The Circuit Court of appeals upheld the trial court. We reverse. The Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment clearly states that “Congress shall make no law … prohibiting the free exercise [of religion].” This Court held in Citizens United v. Federal Elections Commission that corporations are persons entitled to First Amendment protection for political speech. This Court expanded that protection in Sebelius v. Hobby Lobby holding that corporations are persons entitled to First Amendment protection for their religious beliefs, as stated by their owners. We now hold that Title VII of the Civil Rights Act violates the First Amendment, by denying business owners their free exercise of religion in enforcing moral standards plainly stated in employment handbooks.
[PAN to TAMMY sitting with TOMMY and his FATHER in courtroom. TAMMY stands.]
TAMMY: What about HER religious freedom?
CHIEF JUSTICE: [Bangs gavel.] Order in the court!
NARRATOR: Settle down, Tammy. Let’s learn about … Religious Freedom and You.
[Opening credits roll over images of Pilgrims coming ashore and kneeling in prayer, followed by images of “In God We Trust” on U.S. currency, and schoolchildren saying the words “under God” in the Pledge of Allegiance.]
NARRATOR: America is all about freedom of religion. It was founded by Christians who left England in search of religious freedom.
TOMMY: Oh baloney! The Puritans left England because the king wouldn’t enforce Puritan theology in English laws. They even wanted to make chess illegal. So they went to Holland, where they were welcome until the Puritans began demanding the Dutch laws enforce Puritan theology. Then they went back to England and came to North America, where they expelled or executed people who didn’t follow their theology.
NARRATOR: That’s right, Tommy. The Puritans were exercising their religious freedom, just like Bruce Boss.
TAMMY: So I ask again. What about Wendy Worker’s religious freedom?
[TOMMY nods to FATHER. FATHER smiles.]
NARRATOR: Wendy is free to quit her job and work for any employer who enforces moral values that she likes better, Tammy. That’s what religious freedom means: the freedom to work for a company that makes everyone follow the same religion you do.
TOMMY [Shaking head]: That’s just stupid. Should Bruce Boss also be able to tell Wendy and the rest of his workers how to vote, based on his religious beliefs?
[TOMMY glares up. FATHER nods.]
NARRATOR: In fact the Supreme Court will decided that very issue in Kochmart v. Civil Rights Division, when they held that employers could cast ballots on behalf of all employees. They reaffirmed that decision last year in Alabama vs. David Dissident, upholding Dissident’s conviction on voter fraud after he tried to vote when his employer had already cast a ballot for him.
TAMMY: So when I grow up I won’t even get to vote?
NARRATOR: Of course you can, Tammy. All you need to do is own a controlling share in a corporation, as the Court held in Kochmart. Then you can vote for all of your employees, and you can set their moral standards. If your employees don’t like how you vote or the rules you enforce, they can quit and find another job. That’s how the free market protects … Religious Freedom and You.
TOMMY [Puts hands on hips]: It sounds like we’ve gone from “corporations are people too” to “ONLY corporations are people.”
[TAMMY, TAMMY, and FATHER exchange high-fives.]
NARRATOR: That’s exactly what God told our Founding Fathers when they were writing the Constitution, Tommy. That’s why they chose “In God We Trust” as our national motto.
TAMMY: But the Framers DIDN’T choose “In God We Trust.” That didn’t become of our national mottos until 1956. The Framers chose “E Pluribus Unum,” a Latin phrase meaning “Out of Many, One.”
NARRATOR: That’s true, Tammy, and that’s exactly what the Court cited when they decided that one business owner should cast the ballots for hundreds or thousands of employees. Elections were too messy before.
TOMMY: “Too messy” meaning business owners couldn’t completely dominate their workers’ lives. [Rolls eyes.]
TAMMY [Takes TOMMY’s hand]: Let’s get out of here and get some ice cream.
NARRATOR: Careful, Tammy! Tommy’s dad works for a subsidiary of FRAFCO, the Fundamentalist Religion And Fracking Corporation. They don’t allow children under age 18 to date. If you two have that ice cream, Tommy’s dad will get fired.
[TOMMY looks at FATHER. FATHER winks. TOMMY turns to TAMMY.]
TOMMY: I’m glad this movie is fiction.
TAMMY: Me, too.
NARRATOR: Fiction for now, yes. But soon this really could be … Religious Freedom and You.
[Closing credits roll over EXT. U.S. Supreme Court as TAMMY, TOMMY, and FATHER walk down the steps to the National Mall, with closing music “God Bless America.”]
I’ll be waiting by the phone for those calls from Hollywood.
Good day and good nuts.