Is Gambling Morally Wrong? 10/26/2011


by Moody Adams
“Unfortunately, only 31 percent of Americans believe gambling is morally wrong, according to a May Gallup poll” writes John Stemberger. In 2007, legal gambling businesses in the U.S. took in more than $92 billion—after paying out any “winnings”—according to industry statistics.

Gambling hasn’t always been legal. A century ago, most forms of gambling were illegal in the United States. State lotteries were not legalized until the 1960s. Gambling has traditionally been considered a “vice,” along with prostitution, illegal drugs and pornography. In law enforcement, the term “vice” is often considered an inherently immoral activity, often accompanied by depraved, harmful behavior. And of course a “vice” is the opposite of a “virtue.”

Wayne Grudem, author of Systematic Theology and the 2010 book Politics According to the Bible, says, "First, it is socially harmful (and fiscally regressive) because the largest numbers of gamblers come from the poorest segments of the population. Second, (it) leads to an addiction to gambling … and this addiction destroys marriages, families … and increases societal breakdown. Third, studies have shown that where gambling businesses are established, crime rates increase.”

Chad Hills, who researches gambling policy for CitizenLink, an affiliate of Focus on the Family, writes, “Gambling is rooted in greed and deception. The sole purpose is to lure you in with false hope and take your money. Gambling is self-serving… It destroys individuals, families and entire communities.”

The United Methodist Church strongly opposes any gambling: “The United Methodist Church opposes gambling in any form. Gambling is a menace to society, deadly to the best interests of moral, social, economic, and spiritual life, and destructive of good government.”

Americans have underestimated what a destructive effect gambling has had on our economy, our families and our work ethic. Simply put, it is two thieves getting together and saying, "I will let you try and steal my money, if you will let me try to steal yours."


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