One of the country's most successful prison ministries, Prison Fellowship Ministries, founded by Watergate figure Chuck Colson, who became a Christian while serving his prison term for his role in that scandal, and now run by former Virginia Attorney General Mark Early, is headquartered in Lansdowne, in Loudoun County. It's success in transforming the lives of convicts is praised by people across the political, religious and professional spectrum. So why would anyone want to single it out from a Virginia law that exempts non-profit groups from paying property taxes? One would have to ask liberal Loudoun Supervisor Stevens Miller, but suddenly trying to squeeze taxes out of a non-profit pretty much tells an organization it's not wanted.
His stated purpose, as reported in Leesburg Today:
Supervisor Stevens Miller (D-Dulles) said he was interested in looking at whether the Prison Fellowship Ministries Foundation was still eligible for tax exemption, claiming the Lansdowne-based organization discriminated based on religion by only serving Christians, a point which other members of the committee disputed.
It all started when the Board looked at how it could suck more revenue out of the private sector and into its own coffers. But after examining what these non-profits do for the county — including a medical institute that contributes more than $1 million annually to the county's fire-rescue and public school systems, and a retired Air Force officers community that contributes tens of thousands of dollars to fire-rescue and in student scholarships — it had a tri-partisan epiphany as Board members Republican, Democrat and independent backed off. Except for Mr. Miller (see Crystal Clear Conservative.) Again, from Leesburg Today:
"I am requesting an investigation," Miller said. "Otherwise these exemptions will continue in perpetuity and who knows if the organizations have evolved into something we don't want to [support]. That's a lot of assessed value."
So, there you have it. It's either too Christian or too rich in Mr. Miller's typically liberal view. Either way, it is a prime target for that mindset, regardless of the evidence his colleagues presented. Maybe Mr. Miller has watched too many horror movies of late — it might evolve into something verrry scaaary.
A successful Christian ministry in Loudoun County that helps inmates evolve into better, productive people? God forbid, right, Mr. Miller?