Set Us Free From Gambling

In 1973 California Governor Ronald Reagan said, “I would hate to see legalized gambling in California, nor do I favor a lottery. We ought to finance the state by the strength of our people and not by their weaknesses.”

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Look where time and legalization has taken us! A once golden state now teeters on the ragged edge of bankruptcy and thousands of families lives have been adversely affected by gambling addiction. The majority of politicians have gambled agen judi togel away our future and given us gambling outlets that are daily destroying families lives and their futures. We have fed a growing monster that now feeds on us and is protected and courted by most of our politicians.

Trouble spelled with a capital T is right here in river city! It is gambling in our town and all around our country and the world. Its subtle, invasive, destructive and addictive forces are evident in many communities around the world. Even church goers are participants with the rationalization that gambling is “harmless recreation”. It is no longer a matter of legality, but one of morality for those who choose to know the facts and are committed to wise stewardship.

There can be no denying that gambling destroys families. Gambling in any form is designed to separate people from their money. It is a deadly sly fox, an equal opportunity predator to the weak and the poor. Like pornography, gambling knows no boundaries and in its many forms exploits weakness, destroys children, families, marriages and dramatically increases suicides. It is no secret that greed, money, power and corruption are the drivers behind the gambling machine.

My neighbor recently shared this shocking story of his Uncle Ben, age 60, who regularly took his paychecks from his sales work and gambled them away. Ben was intelligent and excelled in his work. The gambling became an addiction that led him to jail for taking company sales proceeds to supplement that gambling habit. His last job was tending gas pumps for his nephew, my neighbor. With each pay check, Ben was off again to gamble it all away. He became depressed with mounting debts and losses. One day when Ben did not show up for work, his nephew found him dead. He took his own life with a bullet from his hunting rifle, in his garage. Ben’s life came to a tragic end as a direct result of his gambling addiction. Left behind were shocked and grieving family and friends whose lives will never be quite the same.

Another neighbor, who is a senior veteran member and investigator with the Police Department, told me that there is a corollary relationship between gambling and increased crime, suicide and substance abuse. The stories propagated by the gambling proponents and beneficiaries hype the “benefits of gaming” to gain community acceptance, when in reality the landscape is strewn with the untold stories of broken and destroyed lives. The cost to all of us is far greater than the much heralded benefits.

It is well documented from credible, scientifically conducted studies that gambling destroys families, undermines the work ethic, increases crime, motivates suicide, destroys financial security of individuals and families. Gambling has a major impact on the social and emotional well-being of any community. The social costs for all of us far offset the so called “benefits” in the attempt to buy public support and “sweep under the rug” the reality stories of its destructive effects.

Can responsible citizens be silent? Is this form of “entertainment and recreation”justified at the expense of the poor, the broken lives and families destroyed? Is gambling wise stewardship? More than 100 million Americans gamble $billions per year according to the Congressional Commission report. The estimates in the USA alone are $90 billion each year and that does not include unrecorded gambling and gaming. Globally estimates range from $600 to $900 billion each year. Many of these gamblers claim to be religious. Gambling, which often is motivated by a get rich quick greed, pain, boredom or desperation has a price. The price for love of money is high, but the price as applied to gambling is exacting a much higher price for many people in social costs, relational loss and productivity in our communities.

Is “the love of money is the root of all evil.” It is not the money but the love of money that spells Trouble with a capital T. If you love money, you will pay a high price for that obsession. We have inverted God’s divine order: We love things (money and the “toys” it buys), and we use people. God loves people and has created things for our enjoyment and careful stewardship. We tend to replace our confidence in God by the false hope of a lucky shot at gambling. People who forsake the Lord base their lives on luck and self-gratification. In contrast, God’s children live by His providence and operate by purposeful living and prayer, not by chance but by choice.”You cannot serve both God and money” according to Biblical reference Matthew 6:24.

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