I was pleased last week that the Illinois General Assembly took up the important business of a capital construction bill that would tend to much needed infrastructure work and provide jobs.
But I was profoundly disappointed that the funding package for the program includes the dangerous expansion of gambling in Illinois. I am persuaded that such an expansion will do great injury and harm.
Remember, we are a people who live out their faith by observing "Three Simple Rules." The first of these rules is "do no harm." Linked to this e-newsletter in the Quick Link section is the United Methodist statement on gambling from the 2008 Book of Resolutions.
The United Methodist perspective on gambling could not be more relevant to the revenue issues were are facing in Illinois. However, time is of the utmost essence.
Last week, Illinois legislators introduced and quickly passed a bill to legalize video poker machines and Internet Lottery. Yesterday, the House passed SB1298 which will legalize Internet gambling on horse racing. With these provisions, anyone 18 years of age or older could gamble on horses and the Lottery on the internet using a debit or credit card on any computer in homes, offices, libraries, colleges, cell phones and BlackBerries.
Today, representatives from The United Methodist Church, the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America and the Lutheran Church, Missouri Synod met with Governor Quinn's Chief of Staff Jerry Stermer following a press conference in the Capitol. A spokesman has issued a statement that the governor is "considering all sides of the issue." Now the Governor needs to hear from you.
Please take a moment to contact the Governor's office at 217-782-0244 or to complete the Contact form on the governor's website. Thank you in advance for the witness you will make to those that have been elected to serve the people.
Yours in Christ,
+Gregory Vaughn Palmer
O God, as you anointed leaders and called prophets of old, lead us to recognize our true representatives and authentic leaders: men and women who love your people and can walk with them, who feel their pain and share their joys, who dream their dreams and strive to accompany them to their common goal. In your fire, with your Spirit, embolden and commission us to transform our political system, to serve your people, and to bring real glory to your name. Amen.
(UM Book of Worship, 544)