Derek Maddox I don't know if such things make the news anywhere but Georgia, but we're cur

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Derek Maddox --------------------- I don't know if such things make the news anywhere but Georgia, but we're currently in the middle of one of the hottest political/religious battles in the history of the state. For years, there's been an effort to establish a lottery in Georgia. For all this time, the religious lobbyists have managed to get the representatives to vote down, or even refuse to consider, legislation to establish such a lottery. The legislators were truly over a barrel. They were afraid to offend the religious leaders of the state by approving a lottery, yet there were a great number of their constituents who wanted one. So, in a fit of desperation, one of the cowards proposed a referendum. This touched off round two of the battle, a campaign to keep a referendum off the November ballot. Our religious leaders, as well as many of the legislators, said that the public didn't need to vote on this issue - the legislature knew best about these affairs and should decide them. Seeing a referendum as the only way out of their dilemma, however, the legislature held their ground and left the referendum on the ballot. Now we are in round three of the battle, one for the votes of the citizens. Although I've not seen any literature or pamphlets urging us to vote to approve a lottery, we've been buried by brochures, commercials, advertisements, and sermons urging us to vote "NO" on the issue. Most of what I've seen against the lottery is hyperbole, and much of it is downright offensive. Our church is no exception to this. One of our former pastors wrote a booklet telling us why we shouldn't approve a lottery. And a group called "Georgia Council on Moral and Civic Concerns" has printed several pamphlets on the subject. Among these are _Georgia Lottery: Newest Addiction Threat for Youths_ and _Georgia Lottery: Another Deduction From Your Paycheck_. However, the cream of the crop is _Saving Souls by Opposing Lottery_. This little pamphlet gravely warns us that if the Georgia state government administers a lottery, that it will become the "priest" of a pagan religious cult. So, in order to preserve seperation of church and state we should disapprove a lottery. I've typed the entire pamphlet, verbatim, in the next couple of messages. Take a look at what we've gotta put up with in Georgia. Whether I approve or disapprove of a lottery, these arguments are so inane as to make me vote to approve one. However, many of the conservative religious groups in our state swallow this kind of stuff hook, line, and sinker. -------------------------------------------------------------------------- Saving Souls by Opposing Lottery Dr. J. Emmett Henderson, Executive Director Georgia Council on Moral and Civic Concerns Billy Martin, the on again, off again manager of the New York Yankees, was killed in a car accident. So many people played the tag number of the truck in which Martin was killed that the New York Lottery Commission suspended its use. Recently, I visited New Hampshire, the first lottery state in modern times. I looked at magazines and books, scanned newspaper ads, watched TV commercials. I found that government-run lottery attracts and stimulates an industry of astrologers, soothsayers, psychics, numerologists, fortune tellers and seers. All these pseudo-religious charlatans ride piggyback on government lottery. For a price they claim they can make you rich by helping you divine the winning lottery number. One book is titled, "Prince Ali's Lucky Five Star Dream Book." The book interprets dreams in terms of winning lottery numbers. For example, if you dream of apples, play number 416. If you dream of bugs, play number 305. If you dream of death, play number 999. What is appalling is that lottery state governments egg on such voodooism. The state of Iowa urged citizens to copy the last winner who played her cat's birthday numbers. Lottery states repeatedly use "luck" to name their lottery games - "Lucky Clover," "Lucky Daily," "Lucky Stars." The government encouraged Californians to play their "six lucky numbers." "Lucky numbers?" What is luck? In Isaiah 65:11, the prophet denounces Israelites who "forsake the Lord, who forget my holy mountain, who set a table for Fortune and fill cups of mixed wine for Destiny..." Fortune and Destiny were pagan gods of luck and chance. They were mystical, fictitious powers whom the ancients believed bestowed good and evil. Luck, therefore, is pagan religion. Luck is the religion of the Hittites and Amorites. Luck is idolatry. Thus, lotteries are the historical survivors of primitive religious practices of divination by which the ancients sought to foretell the future or discover hidden knowledge by magical or super-natural means. Lottery stimulates some of the most primitive and mysterious impulses in human nature. In fact, lottery hooks into the old nature of Adam. Playing lottery repeats the original temptation - the temptation that says, "I can acquire the knowledge of god. Through magic, luck, my horoscope, some hocus-pocus system, my ownn intuition, I can perceive the future. I can divine the winning number. Thereby, I will touch the eternal. My worries and fears will be over. I will be rich." What makes lottery so serious, therefore, is that the motivation and compulsion to gamble are fundamentally religious and magical. The devotees of lottery unwittingly place their faith, make their devotion and present their pleas to the ancient gods of Fortune and Destiny. As one writer says, "The weekly bet, for some, resembles an act of worship. The lottery state gets those dollars from people who step forward reverently to pay weekly tribute to the goddess of good fortune." If Georgia voters approve lottery on November 3, your state government will become high priests and evangelists of a cult of primitive, pagan religious beliefs. Your state government will spend millions each year to proselytize every Georgian to become a convert to a gambler's religionn of magic, luck and superstition. Your state government will preach a pagan theology in direct conflict with the Word of God. The Bible says, "Hope in God." With its lottery, the state government will say, "Hope in luck." In fact the government's proclamation of luck has already begun. The lottery constitutional amendment approved by the General Assembly was deliberately numbered House Resolution 7. The identical resolution that was introduced in the Senate was numbered Senate Resolution 7. Why? Because "seven is a lucky number." If Georgia voters approve lottery, your state government will also teach a moral philosophy in direct conflict with the Word of God. The Bible teaches the work ethic. Lottery teaches a luck ethic. The Bible teaches love of and sacrifice for the well being of others. Lottery teaches covetousness and self-centeredness. The Bible teaches stewardship of possessions. Lottery teaches materialistic greed. In fact, the New York Lottery's advertising contractor said: "The way to sell lottery tickets is by appealing to people's greed." Like all false religious beliefs, lottery will compete with the gospel for the souls of Georgians. The Israelites in the Isaiah passage forsook the Lord in order to serve the gods of Fortune and Destiny. Just so, will multitudes of Georgians make winning the lottery through a cultic devotion to luck the centerpiece of their lives. And the more people believe in luck and practice greed, the less they will believe in God and practice love. Thus, it is no coincidence that the phenomenal increase in public acceptance of lotteries has occurred simultaneously with an erosion of religious influence and the decline of basic Biblical morality. So if you think it is difficult to win people to Christ now, just wait until they are captivated by a government-sponsored gambler's religion of magic, superstition and the myth of becoming rich. Former Mayor Andrew Young took exception to the resolution opposing lottery that was adopted by the Georgia Baptist Convention. Mr. Young said that Christians should not oppose the Georgia lottery. "If people want to go to hell, we should not try to stop them." I disagree. My primary mission in life is so to live and witness the gospel that those who are going tto hell will believe and be saved. But lottery preaches a different gospel - the gospel of instant wealth. Lottery proclaims a different faith - the faith of the occult, magic, superstition, luck. Thereby, lottery closes the mind, deafens the ear and hardens the heart to the gospel. The result is that many who would have otherwise believed and been saved will, because lottery diverted their attention and twisted their values, die in their sin, and indeed, be eternally lost. That is why I am so opposed to a Georgia lottery! For if lottery is defeated, thousands of souls will be saved who would otherwise have been seduced by their government into pagan beliefs of magic and luck. The will be the real winners. Their prize will not be a lottery jackpot. Their prize will be the salvation of their own souls and "the gift of God which is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord."


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