Kentucky Baptists launch campaign against casino gambling - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Kentucky Baptists launch campaign against casino gambling

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- It's a collision between church and state. One of Kentucky's largest religious organizations, the Kentucky Baptist Convention, is adding its muscle to the fight over casinos in Kentucky.

There are 750,000 Southern Baptists in Kentucky, and their leaders are praying they'll send a loud and clear message to Frankfort to stop expanded gambling.

The Kentucky Baptist Convention has produced a video for churches to play during Sunday services and place on their websites.

It is also running ads on Christian radio stations with the same message.

"The message is casinos in Kentucky will bring wreck and ruin to the family. And the social costs far outweigh the economic gain in the governor's coffers," said KBC executive director Paul Chitwood, who is featured in the video.

Chitwood says the aim is to motivate the membership to put pressure on lawmakers.

"We really want to speak with a loud enough voice and a unified voice to set this aside," he said.

Governor Steve Beshear, a casino supporter, says he welcomes the Kentucky Baptist Convention into the debate. But he says he "respectfully" disagrees with their position.

Beshear says the entire state will gain from the revenue produced by the casinos.

"Why allow those Kentuckians to go across into other states and spend those entertainment dollars when we can have them spend it right here at home and reap the tax benefits," Gov. Beshear said.

"We're not saying nobody should be allowed to gamble," said Chitwood. "But to welcome that here into our communities, I think, will have a devastating affect."

It's that message the KBC hopes to drive home to its churches and to lawmakers.

"They promise it will be an economic boon. And it will be. To the politicians and casino operators eager to cash in on the misery of our fellow Kentuckians," said Chitwood in the video.

Chitwood would not reveal numbers, but he says the cost of the campaign is minimal. But he hopes the impact will be massive.

You can view the entire video here.

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