Dear Editor:

Jeff Neal’s Feb. 1, 2006 editorial began by asking the question: “Is gambling bad for most Kentuckians?” He spoke especially about legalizing casino gambling in our state. His personal comments were in favor of it, alleging:

(1) It “doesn’t sound so bad”.

(2) “People are going to do it” anyway.

(3) (paraphrased) The lottery has brought us lots of money.

(4) (paraphrased) Casino gambling would also bring us lots of money.

Our disagreement with Mr. Neal’s ideas here, and on various other issues, is that he always presents his case as if he, and all of us, are only secular men and women — he never mentions the responsibility that we have to God and the Bible. Instead, his personal comments just cited, and his other comments throughout his article concerned casino gambling merely as a money issue, which could make or break people monetarily. Mr. Neal is wrong, terribly wrong, and we shall address that side of this issue in just a moment. For right now, though, we shall consider his comments in favor of casino gambling on just the secular basis or merits on which he wants us to view it.

Now if his alleged secular, or mere monetary reasons in favor of it are truly legitimate, they must also be allowed to promote other behaviors which society calls “vices” and God calls “sin”. For example, everything he claimed in favor of bringing legalized casino gambling into Somerset and throughout Kentucky could also be said of bringing legalized brothels and legalized prostitution (legalized fornication and adultery for hire) into Somerset and throughout Kentucky. If not, he must give consistent answer, why not? For example …

(1) He would have to admit that a number of people would say that “it doesn’t sound so bad”.

(2) He would also have to admit that many “People are going to do it” anyway.

(3) He would have to admit that legalized brothels and prostitution (legalized fornication and adultery for hire) has brought lots of money to Las Vegas and various other counties in Nevada where casino gambling became legalized long ago.

(4) Thus, it would also have to be admitted that legalizing brothels and prostitution could bring in more revenue (an “economic” or “money” thing issue) to our community and state.

Now, I doubt any editorials from him to this effect will be forthcoming. But my point is that the alleged reasons he used for legalizing casino gambling can obviously be used to also legalize many other things not generally accepted at present. By logic, what proves too much, proves nothing — i.e., his alleged secular or monetary reasons proved more than he bargained for, thus prove nothing.

Should he or anyone else try to simply laugh the parallels off as ridiculous, think again. The old phrase “birds of a feather, flock together”, certainly applies here. For it is an historical fact that where legalized casino gambling has gone, so also has gone the many other “vices” (God calls them “sins”, Rom. 6:23) which normally “flock” around it. If legalized casino gambling, why not legalized prostitution? If legalized prostitution (men and women), why not legalized homosexual marriages and homosexual prostitution houses? The sky would be the limit, you see. And there would be no stopping place in sight, as long as “the voters decide” (not God) what is right or wrong. Such increasing wickedness is always the case where a society does not honor and abide by the moral boundary lines which God has placed upon all of us (Romans 1:19-32).

Mr. Neal said: “Let’s allow the voters decide”. But what he and many others consistently fail to do is to distinguish between

(1) political freedom to vote, and

(2) “Truth”. By “Truth” I don’t just mean things factually correct, I mean a standard of “Truth”. There is an ultimate standard of moral “Truth” (John 17:17), established and enforced by God (John 12:48), which is God’s Word (John 17:17), which his editorial did not acknowledge. And until he does, we will always disagree on the matters about which he has written. Believe me, I would be pleased to hear him tell us he would in fact oppose such other things ever being legalized here or anywhere else.

So let all the readers be informed, we are indeed blessed to enjoy many precious political freedoms. But NOWHERE, I mean NOWHERE and at NO TIME, does anyone have the right to claim something “doesn’t sound so bad” when God says it is wrong! (I Cor. 6:9-10; Gal. 5:19-21; Rev. 21:8) As long as God exists, and He is “eternal” (Isaiah 57:15), it will always be so!

Bible Reasons

Gambling Is Wrong

For those who make all decisions of life based upon the fact God exists and that His authority over us must be acknowledged and obeyed (Colossians 3:17; John 12:48; II Thess. 1:7-9; II Cor. 5:10; Matt. 7:21), we must be clear about the fact that gambling in any form is a morality issue, and on what basis God says it is morally wrong.

Gambling is morally wrong for at least three Bible reasons:

(1) Its motivation is essentially “covetousness” (Col. 3:5) — the greedy desire to gain others’ monies, etc., but not by means of one of God’s authorized Laws of legitimate economy (See #3 below.).

(2) Its fruits are evil (Matt. 7:16, 20). Even Mr. Neal admitted some of them regarding “Peter Rose” and “poor slobs”. Giant billboards around our state already post phone numbers for help to those “addicted” to gambling. Its horrors, not just to “Pete Rose”, but to millions of other people, are already well-known. It hooks people into its grasp by its huge monetary promises, which are not true. Just a few days ago, on Jan. 26, 2006, Governor Ernie Fletcher stated that Kentucky’s general fund had to supply huge amounts of money for scholarships that the state’s lottery, (which Neal touted) did not supply. Casino gambling would also haul billions of Kentucky dollars up the river or down the river, but either way, it will be out of our state and into the pockets of the Las Vegas casino gambling types.

(3) It violates God’s Laws of legitimate economy. The Bible only authorizes the exchange of property, goods, or services between people in three ways:

(a) The Law of honest decent labor in exchange for property, goods, or services (Eph. 4:28a);

(b) The Law of love, whereby we willfully, cheerfully give property, goods, or services to others (Eph. 4:28b); and

(c) The Law of equal exchange, as viewed by both parties. Examples are where one produces a legitimate product for sell (Acts 18:3), or when one willfully, cheerfully trades some property, goods, or services for others deemed to be of equal value. These constitute the lawful business world of everyday life God has authorized.

But gambling is not one of the above ways which God has authorized for the exchange of property etc.

(1) For the gambler seeks to gain the properties of others where no labor is expended to acquire them.

(2) When he does win them from others, it is not love which motives the giver, but only regret or even hatred for having lost their property to the one who wins.

(3) And gambling is not based upon the Law of equal exchange, for the kind of exchange the gambler wants is to gain or take a million dollar winning for only a one dollar chance, etc.

Gambling by definition is where one hazards some of their property etc. against that of another or others, to be lost, or to win theirs, based solely upon a freely chosen element of chance, whether it be the spin of a roulette wheel or the turn of a card. Thus, gambling in all forms is an unauthorized way to exchange property etc. It is what God calls an unlawful “addition” to the three ways He only allows for legitimate economy (Rev. 22:18-19).

(Note: Gambling is not to be confused with life’s daily risks. Some try to allege that gambling is no more wrong than the risk one takes in crossing the street or in planting a crop. They claim one is “betting his life” or “betting his livelihood” in doing these things. These claims are not true. In the first place, when one crosses the street, the risks which may be encountered are not deliberately chosen and brought into play. And second, one does not stand to gain the property of others because he successfully crosses the street, nor are others deliberately participating so that they may gain his properties if he fails to make it across. Just because there are natural risks in daily life, does not mean one is a gambler because he lives his life in spite of those risks. The farmer would gladly labor without the natural risks involved. But you cannot have gambling without contriving the element of chance. Neither can you gamble without the willing participation of others. -- Points here borrowed from Mr. Gene Frost, Louisville, Ky.)

Willie Ramsey

Somerset, KY 42501

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