Saturday, February 18, 2006

Bootleggers and Baptists

"Us vs. them" mentalities abound, and the Christian Community is not immune. Evangelical loyalty to individuals such as James Dobson, Ralph Reed, Pat Robertson, Jerry Fallwell, etc. often blind the Christian community to real issues requiring greater thought and discernment.
Prohibition was a bad idea 80 years ago, and it hasn't gotten any better since. Today's Baptists are anti-gambling. I say fine, don't gamble. I don't. But when laws are passed to regulate otherwise voluntary transactions unintended consequences ensue.
Witness the latest mix up. Ralph Reed, former directer of the Christian Coalition, and former Religious Right poster boy, has been caught receiving nearly a million dollars from Jack Abramoff in the Indian Casino scandals. Apparently Reed was getting paid by Abramoff for trying to influence Focus on the Family's James Dobson into speaking out against legalizing gambling in Texas. If Dobson wants to speak out against gambling, okay. He should say that gambling is bad, and good Christians shouldn't gamble, etc.. He shouldn't ask for legislation making gambling illegal. Why not? Because it supports the bootleggers - the Indian Casinos, and it does so through the protection of what is in effect a government monopoly. And it demoralizes Indians.

Bottom line: Whenever Baptists get involved in legislating morality, a bootlegger somewhere benefits. The solution: don't legislate morality. God didn't, He provided us with free will.

No comments: