Both Indiana Area United Methodist annual conference sessions approved a resolution asking Indiana law makers to bring any vote on the expansion of gambling to the state's citizens.
This action followed a presentation to both conference sessions by the Rev. Tom Grey, field director of the National Coalition Against Legalized Gambling. Grey told conference members this was his 20th trip in the past 15 years to Indiana to speak against the expansion of legalized gambling. He said the mission before us is crisis intervention.
Grey said he foresees casinos coming to Fort Wayne and Indianapolis, plus the push for the leasing of the state lottery.
He said, "We need to march the Social Principles (of The United Methodist Church) and fight for the faith. We have always had the truth. We also had a network. We lack a plan and instant tactics. We are going to explode on this (state) legislature. Fortunately, we have a battling bishop."
Grey said Bishop Mike Coyner fought against legalized gambling in South Dakota. Grey believes Indiana has the connectional church and can decide from the bottom up.
He said, "We don't want anymore backroom decisions made by politicians about the future expansion of legalized gambling. Indiana is the number two state for gambling revenue. We need to hold our politicians accountable."
He asked members to join the bishop and the statewide Indiana Coalition Against Legalized Gambling."
The Rev. Scott Shoaff, chair of the North Indiana Conference gambling concerns committee, presented the resolution against the expansion of gambling in Indiana by asking the General Assembly to pass a law requiring a public question be asked of the voters on the expansion of legalized gambling. The Rev. Perry Richards, chair of the South Indiana Conference Board of Church and Society presented the same resolution to the South Indiana session.
Both conferences passed this resolution with an overwhelming standing vote.