Gaming and God's people


“Finally, beloved, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is pleasing, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence and if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.” — Philippians 4:8

Last week, I had a visitor, a United Methodist concerned about the growth of gaming in our state and the unfulfilled promises of the gaming industry and the lack of public understanding of the impact of gaming on our economy and way of life.

As a result of this conversation, a gathering is scheduled for 1 p.m. Dec. 3 at the United Methodist Building in Jackson to have an expanded conversation on the role of the church in addressing gaming in our state.

The Social Principles of The United Methodist Church states that “gambling is a menace to society, deadly to the best interests of moral, social, economic, and spiritual life, and destructive of good government. As an act of faith and concern, Christians should abstain from gambling and should strive to minister to those victimized by the practice. . .The Church should promote standards and personal lifestyles that would make unnecessary and undesirable the resort to commercial gambling – including public lotteries – as a recreation, as an escape, or as a means of producing public revenue or funds for support of charities of government.” (Paragraph 163G)

Others have spoken to me of their concern – concern for the reality that the proceeds from gaming are going to the gaming industry beyond our state, concern for the local revenue displaced by the gaming industry, concern that the state Gaming Commission serves to promote gambling rather than to monitor it, concern that the gaming industry is not challenged to offer funds for assistance to those addicted to or victimized by gambling, concern for the way the coast is being rebuilt with priority consideration to the gaming industry.

Please pass on this invitation to those in your congregations who may be interested in this social issue. If you have questions, contact the office of Connectional Ministries. Any interested persons are welcome to join the conversation.