Religion, Inc.

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By Gary Brumback

America’s churches, synagogues and mosques can be thought of as places of business as well as worship. Individually and collectively they are Religion, Inc. and not really all that different from Corporations, Inc. This short essay makes some sweeping generalizations that nevertheless should be self evident about the commonalities between the two entities.

Both are places of worship. Both have leaders. Both depend on “Mother” government. Both have never seen a U.S. declared or undeclared war they didn’t start, promote, or defend. Both have brick and mortar pyramids. Both make rules for their members. Both indoctrinate. Both peddle.

Places of Worship

Both entities are places of worship. Corporations exalt money that buys tangibles. Religion, Inc. exalts both tangible and intangibles.

Main image above: The obscenely rich and successful (in American terms) protestant preacher Joel Osteen and his Barbie Doll wife Victoria. They preside over the enormous Lakewood Church empire in Houston, one of the city’s 37 megachurches. Charlatanism is too good a word, yet the government, in cahoots with such rackets, pretends to respect religion. 


No religious organization or corporation operates without leadership. I have written elsewhere that corporate leadership is characteristically evil; that is, profoundly immoral, socially irresponsible, and engages in harmfully consequential behavior.1 My claim is not unjustified, judging from the 257 examples of incidents drawn from various industries that I listed in “The Different Police Gazette.”

Megapreacher Billy Graham took care of absolving many US presidents of their serial criminality.

While corporate leadership has far more “badvantageous” situations giving advantages to bad behavior than has Religion Inc., it doesn’t lag far behind in its evilness. Does pedophilia come to mind as it does mine? Or consider these particular instances: promoting, defending or tolerating declared and undeclared wars as already mentioned; violent crimes; tax evasion; taking minors across state lines for sex; sexual intercourse with a female minor; soliciting an undercover FBI informant to kill a federal judge; involvement in the murder of two people and plotting to kill another person; disorderly conduct and battery; fraud and conspiracy; petty theft; grand theft and racketeering; targeting female worshipers for sex; and ad infinitum. As for the last one, a survey found that “one in every 33 women who attend worship services regularly has been the target of sexual advances by a religious leader.”3

Surrogate Murderhood

If war is an act of murder as Einstein fervently believed, then indirect or surrogate murder is a specialty of the war and ammo industries and a beneficiary of Religion, Inc. Nothing more needs to be said about those two industries. As for Religion, Inc., were it not for its record of either engaging in war, promoting it or acquiescing to it, one would think organized religion would be a natural ally of and prominent activist for peace. That has never been the case from the beginning of religion to now with its religious intolerance and its belief in the apocalypse.

A few years ago I wrote the leaders of major coalitions of organized religions who provide overall leadership and guidance for over 180 million Americans and proposed that those leaders unite against America’s endless warring.4 I got no response, undoubtedly because of their engrained beliefs and unwillingness to risk losing favors from the U.S. government.

Government’s Motherhood

America’s corporations are a creature of the state. They exist only because the state charters them. Corporations then feed at “our” government’s trough non-stop, costing tax payers billions of dollars every year. Let me enumerate in no particular order some of the ways corporations are fed to keep them in the black instead of floundering and failing: tax breaks; cash grants;  interest-free loans; bail-outs; debt forgiveness; discounted insurance; low-interest loans; depreciation write-offs; rent rebates; excessive payments to contractors; given public resources; loan guarantees; price support loans; R & D funding; privatization of public services (privatization is a big government handout because corporations profit considerably with little initial investment); and free trade agreements.

It supposedly separates religion and state, but the U.S. Constitution has rarely prevented unconstitutional happenings when the power elite is determined to make them happen, as in the case of Religion, Inc being exempt from paying property taxes. Donations to churches are also tax-deductible. Hundreds of billions of dollars worth of property are owned by Religion, Inc.; billions that are lost for meeting the needs of the general citizenry.

Pecking Order

The ancient pyramid is still the prevalent form for organizing big business and big religion. The pyramid is designed to function as a pecking order; descending orders from the top and the doing at the bottom.

Rules, Rules and More Rules

Rulers make rules, ranging from the simply stated to indecipherable bureaucratese. All rules are intended to control behavior, including covert behavior, or thinking. In Corporations, Inc. rules are called policies. Rules are called sacred scriptures in Religion, Inc.

Mind Shaping

Joel and Victoria Osteen, owners of the Lakewood MegaChurch, in Texas, a thriving business.

Rule making is a more direct way to control behavior. Mind shaping ends there, but not before the thinking that leads to behavior is controlled. The most familiar form of mind shaping in Corporations, Inc. is of course, advertising. In Religion, Inc. the mind shaping is known as indoctrination. Its targets are barely out of the crib and the intent is to replace budding critical thinking with the habit of seeing is believing and not vice versa.


Corporations, Inc. sell products and services, accompanied by the caveat, buyer beware. Religion, Inc. sells the way to afterlife, accompanied by a different caveat; “be damned if you don’t buy.”


Big places of business and big places of worship are more alike than unalike, and you have probably known that for a long time, which is why this essay is short.

The one area where the two entities are more unalike than alike is in the compensation of their leaders. In that area there is no comparison. Corporations, Inc.’s leaders win hands down.


1. Brumback, G.B. An Evil Root. OpEdNews, March 8, 2017.

2. Ibid.

3.Salmo, J.L Many Women Targeted by Faith Leaders, Survey Says.              , September 10, 2009

4. Brumback, G.B. Coalitions of Religious Organizations on War: Rationalized, Hypocrisized, and Compromised. OpEdNews; Dissident Voice; February 12, 2016.


Gary Brumback, PhD is a retired psychologist and Fellow of both the American Psychological Association and the Association for Psychological Science. He is the author of The Devil’s Marriage: Break Up the Corpocracy or Leave Democracy in the Lurch; and America’s Oldest Professions: Warring and Spying. His most recent book is Corporate Reckoning Ahead. Gary can be reached at:  

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