Sunday, March 20, 2005

Gambling Bill Besmirches Baptist Pastors

By Pam Maynard. Click "comments" for the article.


Blogger Mark Moore (Moderator) said...

Gambling Bill Besmirches Baptist Pastors

“With a Baptist preacher urging approval for the sake of his flock, the Arkansas House of Representatives on Tuesday {3/15/05} passed a pro-gambling bill that would allow voters to authorize more electronic wagering games at the racetracks in Hot Springs and West Memphis”, announced Arkansas Democrat-Gazette’s reporter, Jack Bleed, in the first paragraph of his story in the Arkansas Democrat Gazette, 3-16-05 (See entire story below) Bleed points out next that the bill was then passed on to another Baptist Preacher, Governor Huckabee.

Another Gazette article reports that Huckabee, though he possesses veto power, announced Wednesday his decision to succumb to the pressures and let SB999 ride unopposed into law. He said it would be "a total waste" to try to veto the bill, because he thinks it would just be overridden.

I hope this is enough to make everyone e-mail or call Governor Huckabee at Phone -501-682-2345. Huckabee himself criticized how the legislature rammed this 16 page bill through from start to finish in 8 days. By vetoing it, he could slow the process down and give some more time for facts to be put out on the table. Or he could veto it just for the reputation of Baptist ministers or the Christian name in general.

Huckabee will not sign this bill he said because he does not want his name on it. But it does have his name on it and along with Baptist Pastors in general, either by direct support of the bill, such as the Baptist preacher who was given much credit for the bill passing or by silent passivity such as the Governor’s. The Governor was praised by supporters of the gambling bill for allowing it to pass without challenge.

The Governor equates state approved gambling to legalizing marijuana or prostitution with the state taking a cut. Huckabee, who says he opposes the expansion of gambling, also said it would have been better to open up bids to see if a bigger cut of the gambling proceeds to the state could have been gained by another company. His statement, “I would oppose it under any circumstance, but I’d darn sure try to make sure the state got the best possible deal out of it," Huckabee said. "I’m not sure that we did because the industry was the one who wrote it up," leaves one wondering just how opposed to gambling he actually is after all.

Sen. Terry Smith, D-Hot Springs, said that Huckabee "honored his commitment" to let the bill become law without vetoing it.

The following account is as reported in the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette as follows:

"He made a commitment two years ago," Smith said in an interview. "We wouldn’t have run the bill if we had known he was going to veto it. Why go to the expense? [Why] go to the effort of hanging everybody out here? I am glad the governor honored his commitment." Smith said Huckabee made that commitment to "a group of people" that Smith declined to disclose. "It wasn’t me," he said. He declined further comment.

Jim Harris, a spokesman for Huckabee, denied that the governor ever made such a commitment. Irregardless, his inaction and comments are a poor reflection on Christians in general and on Baptists in particular.

8:55 PM, March 20, 2005  
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