Biblical Eyesight Emerging Forefront
This week in my home state of Kentucky, a bill was introduced in the Senate to extend the amount of gambling we have hear in the state. The Senate struck down the bill not allowing the bill to move forward. The proposed bill was going to allow Casino gaming in the state and give the current main source of gambling, horse racing, more ways to earn revenue through other means like slot machines. Those who were for the bill said this would be good for the economy.
The current govenor of the state, Steve Beasher, is the states loudest and most powerful supporter of the expanded gaming. He had this to say about the bill before the vote:
“The question is whether we’re going to listen to the people or whether we’re going to ignore them,” 1
He believed the majority of the people in the state wanted to have expanded gaming. He was reelected last year, and has been trying to use the wave of his victory to push his agenda. Many like him believe expanded gaming will be good for the economy, and will bring in more tax revenues that the state is in desperate need of.
On the other side of this issue is many promeniant pastors and church leaders who say allowing gambling to grow in Kentucky will only increase revenues for the state on the backs of the poor. Dr. Hershael York, pastor of Buck Run Baptist Church and my preaching professor at Southern Seminary, took an opportunity during a prayer he led during a joint session of the Kentucky General Assembly to bring his concerns about expanded gaming before God at this time by saying:
May they (the legislature) never resort to leveraging vice and avarice to pay our bills. Help us to admit that we cannot truly love our neighbor as ourselves and then scheme to get his money by enticing him with vain hope. May they not lead this state to share profits from an industry that preys on greed or desperation.
Help us to foster salaries and not slot machines; to build cars and enable jobs, not license casinos and seduce the simple into losing what they have. May our greatest concern not be that we get our share of the family’s losses but we that we foster a sense of hope and justice that creates opportunity and leads to success. 2
Dr. York and others church leaders in Kentucky have been challenging the state to find other ways to bring jobs into Kentucky instead of saying more gambling is the only solution.
I have mixed feelings over the issue. I see where the governor is coming from. The resession has not been gentle to the state. In fact, unemployment is still high and the states revenues continues to drop. I know how this feels because my wife was laid off in 2010 right before our second child was born. Our family knows the pain of losing a job. At the time she was the main source of income for our family, and we made to make some adjustments in order to stay afloat. God is faithful, and He has provided for us. I know the govenor is looking for solutions for people like us, who have been strugling with job loss and tough times.
The main problem I have with this is, I do not think people want to be card dealers and slot machine mechanics to be their career futures. I think Kentucky is better than that. Why not have the focus to be bring more manufactoring and small businesses to state. Worl at being the number one source for small businesses instead of the number one place for slot machines. We need to builders not gamers. Our state needs real and sustainable growth brought about by a stronger education system parterning with our already strong universities (The University of Kentucky and the University of Louisville). I feel like expanded gaming is a cope out and not a desire to find real solutions for our state.
On a spiritual level, if we look at how the Bible sees the poor; we understand God does not approve of when people take advantage of the poor for financial gain. The Bible contains more than over 300 verses on the issue of the poor. Jesus spent a great deal of His time on earth ministering to the poor. God said this about the poor in Isaiah 41:17,
Isaiah 41:17 NLT
“When the poor and needy search for water and there is none,
and their tongues are parched from thirst,
then I, the LORD, will answer them.
I, the God of Israel, will never abandon them. NLT
God will always look at for those less fortunate, and as His church we should do the same. I think the best way for those in Kentucky to do that is by telling the governor and our elected to leaders to not allow extended gaming to the be all end all. Look for ways to make the state more small business friendly, and grow our state by having us build things not gamble them away.
Note: I wrote this blog from my phone. Some of the links are to different mobile sites. Sorry for the inconvience.
-Joe away from home