Governor Strickland of Ohio has decided to allow slot machines at horse racing tracks, because the state is out of money and he needs to find a new source. I’m not a big supporter of the idea, since I’ll never use the slot machines and the people who will use them the most are gambling addicts. At the same time I don’t think it’s the job of the government to illegalize everything that could be addictive, so, friends and relatives of gambling addicts, show some spine and take control of the car keys and charge cards. The Ohio church people, however, think that it is the responsibility of the government to illegalize anything that they think is immoral.
OK, church people, take a walk around the neighborhood and look at the other houses of worship. Do they believe all the same things that you believe in your church? No, that’s why they’re in different buildings. So what makes you think that whatever is believed in your building should be imposed on everyone else in Ohio?
Nonetheless, the newspapers all have articles about how church people have vowed to fight the Governor’s decision with law suits and protests. The governor, himself is an ordained Methodist minister (it hurts my brain to write that) so it doesn’t take much extrapolation to conclude that not all religious types are in agreement, but that seems to be irrelevant to the outraged guardians of goodness.
Here’s the thing, church people, there’s a place for you to dictate your version of morality; your church. The job of a religious group is to impose their beliefs and moral codes on the people who have agreed to be part of that group, then if one from your group breaks the no slot machine rule, they can be shunned or stoned or forced to clean up after the potluck or whatever. What you do not have the right to do is go out into the greater community and say “All you people who have no prohibition against video slot machines in your sacred texts, must, nonetheless, be deprived of video slot machines so that we are not tempted to break the no video slot machine commandment of our religion.” So, to use the popular sheep herding analogy: go tend your own flock and keep your nose out of other flocking people’s business.