In my last installment I told you what the great President Theodore Roosevelt had to say about our responsibilities concerning environmental stewardship. Now it is God’s turn.
That’s right: God.
The reason I am documenting God’s wishes through his Holy Scripture is because we have so many state and federal elected representatives who repeatedly tell us that we are “a nation built on Christian values.”
They are likely to oppose issues like organized horse or dog racing on moral grounds because folks would bet on the outcome of races. They oppose legal casino gambling and let the buses and planes take local folks who want to gamble to neighboring states or Las Vegas – ignoring a mountain of prospective tax revenue while they continually cannot come to an agreement to raise the gas tax enough to pay for the repair of our crumbling roads and bridges.
They claim that gambling would cut into our moral fiber and increase crime. I guess that they or their staff never bet on a football game or got in on a NASCAR pool. They never drove up to Little River to get on the gambling boats either – and surely they never bought a lottery ticket or went to a cash bingo parlor.
All of that is gambling. But they feel the need to draw the moral line at a certain point. It doesn’t matter that race tracks or casinos would create thousands of jobs; not just in the venues – but through the entire hospitality industry, as people would come during the off season and put heads in beds.
It doesn’t matter that the residents of South Carolina are overwhelmingly for these activities. The legislators feel the need to be our moral compass. Is that what we elected them to do?
While you think about that, let me get back to God. You can Google ‘scriptural references for environmental stewardship’ and find dozens of pages with specific versus described. One of my favorites is Leviticus 25:23-24 - “The land shall not be sold in perpetuity, for the land is mine; with me you all are but aliens and tenants. Throughout the land that you hold, you shall provide for the redemption of the land.”
I am not even close to being a preacher, so I will stop there. But the land we confiscated from Native Americans and fought the British for independence on looks remarkably different now than it did then – or even a hundred years ago – and not in a good way at all.
Since I came here in 1967, there have often been editorials which basically said, “There must be a balance between development and conservation.”
History has shown that there really has been no balance at all. Mother Nature has been taking it on the chin from we greedy humans for over 300 years – and there is no end in sight.
Our “moral compass” legislators have been very busy lately continuing that trend:
- They have been pushing a bill (flying in the face of ‘home rule’) trying to eliminate the ability of local governments to find solutions to local problems, like the plastic pollution that is clogging our estuaries, waterways and ocean.
- They are also pushing a bill which would take away the legal ability for neighboring landowners to take legal action ensuring the safe and healthy enjoyment of their property.
- They are also working to eliminate the Automatic Stay, a legal tool that allows citizens to challenge permitting decisions before the permit is granted and significant harm occurs. The lawmakers are aiming this action at “environmental zealots.” First of all, the AS is available to all citizens for a plethora of reasons. Secondly, the record shows that the AS is not being abused. In the last ten years, hundreds of thousands of permits have been issued where the AS could have been exercised but was only 54 times!
- The “moral compass” boys are also hard at work to pinch the budget of agencies which manage our natural resources and conserve land for current and future generations. They have conducted an all out witch hunt on the Land Conservation Bank, an agency which has protected more than 295,000 acres state wide at an average cost of only $520 and acre.
Do you think your legislators are adhering to their “Christian values” with these actions? Or are they grossly overreaching their legislative authority, ignoring their responsibilities to conserve our resources and environment – and ignoring the welfare of the citizenry?
The writer lives in Murrells Inlet.