Desperate times call for desperate measures. We’ve all heard that, and I suppose there’s a sense in which that is true. Right now, our economy is in a desperate time, and our state budget is in a mess. So, I suppose there’s a need for desperate measures, like budget cuts and university tuition raises (again).
But desperate times do not call for stupid measures. And best I can tell, at every level, casino gambling is a stupid, foolish decision.
Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear first promoted this as a key factor in his election campaign, promising $500 million dollars a year for education for our children, health care for our children (and poor people) and guaranteeing the future for our children. (Politicians really think we’re all suckers for anything with children). Only problem: even before the election was over, it came out that the reality was more like $300 million. But then, gambling proponents never seem to be that concerned about accuracy unless it’s their pay-out.
Now, with our budget shortfalls, the shift is on: casino gambling is the solution for all our budget ills. They are actually suggesting that we base necessary budget monies on the chance of casino revenues. Revenues that come from the pockets of the poorest Kentuckians. Estimates are that in order for the casinos to return the promised money, Kentuckians would have to lose $1.429 billion each year, or $357.25 for every man, woman and child in our state.
And we haven’t even started talking about the increased crime, the influence-peddling on politicians, the decline of virtue and morals in communities where casinos are placed (like Lexington), and on and on and on.
Now, here is the important thing to remember. All we keep hearing from the Governor and other politicians is that “just want to let the people decide” by making it a referendum on a state-wide ballot. Let me say this as kindly as I can: that is a lie. Our state constitution prohibits gambling, so a constitutional amendment is required. Amendments require that members of the legislature approve the amendment first. Citizens would then vote to ratify what the lawmakers have already approved. They cannot talk about passing the buck to the people; they will have to stand in line and lead the way.
Let me urge you to do six things:
1. Pray that our state would be saved from the moral, ethical, fiscal, personal, familial and community scourge of gambling.
2. Become informed on the issue, so you can speak knowledgably. Check out the newspaper, The Family Foundation of Kentucky and the Kentucky Baptist Convention’s Committee on Public Affairs for more information.
3. Call your state representatives and senator and urge them to oppose casino gambling. They need to know where the people they represent stand. Call the legislative message line at 1-800-372-7181 to leave your message. Make sure your spouse calls, too. Ask that your message also be passed to the legislative leaders in the House and Senate.
4. Call the Governor’s Office (1-502-564-2611)and leave the same message.
5. Write a brief, personal note to all of the above, expressing your opposition to casino gambling and urging them to vote against the proposed amendment.
(Important-in all calls and notes, be respectful, clear and honest. Don’t use a lot of religious language or make threats.)
6. Pray some more.