A handful of religious leaders from main-line Protestant churches spoke out today against the gambling bill pending in the Senate. Reverend Gregory Palmer, Iowa bishop for the United Methodist Church, says he’s “astonished” lawmakers would even consider expanding the gambling industry.Bishop Palmer says “gambling is a menace to society” and is “deadly” to the best interest of moral economic and social life. Palmer says churches have a responsibility to “exert a strong ethical influence upon the state.” He says Iowa’s elected officials “must be reminded that gambling can and does destroy thousands of Iowa families.” Reverend Phil Barrett of Atlantic, an executive in the Presbyterian Church, says called upon Christians to rethink their views on gambling.Barrett says the pastors are deeply concerned about sentiments in favor of gambling, and gambling expansion. Reverend Kay Sabin, an Iowa-based executive in the Evangelical Lutheran Church, says the group wasn’t there, though, to call for an end to legalized gambling in Iowa, but to seek limits on expansion. Sabin says “it is the sinful side of human nature to want to get something for nothing.” She says in “limited amounts, gambling can be harmless and fun but carried to an extreme, this philosophy will erode the work ethic of individuals and our society.” The pastors say many Iowa church-goers are being encouraged to speak out against gambling and chat with their legislators.
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