A Prayer for the Commonwealth

Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear, left, greets KBC Executive Director Paul Chitwood just prior to the State of the Commonwealth Address Jan. 4.

KBC Executive Director Paul Chitwood was invited to offer the invocation for a joint session of the General Assembly gathered to hear the governor’s 2012 State of the Commonwealth Address on Jan. 4.

Click here to see the video of the entire joint session with the governor’s speech.

In part, Dr. Chitwood prayed:

Lord let us never fall prey to seeking solutions to our current problems by betting our future prosperity on new vices rather than timeless virtues.

Unfortunately, just after Dr. Chitwood prayed, Gov. Steve Beshear proposed a constitutional amendment that would allow up to nine casinos across Kentucky. The governor gave almost no details in his speech but the idea is certainly bad public policy. Casinos suck up revenue from the economies of the surrounding communities like vacuum cleaners. It’s a bad idea any time but is especially so when our economy is so weak and families are hurting.

Regarding the gambling expansion proposal, Dr. Chitwood wrote the following on his blog at PaulChitwood.com.

The Kentucky Baptist Convention is adamantly opposed to expanded gambling in Kentucky. The tragic consequences for children and families have been documented and should cause every Kentucky Baptist to immediately pick up the phone and urge their governor to abandon his personal commitments to the gambling industry for the sake of those he has been elected to lead and protect. Moreover, I am urging every Kentucky Baptist to contact their legislators and request that those legislators act responsibly by doing everything within their power to block expanded gambling in Kentucky.

Kentucky Baptist Convention staff and members of the Mission Board’s Committee on Public Affairs are continuing to use every communication means at our disposal to raise the awareness of Kentucky Baptists to this issue. We believe that if Kentucky Baptists will speak with a clear and united voice, elected officials will respond and once again refuse to bet on expanded gambling.

The governor keeps making the same argument for expanding gambling, stating that the money Kentuckians spend to gamble in other states should be spent in the Commonwealth. His flawed logic can be discerned when you apply it to other issues. For example, I spend about $25 per month to have my trash hauled away. I could save that money if I chose to dump it in my backyard instead but I really don’t want a trash heap where my kids play so I’ll gladly see the money leave my checking account. Our subdivision prohibits residents from having swine. I could probably make a little money raising pigs but, at the end of the day, I’m glad to live where I don’t have to smell them.

Will some Kentuckians spend their money on gambling? It’s a poor choice but, yes, some Kentuckians will spend their money on gambling. Does that mean we should invite the stench of corruption into our state? Should we bring the trash heap closer to our families? I don’t think so. And, again, Kentucky Baptists, if they speak with a clear and united voice, can speak loudly enough to turn back the tide on expanded gambling.

This gambling proposal is very pressing as the State Senate could be voting on it very soon.

Please call the toll-free Legislative Message Line at (800) 372-7181 and leave a kind but firm phone message for your state senator. (The receptionist will help you with who your senator is when you tell her your county). Leave this message: “Stand against any expansion of gambling.”

The message line is open 7 a.m. – 11 p.m. EST Monday through Thursday and 7 a.m.-6 p.m. on Friday.

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