The Texas Baptist Christian Life Commission has it’s collective panties in a bunch, which is something that happens any time Legislators even think of letting Texans make decisions for themselves instead of allowing the TBCLC to make decisions for them. This time, casino gambling at racetracks is the reason for their current uncomfortability:
Many Texas church groups are actively working against those gambling proposals and are taking their message from the pulpit to the halls of power.
“There’s not a will,” said consultant Rob Kohler. “Folks aren’t turning to it as a revenue mechanism.”
Kohler is working on behalf of the Texas Baptist Christian Life Commission. The people he represents oppose it on moral grounds.
“You’re going to have folks go to Las Vegas. You’re going to have folks go to Oklahoma. You’re going to have folks go to Louisiana, but to do those things, you’ve got to have a few things, be it a credit card for gas, or an airline ticket, a car, a phone,” said Kohler.
He says keeping the machines out of state creates an important buffer making it harder for poorer Texans to gamble their paychecks away.
First of all, poor people don’t go to casinos to gamble their paychecks away, mostly because they don’t really have paychecks right now. People usually gamble as a form of entertainment and it’s a decision they make for themselves (there is, of course, a minor percentage of people who are or will be addicted to gambling, but they’ll exist whether we have gambling in Texas or not. It’s like alcoholism, you can pass all the laws you want but addicts are going to find their vice. Fortunately, it effects only a small percentage of the population). The poor usually don’t gamble and it’s got nothing to do with proximity to a casino, it’s that they don’t have the disposable income.
Second, I absolutely LOVE it when anyone, let alone a Baptist preacher, decides to protect me from myself (though I have to ask Rob, WHERE THE HELL WERE YOU IN SEPTEMBER, 2008 WHEN I BOUGHT ALL THAT LEHMAN STOCK?!?!). However, their place is in their churches with their congregations, people who voluntarily make the decision to listen to them. I, on the other hand, didn’t and like the vast majority of Texans kind of get offended and riled up a bit when someone who isn’t wearing a badge tries to tell me what to do.
If the TBCLC is so against gambling as a source of revenue for Texas, then why don’t they voluntarily agree to start paying at least property taxes and sales taxes? No, not the little country churches with no money and no property. But any church with property worth more than, say, one million dollars or that takes in at least a million bucks a year shouldn’t mind helping the state out with some of their wealth. You know, to help the poor and needy they claim to care so much about.
I mean, the folks Rob represents use our roads, our police and fire departments and (occasionally) our courts essentially for free. I’m sure some areas that are starved for revenue wouldn’t have a problem with it.
The Legislature better ignore this dirtleg and let us decide this issue ourselves. I’m sure he’ll vote against and I’ll be happy to cancel his vote out.
(In the interest of full disclosure, I’m a Methodist so I naturally dislike it when a Baptist tells me what I should do though I usually just ignore it like I do most everything Baptists say. It’s the Texan in me that wants to punch someone in the face for being bossy and not letting me make my own decisions. And no, Robby, that’s not a threat… it’s what I WANT to do, not what I’m going to do)