Skip to comments.Wages From Sin: Churches should not accept money won from gambling
Posted on 01/03/2003 12:36:46 PM PST by sola gracia
THE WEST VIRGINIA PASTORS WHO ACCEPTED JACK Whittaker's tithe on his $170 million Powerball booty should be ashamed of themselves. One of them said, "That's a blessing to have that kind of backing." I don't think so.
Christ does not build His church on the backs of the poor. The engine that delivers His righteousness in the world is not driven by the desire to get rich. The gospel of Jesus Christ is not advanced by undermining civic virtue. Let the pastors take their silver and throw it back into the temple of greed.
In 2001 Americans wagered $57 billion on lotteries, $18 billion on horses and dogs, $592 billion in casinos, and $150 billion on other gambling. This is a blot on American life. Break it down to individuals. Massachusetts sells more than $500 worth of lottery tickets each year for every man, woman, and child. Think how many do not gamble, and you will begin to imagine what thousands are throwing away to have a 1-to-135,145,920 chance for the jackpot.
The American exploitation of the poor with lotteries muddies the conscience of many legislators. Statistics abound that "the government-sponsored lottery continues its shameless exploitation of the poor" (James Dobson, April 1999 Newsletter). This exploitation is explicit in some of the advertising bought by the $400 million spent annually by states to promote lotteries. For example, in Chicago one sign read: "This could be your ticket out." That is shameless. Other promotions mock the virtues of hard work and serious study as a way to make a living. Plan A: Study hard, save money, get old. Plan B: Play the lottery.
Only a few, it seems, are willing to say how far and how manifold are the corrupting effects of the lottery. How many have pondered this insight from Richard Neuhaus, "In a democracy, the need for popular consent to tax is a powerful check on government growth and irresponsibility. A government that raises money by encouraging and exploiting the weaknesses of its citizens escapes that democratic mechanism of accountability. As important, state-sponsored gambling undercuts the civic virtue upon which democratic governance depends" (First Things, September 1991).
Is it a "blessing" for the church of Jesus Christ to have the backing of a social sickness that "destroys marriages, undermines the work ethic, increases crime, motivates suicide, destroys the financial security of families ... and dupes people into believing [it] will benefit the children" (Dobson)?
Don't play Powerball for me. I go on record now that I will not knowingly take any money won from gambling. And I will do my best to lead the elders of our church from accepting any money offered from the proceeds of gambling.
We are followers of Jesus. He had no place to lay His head and did not accept the demonic temptation to jump off the temple for the jackpot of instant recognition. The Calvary road is not paved with Powerball tickets, but with blood. The church was bought once by One who refused the short-cut of instant triumph. It will never be bought by those who dream of riches.
The lottery is another opportunity to pierce your soul with many pangs, and lead your children into ruin. The Bible says, "Those who desire to be rich fall into temptation, into a snare, into many senseless and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils. It is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pangs" (1 Timothy 6:9-10). In other words, the desire to be rich is suicidal. And endorsing it is cruel.
It is wrong to wager with a trust fund. And all we have, as humans, is a trust fund. Everything we have is a trust from God, to be used for His glory. God "Himself gives to all mankind life and breath and everything" (Acts 17:25). Faithful trustees may not gamble with a trust fund. They work and trade: value for value, just and fair. This is the pattern again and again in Scripture. And when you are handling the funds of another, how much more irresponsible it is to wager!
If you play, don't look our way. We will not salve your conscience by taking one dime of your plunder, or supporting even the thought of your spiritual suicide. Let the widow give her penny and the laborer his wage. And keep your life free from the love of money.
Economically it comes down to money being taken out of business and put in the government. It becomes a tax.
Spiritually it's not a lot different than wasting money on any of the countless things we waste it on. It is not good stewardship of our money as taught in the bible, but neither is renting 4 dvd's over the weekend. Or spending $45 bucks a ticket to go see the OU Sooners (when they are on TV for free.... one of my personal vices).
Granted the guy going to the football game is making a concious decision to pay for entertainment...and maybe the guy buying the lottery tickets is doing it out of greed. Greed..... that's one of those Catholic things isn't it?
I'm opposed to the lottery and would not buy a ticket. But I don't have the strong feelings expressed in this article. I know that the poor are going to be poor with or without the lottery.
all things are not profitable for us even if we have the liberty to do them IMHO the lottery is one of them..great article Sola
Exercising that choice not to buy the lottery Mom?? A little free will??? (Just kidding.... don't hit me too hard :)
Would they turn down money from a dairy; after 'the poor' had bought milk?
Would they refuse money from a rich landlord, after 'the poor' had paid their rent?
Would they sniff at money from a giving cotton mill owner, after 'the poor' had bought clothes?
I guess you can fly 'em if you got 'em.
What this is, in essence, is an income tax disguised as a game of chance. The politicians know they can't increase taxes on the poor without confirming what they try so hard to hide: They think ALL the people's money belongs to them. It's a true voluntary tax (as opposed to the IRS's sham "voluntary tax") in that the people are not forced to buy a lottery ticket, but the fuel that drives the whole thing is the appeal to people's basic greed.
xzins, I recommend you read James Brovard's book "Freedom In Chains". If what you read in there doesn' make you hair stand straight up, I'd be very concerned for your perceptive powers. Statism is alive and well, and fast becoming the rule of Law in this country. One of the prime tenets of Statism is control over and collection of all forms of income and gain produced by all means, for the State to dole out to it's subjects as the State sees fit, supposedly so that all benefit equally. Karl Marx said it a different way in the Communist Manifesto: From each according to their abilities, to each according to their need. The underlying belief is that the State is a benevolent, all-knowing, wise entity which naturally has the best interests of its subjects in mind, and that the State cannot harm its subjects. Sound like someone we know? Statists have replaced God with the State as the supreme Being.
In every case I can think of, when promises have been made as to the benefits the lottery will bring, the benevolence it will bestow, and the good it will do, all those promises and benefits were so much hot air. But, greed wins out in most cases, partly because the people have a sense of being robbed anyway, by taxation. Lotteries just play into that feeling. It is an income tax, pure and simple, and it is a regressive one, because it hits the poor harder than the rich, rather than a progressive tax like the IRS Income tax.
Oh, and as to your assertion that 50% of wage earners don't pay any real tax, go to Rush Limbaugh's website, go to the bottom of the page, and check out the Only the Rich Pay Taxes section. It's an eye-opener.
I just went back and read again, and noticed that you said the bottom 50%. Dude, I'm in that catagory, and I assure you, I'm paying taxes. Personally, I think taxes are an evil institution. The percentage of my income that I pay in taxes, in total, counting all the sales, excise, license, and other taxes, is a far larger percentage of my income than it would be of a man making 10 times my earnings, or 100 times my earnings. I pay a larger portion of my income in taxes, as a percentage, than any rich man. To say that I make no real contribution by doing that is a slap in the face.
What exactly do you mean by the statement that "taxation is an issue that is dear to my heart"?
Second, life is full of ambiguities that may be wrong for one person but not for another. For example, I buy my groceries from a store that sells lottery tickets and malt liquor (as well as groceries) to people on the margins of society. The author of this article probably patronizes only stores free from such corruption. Each of us must decide on these things for ourselves using the Scripture's and the Holy Spirit's guidance.
Biggest problem I see with that is that it is a regressive tax. It will hit the poor much harder than the wealthy. Try as you might to say it won't, there are some things that everyone must buy, rich or poor. The poor will wind up paying through the nose for basic necessities. And instituting a National Retail Sales Tax will cause the barter trade to explode, thereby reducing actual realized revenue, and creating (or expanding, actually) a huge underground economy.
I'm Conservative, too, and don't think the government has any right to tell me how to have my eggs or what to do with my own land. the prime function of government is to protect its citizens, not from themselves, but from foreign aggression. After that, government should exercise minimal oversight over such public functions as are necessary for the smooth and efficient operation of commerce, while not directly engaging in the operation of commerce, or interfering with its operation with excess regulation, onerous rules, or restrictive limits.
Churches should not accept money won from gambling
What scriptural reference is there to back up such a position?
Sounds like smug, self-righteousness to me.
Sounds good to me! - - Every dollar not paid in taxes is a dollar that cannot be used to harm us. Zero dollars to Government = FREEDOM. (like it, or lose it)
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