LOUISVILLE, Ky. (KT) – Kentucky’s largest religious organization has again voiced its opposition to gambling in hopes of heading off yet another push to bring casinos into the state.
Messengers to the Kentucky Baptist Convention’s annual meeting at Highview Baptist Church’s east campus in Louisville unanimously passed a resolution opposing a legislative proposal to legalize gambling. A resolution calling for prayer on behalf of people hurting from mass shootings, cataclysmic storms and other tragedies also passed unanimously, as did a resolution calling for passage of a law to protect the rights of victims of violent crime.
Pro-gambling lawmakers triggered the first resolution by again drafting legislation that seeks to end Kentucky’s constitutional ban on casino gambling to raise money for the state’s financially troubled government pension system.
“The Kentucky Baptist Convention has a long history of opposing gambling in its various forms, including casinos and so-called instant racing parlors,” the resolution reads. “Gambling violates the principle of neighbor-love, necessitating the financial loss and harm of many for the gain of a few.”
The resolution lists several longstanding biblical arguments against gambling, saying that:
•Gambling violates the principle of lordship, tempting individuals to trust chance rather than God, who provides for people’s needs.
•Gambling violates the principle of work, looking to gain something for nothing, hoping for easy money rather than pursuing responsible industry, investment, and labor.
•Gambling violates the principle of the civil magistrate, causing governments to prey on their own citizens rather than protecting them and seeking their good.
•Gambling violates the principle of contentment, enticing individuals to greed and covetousness in the hope that in winning, others will lose.
•Gambling violates the principle of good stewardship, encouraging reckless and careless speculation with resources entrusted to them by the Lord.
• Gambling violates the principle of the Golden Rule, attempting to do to others what you do not want them to do to you.
•Gambling violates the principle of freedom, inciting destructive desires and enslaving many to habits that lead to financial ruin and broken relationships.
The resolution urges leaders at all levels of government to end state-sponsored gambling, to curtail all forms of destructive gambling, and to address its harmful effects through policy and legislation.
“We encourage our convention leaders, entities, and pastors to continue to educate Southern Baptists on the deceptive sin of gambling,” the resolution says. “We urge our fellow Kentucky Baptists and all other followers of Christ not to participate in the sin of gambling.”
One of the resolutions put the spotlight on a long list of tragedies that have caused great pain to people across the country.
“Our nation has been shaken by cataclysmic storms, mass shootings, daily violence in cities across the land, heartache caused by an epidemic of substance abuse, and other factors that have brought pain and suffering for people of all ages, including helpless children,” the resolution said.
It went on to “humbly acknowledge God’s absolute control over the world He created” and to “call on all Christians to recommit themselves to intercessory prayer on behalf of a people who desperately need His intervention.”
The third resolution said crime victims in Kentucky need greater rights and encourages passage of “Marsy’s Law” as a means to bring that about. The proposal is named for a woman who was stalked and killed by her ex-boyfriend.
“Marsy’s Law seeks to correct that imbalance of justice by establishing some key constitutional basic rights for victims of crime such as the right to be heard, right to notice of proceedings, the right to be present at proceedings, and standing to enforce these rights,” the resolution said. “The absence of protections creates an imbalance of justice for victims already facing tragic loss and/or physical or emotional trauma while navigating a complex legal system that does not protect them with the same ferocity that it does the accused and convicted.”
Under the resolution, the Kentucky Baptist Convention has formally endorsed Marsy's Law and calls on the everyone to make their support for the measure known to legislators and elected officials.