Saturday, December 13, 2014

Religion & the Rain-Tax

Taxation without enough hesitation (to consider repercussions) in heavily democratic Maryland got so onerous that for only the fifth time in 45 years the citizens rose up mad as hell, said they wouldn't take it anymore, and elected a republican, Larry Hogan, to the state's top spot in November. A most unbelievable tax was recently imposed—something called the rain-tax, aka as the “storm-water remediation fee.” Citizens and institutions must pay a tax figured on the amount of rain-water (probably melted snow, too) that flows from their roofs, driveways, parking lots, maybe even umbrellas into Chesapeake Bay.

Presumably, anyone who can channel his offending H2O into another body of water—say, Lake Erie—gets off scot-free, but what a pipeline! Despite the fact that churches are not usually, if ever, required to pay taxes, like any other non-profit, on real estate or for police and fire protection and other government services, they are required to pay the rain-tax if their parking lots baptize the Chesapeake, according to Joseph Bottum of the Weekly Standard. The Chesapeake is holy ground, too holy for even holy water. Perhaps Pope Francis will look into this sacrilege, surely as important as his recent theological pronouncement that animals will go to heaven, presumably even the naughty ones.

But not to worry about those churches, at least in Prince George's County, especially the small congregations that would need life-support if the tax must be paid! All (or almost all) they need to do is install cisterns/rain-barrels, un-pave their parking lots and replace asphalt/concrete with rock (referred to in scripture as the church's foundation) or “permeable material,” and perhaps replace church roofs with sod—maybe even grow crops in season. If trees are planted in whatever surface will sustain them (maybe even bushes would suffice)...then—VOILA—the tax will be reduced.

Of course, anything government touches it also controls and usually corrupts one way or another. The partial-freebie includes the requirement that the church must become “green-oriented,” whether theologically apropos or not. Ostensibly, the objective is to keep pollutants from entering the bay. One wonders how making the churches conduct “green ministries” satisfies that objective, though the greenies probably claim that the church-rebates encourage some sort of filtering.

Since streets and big-box parking lots, not to mention their square-miles of tar-covered roofs, are saturated with oil, grease, dust and cigarette butts, one wonders if they will be plowed up—or even removed—and replaced with “permeable material” to filter that inevitable rain. Just thinking about it causes a dust-cough, not to mention thoughts of the streets back in the day when literal horsepower was the driver of transportation. Ugh! One can only imagine the runoff from the millions of horse-leavings lathering the streets and stables into the Chesapeake.

The methodology mirrors that of the black leaders in putting the arm on (or using) the churches for action in attaining civil rights...a sort of “what would MLK do” question concerning reversal of the climate. The Chesapeake is just the manmade-global-warming-hoax Jim Crow approach, dear to the president's heart. Who better to “get folks right with climate” (scare them out of global hell) than the preachers, who must now deliver “environmentally-focused sermons” in order to get the tax rebate...all in the name of the thoroughly discredited UN climate-gurus, not God, of course?

The darker side of this was reflected recently in Houston, where the mayor subpoenaed the sermons of some preachers that contained any references to sexuality and gender identity, running afoul of the city's gay-rights ordinance...in her opinion. After all, why shouldn't everyone be free to choose his/her own public bathroom? Almost overnight, she undid that piece of folly, and the preachers/churches in Prince George's County should take note. Those who settled this country did so largely to see that government never again infringe upon their right to freedom of religion and expression.

The mayor took her cue from the current federal approach to government, to wit, governance via fiat, aka executive orders. Explaining recently why he hadn't ordered up something some outfit wanted, the president said that he isn't an emperor. This was only partly right. He's an emperor with no clothes, and the mayor should take note of that.

In the meantime, maybe Maryland legislators should just ask the preachers to pray for seven years of drought, like what happened back in the day when the Israelites moved to Egypt to escape the famine so Joseph could save their bacon...literally. No rain—no problem—pure Chesapeake!

And so it goes.
Jim Clark

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