BRENTWOOD, Tenn. (BP)–The Tennessee Baptist Convention began distributing 3.2 million anti-lottery church bulletin inserts and 75,000 copies of a 32-page anti-lottery magazine Sept. 4 in a campaign encouraging fellow citizens to vote against a state lottery on Nov. 5 and keep Tennessee gambling-free.
Tennessee Baptist staff members, special guests and other gambling-free constituents rallied with prayer and support before the decorated 30-foot trucks driven by volunteers left the Brentwood office. The anti-lottery publications were delivered to the 67 Baptist associations located across the state. In turn, each association leader will distribute the anti-lottery material to the nearly 3,000 Baptist churches.
“We believe the bulletin inserts will capture the attention of the church members and educate them about the danger of a lottery,” said James Porch, executive director of the Tennessee convention. “If we lose this opportunity to defeat the lottery, the future influence of Christians in Tennessee to affect any moral issue will be compromised.”
Porch is encouraging church pastors to speak out on the lottery to their congregations and use the bulletin inserts each Sunday in October. The bulletin inserts highlight the potential negative affects of the lottery on Tennessee’s children, schools, economy and the poor. The TBC is also distributing a magazine titled “Keep Tennessee Gambling Free” that includes personal testimonies of recovered gambling addicts, gambling dangers and Bible studies.
While acknowledging that polls show 58 percent of Tennesseans support a lottery, Porch expressed optimism that the tide can be turned by election day.
“The biggest difficulty we’re facing is apathy,” he said. “We must move this issue from the head to the heart.” Defeating the lottery requires 50 percent plus one vote of all votes cast.
Over the past year, the Tennessee Baptist Convention has partnered with the Gambling Free Tennessee Alliance, LifeWay Christian Resources and the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention and Religious Leaders for a Gambling Free Tennessee to fight against the lottery.
LifeWay enabled the production of the bulletin inserts, while the magazine was produced by Tennessee’s Baptist & Reflector state newsjournal.
Extensive information about the dangers of gambling is available on the Gambling Free Tennessee Alliance website, www.gfta.org . Information is also available through the Tennessee Baptist Convention site, www.tnbaptist.org .