GAMBLING (1998)

WHEREAS gambling is a vice which is growing in popularity, having been legalized by almost every state and becoming one of America’s largest industries, with an annual income of 500 billion dollars; and

WHEREAS, cities, states and Native American reservations are turning to gambling as a profitable source of public income; and

WHEREAS gambling is the most regressive and unfair form of taxation, since research has shown that a disproportionate number of gamblers are poor and uneducated, who can least afford to suffer the losses; and

WHEREAS the odds of winning are heavily stacked against the gambler, in favor of “the house,” assuring always that the vast majority of participants will lose; and

WHEREAS gambling is a violation of the golden rule, resting on a scheme that the few winners will receive their profits from losses suffered by the many losers (Exodus 20:15; Matthew 7:12; Philippians 2:3,4; Romans 12:10; 13:10; 1 Corinthians 10:31-33; Galatians 6:2; James 2:8); and

WHEREAS Scripture commands love for God and our neighbor (Matthew 23:36-40; Mark 12:28-33), teaching us to do all for the glory of God (1 Corinthians 10:31), and in friendship (John 15:13) to seek our neighbor’s good (Romans 14:19-21; 1 Thessalonians 5:15), while gambling seeks personal profit at the expense of others; and

WHEREAS Scripture emphasizes the sovereignty of God (1 Chronicles 29:11-13; Matthew 10:29-30); Philippians 4:19) while gambling encourages reliance on luck and chance; and

WHEREAS Scripture emphasizes the virtues of work (Exodus 20:9; Ephesians 4:28; 2 Thessalonians 3:6-12; Genesis 3:19; 1 Timothy 5:8) thrift and saving (Proverbs 6:6-11), contentment and virtue (Philippians 4:11) and peace (I Corinthians 14:33), while gambling encourages risk-taking and a something-for-nothing attitude; and

WHEREAS Scripture teaches Christian stewardship of resources, which holds that all things belong to God and that we are to use all earthly possessions as His agents in accordance with His will (Psalms 24:1; 50:10-12; Luke 12:42-48; 1 Corinthians 10:26; 2 Corinthians 8:5) while gambling encourages selfishness and reckless abandon; and

WHEREAS proper use of money does not include gambling, but instead: provides basic needs (2 Thessalonians 3:10); supports the family (1 Timothy 5:8); contributes to God’s work (1 Corinthians 16:1-3); meets human needs and gives to the poor (Ephesians 4:28; 1 Corinthians 9:6-15); and pays taxes (Matthew 22:21—Romans 13:7); and

WHEREAS Scripture condemns greed, covetousness and materialism (Exodus 20:17; Matthew 6:24-34; Philippians 3:18, 19; Colossians 3:5,6), while gambling encourages these sins of the flesh, lusting after unearned and undeserved prize money in clear violation of God’s law (1 Timothy 6:10; Luke 12:15); and

WHEREAS Scripture teaches us to avoid all appearance of evil (1 Thessalonians 5:22) and to hate what is evil (Romans 12:9), while gambling is a major source of income for organized crime, attracting criminal elements and encouraging participation in other vices and illegal activities; and

WHEREAS Scripture encourages saving with the hope of secure return (Matthew 25:27) and invites us to lay up our treasures in heaven (Matthew 6:19-21), which is very different from risking them for almost certain loss in gambling; and

WHEREAS Scripture condemns the exploitation of employees (James 5:1-4) and emphasizes their right to earned wages (Luke 10:7); and gambling is a threat to the economy, to legitimate industries and businesses, and to positive forms of entertainment and recreation; and

WHEREAS gambling produces an increase in unpaid bills, embezzlement, bankruptcy, and job absenteeism; and

WHEREAS gambling produces nothing and adds nothing to the economy; and

WHEREAS gambling is an addictive behavior which enslaves its victims, robbing them of their personal dignity and financial well-being (1 Corinthians 8:13; 2 Corinthians 6:3); and

WHEREAS gambling is injurious to its addicts, to their families, to other innocent persons and to society (Romans 14:19-21); and

WHEREAS gambling is personally selfish, morally irresponsible and socially destructive; and

WHEREAS gambling interests often corrupt police and government officials. undermining the welfare of society and their respect for law enforcement;

BE IT THEREFORE RESOLVED that the Church of God strongly affirms its opposition to Gambling in every form as a violation of God’s perfect will for His people; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that our preachers and Bible teachers urge our people to practice the virtues of labor, thrift and saving as God’s chosen means of supplying their material needs and bestowing His financial blessings upon them; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that we urge our members to express their opposition to any government proposals that promote and/or legalize any form of gambling in their states and communities; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that we widely proclaim the power of the gospel to deliver believers from the grip and guilt of all vices and addictions; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that we will refuse to seek personal profit at the expense of other persons and families; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that we do encourage our ministers and churches to inform themselves concerning existing gambling laws and the state of law enforcement in their states and communities; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that we support laws, lawmakers and law enforcement officials who oppose gambling; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that we will work within civic, community and business organizations to prevent their sponsorship of gambling in the community; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that we actively oppose any government efforts to expand and/or promote the legalization of gambling; and

BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED that we commend legislators and government officials who oppose the legalization of gambling and support them in the defense of morality (67th A., 1998, pp. 54-57).


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