To The Editor:
In the April 9 edition of The Journal, the front-page headline read, County Approves Resolution to Support City Casino. In that article, it was noted that Legislator Kevin D. Acres, R-Madrid, objected as the lone voice on this issue.
I want to say thank you, Mr. Acres, for your stand on this issue! The research you did is readily available to any who want it. The issues are well documented. The problems that come with casinos have necessitated rehab and recovery ministries all over the country. The church has been on the forefront of helping to manage the destroyed lives that come about as a result of casino interests. I want to encourage you to keep up your opposition. You do not stand alone!
As for the county, I understand the temptation to bring a casino to the area to bolster the local economy, not to mention benefit the entire county. However, revenue must not be the only consideration in bringing a casino to such a prime location. This location would bring much more than dollars to our area, should a casino be built there. Yes, there would also be an influx of tourists to our city, but casinos attract much more than this. Gambling is a menace to society, deadly to the best interests of moral, social, economic and spiritual life, destructive of good government and good stewardship. The Social Principles of The Book of Discipline of the United Methodist Church, 2012.
I speak from experience when I say that this would bring higher rents, making it more difficult to live here in the city of Ogdensburg. There would also be greater public expense in caring for those addicted through social services. A criminal element is often attracted to places like this. As a result, there would be a greater need for law enforcement concentrating on that small area, thus drawing them away from serving and protecting the rest of our community.
I am all for bringing jobs and prosperity to our city. I personally spend much time in prayer for the prosperity of the city of Ogdensburg, as does the congregation I serve. We believe that it is our privilege and responsibility to do so. We have a vested interest and long-term commitment here. We have been here since 1793, and we plan to be around much, much longer. Our heart is to serve the city we love. We are encouraged by the words from Jeremiah 29:5-7, Build houses and settle down; plant gardens and eat what they produce. Marry and have sons and daughters; find wives for your sons and give your daughters in marriage, so that they too may have sons and daughters. Increase in number there; do not decrease. Also, seek the peace and prosperity of the city... Pray to the Lord for it, because if it prospers, you too will prosper.
Let us beware of being so tempted by greed that we satisfy our lusts at any cost, for it will cost dearly. There are certainly better ways to increase tourism, create jobs and build wealth than to set up a casino. Lets encourage some entrepreneurial spirit instead.
The Rev. Dr. David C. Piatt
First United Methodist Church