Several media outlets in the Keystone State have been reporting on plans to build a casino in the middle of Amish country, and what that would mean for the community. Likewise, impending online gambling across the Commonwealth is also making headlines.
The Pennsylvania Pastors Network (PPN, www.papastors.net) Executive Director Gary Dull is joining other faith leaders in the state to voice concerns over both issues.
“To many legislators and others across Pennsylvania, the expansion of gambling is a good idea for revenue increase that will contribute to satisfying budget needs,” Dull said. “But to many others, the concept of state-supported gambling is not a good idea at all. In fact, it is a terrible fiscal idea that will only lead to adverse personal and statewide corruption if not stopped.
“Various studies over the years have indicated that gambling has a myriad of negative results, including but not limited to the loss of individual jobs, the breaking up of families, the increase of alcohol abuse and an increase of crime,” he added. “Often, areas surrounding brick-and-mortar casinos have been known to lose value.”
American Pastors Network president and national radio and television host Sam Rohrer added that even though the mini casino expansion and online gambling efforts are already well in motion, residents can take action by being vocal about keeping gambling out of their communities and praying about the matter as well.
According to Fox News, “the region known as the gateway to Amish Country was selected by Penn National to host Hollywood Casino Morgantown, an 81,425-square-foot casino, featuring 750 slot machines, 30 table games, and an entertainment lounge.” And much of the conservative community is not happy, with worries that gambling will draw “crime, sex trafficking and predators” to the area.
Philly.com also reported earlier this month that online gambling will “go live” July 15.
“From a biblical perspective,” Dull said, “every form of gambling is immoral and sinful. Therefore, for a state like Pennsylvania to use revenue from gaming to fill the coffers is immoral and sinful, and in time, will no doubt lead to further immorality and corruption on all levels of government and society—from the public to the private sector.
“Gambling is an act of greed, or to put it another way, an addiction to the love of money,” he continued. “Many who indulge in gambling believe it is a quick way to become rich, but in reality it is a godless and illegitimate way to receive income.”
In February, Rohrer also penned a commentary for WFMZ about the casino controversy.
“A gambling casino located in Morgantown, Pennsylvania, is about as incongruous as a Planned Parenthood office in the basement of a church or a physician intentionally injecting a healthy patient with tuberculosis,” Rohrer wrote. “The rural and religious heritage of the Morgantown area, the pristine nature of the area as a gateway to Amish-dominated Lancaster County, and the conservative western Chester and Southern Berks Counties are clear and obvious.
“These deep cultural values reflected in the work ethic, historic moral standards, committed family life and neighbor-helping-neighbor lifestyles of our community stand in sharp contrast to the nature and results of gambling and the destructive addictions resulting from gambling, as well as the associated by-products of increased alcohol consumption and the frequent degenerating impacts on family life,” he added.
Read the full commentary here.