Michael Greenman

Michael Greenman is a member of Unitarian Universalists for a Just Economic Community (Congregational Representative) at the First Unitarian Universalist Church of Columbus. He is a Lead-Coordinator, Move to Amend (Central Ohio)

Communities of Faith Coming Together to “Right the Wrongs” that Violate our Beliefs, Values, Principles, and Doctrines Every Day.

Michael Greenman recently retired as the Executive Director of the Glass Manufacturing Industry Council (GMIC), located in Westerville, Ohio.

Since 2000 he has focused on efforts to eliminate Corporate Personhood.  As a member of the First Unitarian Universalist Church of Columbus, Michael is the “lead-coordinator” of the MTA affiliate: “Move to Amend – Central Ohio”.  He recently led a team of UUs who, during the denomination’s annual gathering, obtained the denomination’s approval to encourage congregations all around the country to focus on supporting the passage of a constitutional amendment to declare that “corporations are not persons” and “money is not speech”.

Michael did his undergraduate work at Carleton College in Northfield, Minnesota, and earned a degree in Romance languages from the University of Minnesota.  He has fluency in several languages and has lived in 10 countries.

Michael’s professional career prior to entering the glass industry covers 9 years in the U.S. Navy, where following service locations including Iceland and Cuba he resigned his commission as a Lieutenant in Public Affairs.  20 years in international business with Caterpillar and John Deere followed with assignments to South America, the Far East, Europe, Africa and the Middle East.  He was Executive Director of a London-based fund management firm, a Third World development organization, and Founder/Coordinator of a European-based “International Business Network” seeking to bring human values into the business world.  He also used an SEC Series 7 certification as a Financial Advisor to recommend and sell socially screened investments to his clients.

Problem:  The growing understanding around the nation regarding the enormous negative impact that “corporate personhood” has on so many aspects of our society is being addressed primarily as a practical, political, environmental or social challenge.  We see the negatives from a perspective of “reason”: “such wrongs should not occur in a democratic nation.”  We use our brains and logic to labor against each individual abuse.  We come at the issues from thousands of different points of view – depending on which issue angers us the most!  We seek to correct the specific issue: environmental degradation, declining educational quality, non-existent healthcare system, political corruption, etc.  We struggle in compartmentalized initiatives missing the broader picture: as people of Faith, the damage that is done is fundamentally a violation of our fundamental values, our beliefs, our doctrine, our statements of faith, regardless of which path we are on!

Solution: Unitarian Universalists, during our 2013 General Assembly in Louisville, KY, approved an “Action of Immediate Witness” (AIW) entitled: “Amend the Constitution: Corporations are not Persons and Money is not Speech”.  Based on the proposal by “Move to Amend”, a national coalition of organizations seeking to restore true democracy, it instructs UUs everywhere, from our Organizing Association (UUA), all the way to each individual congregation, to support and endorse this constitutional amendment AND to work with other faith traditions to accomplish this action.  During a workshop as a part of the “Democracy Convention” in Madison, Wisconsin in August, representatives of 9 different faith traditions came together to discuss this possibility.  We made a first step at identifying shared values and beliefs that are violated by the actions of corporations.  Our first steps came up with: “Love thy Neighbor”, “Preference for the Poor”, and “Stewardship of Creation”.  We have made a beginning at coming together to consider and act against corporate personhood from our hearts and souls, rather than only from our brains and logic.  This “shift” can be tremendously powerful in achieving our goal of creating a true democracy of, by, and for the people.  Let’s explore how we can drive this interfaith movement forward to final success!