Church Membership Down ‘Sharply’ Over Past Two Decades

Half of Americans are church members, which may seem encouraging at the outset, but this figure is down from 70% in 1999.

What are the reasons, and will the trend continue, asks the American Pastors Network. 

The findings are the result of a new Gallup poll, which attributes the decline to an overall decrease in church attendance as well as an increase in the percentage of people who claim no religion at all, also known as “nones.”

“There was once a time when most families would hardly question being at their home church on Sunday mornings, Sunday evenings and Wednesday nights, too,” said APN President and national radio and television host Sam Rohrer. “But today, worship, Bible study and Christian community are being pushed out of our lives. In reality, it’s God Himself who has been replaced with ‘other gods and other worship,’ and the effects on the culture are evident! As secularism abounds, families are split and hurting, and individuals are confused, with even some pastors giving up and refusing to preach the whole counsel of God and the true Gospel at a time when truth is needed more than ever.”

The Gallup poll also found that since the turn of the century, the percentage of U.S. adults with no religious affiliation has more than doubled, from 8% to 19%.

“The decline in church membership mostly reflects the fact that fewer Americans than in the past now have any religious affiliation,” according to Gallup. “However, even those who do identify with a particular religion are less likely to belong to a church or other place of worship than in the past.

The Christian Post reported last month that the “nones” group is now as large as evangelicals in the U.S., with 23.1% of those surveyed identified as having “no religion,” while those who are evangelical, and of any race, represented about 22.8%. The data was gathered through the 2018 General Social Survey, a biennial project run by the National Opinion Research Center (NORC) at the University of Chicago.

“What can be done about this devastating trend?” Rohrer asked. “And how much further will our culture fall without those who are grounded in their faith and who are engaged members of the local church? It’s not about church marketing, bigger buildings, louder music or attractive programs to entice people to choose church attendance or membership. It’s a heart matter and a matter of truth. Without debate, pastors and church leaders must lead the way in reaching out to their communities and strongly imploring that a life without Christ is no life at all, neither here on Earth nor for eternity.”

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American Pastors Network: How and Why Socialism Is on the Rise in America

Socialist ideas were once subtly introduced into American policy, somewhat disguised and under the radar.

But now, says the American Pastors Network, socialism is touted overtly, with no attempt to cover up the fact that the concepts are outright socialist.

APN president and nationally syndicated radio and television host Sam Rohrer has explored the topic of socialism and how it is on the rise in America on the daily, live, one-hour radio program, “Stand in the Gap Today.”

“Socialism’s acceptance isn’t just within those identified as the ‘Left.’ but entrenched within the professing church as well,” Rohrer said. “One very shocking and disturbing fact is indicated by multiple studies conducted in the past two years,” Rohrer said. “These surveys indicate that between 44 and 58 percent of millennials say they favor socialism as an alternative form of governance to what we have in the United States and, specifically, that they prefer socialism to capitalism.

“So, it prompts the fundamental question, how did we get to the place in the United States today where our younger Americans are seemingly embracing what we and our fathers and grandfathers fought and died to oppose?” Rohrer continued. “How could the godless, atheistic ideology that drug America into two world wars become embedded into American culture? How could the nation where ‘in God we Trust’ appears on our coins and in our media and culture become ‘in Government we trust’? How has God become so dethroned and rejected? How could the institutions of learning, the media, the government and the church become so silent and even enablers of the very values that were once clearly opposed by our nation and opposite to a Judeo-Christian worldview? How could such erosion have occurred and so dramatically affected our next generation—and so quickly?”

The question, Rohrer said, should no longer be “Do we have a generation and nation who considers socialism with its root in atheism acceptable?” but rather, “How did atheism and the promoters of socialism and cultural Marxism actually penetrate the institutions of America and our Judeo-Christian worldview sufficiently to move our nation to this perilous point?”

“The apparent meteoric rise in the acceptance of socialism in America is baffling even to the most astute, but in reality, where we are is the result of where we’ve been heading for a long time,” Rohrer said. “In 1933,the Frankfurt School was invited to the U.S. by John Dewey with the goal of destroying America from within, embracing the philosophies and views of thought leaders like Marx, Nietzsche, and Hegels. The dethroning of God in America, which was Marx’s goal, to Nietzsche later declaring that God had been killed in the minds of the American people to where we are today requires an enormously powerful presentation of deception.

     “Over time, it was a purposeful and repeated deception of the American people through the technique of brainwashing, namely through the four Marxist steps to successful brainwashing—1) demoralization; 2) destabilization; 3) chaos; and 4) new norm or new order. In each of these steps, a person, a group of people or an entire nation is moved in their thinking and beliefs away from absolute truth, God, a biblical worldview, traditional family and God’s view of human sexuality to, ultimately, a position of chaos with an ultimate craving to cry out to government for help in bringing societal order and thus inviting in atheistic socialism. Does this sound familiar in politics, public education or even some churches? It all starts with sowing seeds of doubt, just as the devil did in the Garden of Eden.”

For more on this topic, listen to two “Stand in the Gap” programs featuring guest Brannon Howse, founder and host of Worldview Weekend TV and radio, at the links below:

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Easter is About the Power of God, His Hatred of Sin and His Great Love for an Undeserving Mankind

What’s Easter all about?

What does Easter say about God? About Jesus? To mankind? And what difference should Easter make in our lives today?

These are questions being explored this week by American Pastors Network President and national radio and television host Sam Rohrer on his daily syndicated, 60-second radio feature, “Stand in the Gap Minute.”

“Easter week is the most sacred of all Christian holidays,” Rohrer said. “But why is it so special? Easter is about God’s plan for the ages, the humans created in His image, the reality of Sin, Satan and rebellion, God’s wrath and justice against sin, and His plan of redemption. Early in Genesis, God promised that one day His heel would be bruised but the head of Satan would be crushed. Christ’s crucifixion and death on the cross bruised God’s heel but His resurrection crushed Satan’s head, confirming His victory over sin and death.”

Christ’s blood paid the debt of mankind’s sins and fulfilled God’s demand for justice, providing salvation for all people. All those putting their trust in the Risen Savior, the Promised Redeemer, receive eternal life with Him, Rohrer said.

“God’s promise to crush Satan’s head continued with God’s promise to Abraham of a Promised Redeemer through a promised people,” he added. “Through time, Satan tried to destroy the lineage through whom the Redeemer would come. He led Pharaoh in Egypt to kill the young males and led Herod to kill all baby boys under the age of 2. On the Mount, he tempted Jesus to avoid the cross and tried to destroy God’s redemption plan. But the devil could not trick Jesus, kings could not kill Him, and haters of Israel could not destroy God’s plan.”

That plan included a day 2,000 years ago when Jesus entered Jerusalem riding on a borrowed donkey. The crowds shouted, “Hosanna!”—blessed is the king of Israel who comes in the name of the Lord. But the envious Pharisees said, “the world’s gone after him,” and they plotted His murder.

“That plot worked, at least physically, and Jesus gave His life to pay a debt of sin He never owed because we had a debt of sin we could never pay,” Rohrer said. “Some by faith alone accept Jesus as Savior and receive eternal life. Others reject Him and sadly choose eternal death. It is truly a matter of life or death.

Likewise, Easter is not a freestanding or initiating event, Rohrer said. It’s a confirming event.

“While Easter is a witness of God’s Power over death and sin, a fulfillment of his promise of redemption and proof of His victory over Satan, it’s also an historical event,” he said. “Proven and witnessed by hundreds, the power of Easter is also very personal because it was Christ’s willing death on the cross to shed His blood. Easter is a fact. It happened. Jesus died. He rose from the dead. He paid our debt. This Easter, it’s crucial that all who are willing become children of God, restored in relationship to their Creator God.”

And as Christians mark Good Friday, they remember that the greatest battle ever fought was won. Victory was declared. The end of the war was certain. From the cross, bloody and beaten, Jesus declared, “Into thy hands I commend my spirit.”

“With those solemn words, Jesus died, fulfilling His words that no man would take His life,” Rohrer said. “The perfect Lamb—God’s promised redeeming sacrifice—became sin for us and died so we could live. What Satan schemed as victory over Christ was Christ’s victory over Satan, death, and hell. At APN, we rejoice in the finished work of Christ on the cross. Because three days later, to the disciples’ ecstatic joy, they heard the glorious words from the angel’s mouth: ‘Remember what He said to you? He is not here. He has risen!’ And to that we reply, ‘He is risen indeed.’ For all who trust in Him alone—by faith alone—death is swallowed up in victory. And that’s the best news ever. Easter is about the power of God, His hatred of sin and His great love for an undeserving mankind.”

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Truth Is Absolute and Comes from Only One Source—the Bible

What is “truth?” To many in America, truth is relative, and it varies for each person.

But the Bible says people who believe this are “unstable in all their ways” because they have nothing constant or reliable to direct their lives.

“Just as a compass always points us north, Jesus is our ‘true north’ in life—always pointing the way to him, always pointing out what is true and always pointing us in the right direction in life,” said APN president and radio and television host Sam Rohrer. “This is why absolute truth is so crucial. In every aspect of life and culture we can consider, biblical truth has a role—gender, marriage, immigration, fiscal responsibility, government leadership, religious liberty, sanctity of life issues and much, much more.”

So, based on the knowledge that truth defines all things—what is truth?

Rohrer asked this very question on APN’s daily, nationally syndicated, one-minute radio feature “Stand in the Gap Minute.”

“Some time ago, I interviewed a candidate for public office and asked him to define truth,” Rohrer said. “His answer was ‘I don’t know.’ So I asked, ‘How will you make your decisions in office and know you’re right?’ He said, ‘I guess I’ll follow my gut.’ Truth is not subjective. It is not open for debate or found in the gut. Rejecting Jesus as truth ensures no moral compass. Rejecting truth results in confusion, moral bankruptcy, bribery and corruption. Rejecting truth guarantees that no person in office, be they Republican, Democrat or Independent, can lead with integrity, principle and consistency because each desirable character traits hinges on truth as defined by God’s Word and modeled by Jesus Christ.”

That knowledge, however, does not make everything easy, Rohrer said. The enemy will attempt to distort the truth, causing people to second-guess that truth is indeed absolute.

“Isaiah 59:19 says, ‘When the enemy come’s in like a flood, the Spirit of the LORD shall lift up a standard against them,’” Rohrer said. “As evil floods our land and truth falls in the streets, Isaiah declares that God’s Spirit will raise up a standard against it. This standard, of course, is Jesus Christ, the Way and the Truth. But God often chooses to raise up His prepared Remnant as the salt and light—the standard to oppose the evil. At APN, we equip, encourage and assist God-ordained pastors in the pulpit to be vanguards for truth. Yet, every true Christian is part of God’s empowered standard to stand against the enemies of Truth. Are we doing our part?”

Because the culture has become morally sick—defining good as evil and evil as good—is there a cure? When truth is rejected and division results, is there healing? There can be, Rohrer said. For those committing to standing for truth—or the Remnant, as Rohrer mentioned, the Bible is the more than just a good book. It’s the only source of truth.

“When it comes to truth, the Bible is always right,” Rohrer said. “It alone defines good and evil. It alone can point the lost and wandering to eternal life. Its truth alone, if obeyed, can heal the lonely heart and restore the broken family. Obedience to God’s Word, the ‘Ultimate Truth,’ can restore our nation and return God’s blessing to us. An absolute cure exists—but only if we embrace absolute truth.”

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Pennsylvania Pastors Network Leader Responds to Attacks on PA Rep. Stephanie Borowicz for Prayer

The opening prayer from Pennsylvania Rep. Stephanie Borowicz (R-Centre/Clinton) continues to make headlines, as the Christian has been attacked for her prayer that mentioned Jesus.

Pennsylvania Pastors Network (PPN, www.papastors.net) Executive Director Gary Dull said that, as one who has had several opportunities to open both the PA House and Senate in prayer, he is thankful there is still enough respect for God and America’s great Judeo-Christian heritage for those prayers to continue to be offered in the state and trusts that freedom will continue.

“As far back as the time of Pennsylvania founder William Penn, God’s Name and His Word have been prevalent in the official representations of our Commonwealth,” Dull said. “In fact, Penn dreamed to establish in Pennsylvania what was referred to as ‘The Holy Experiment,’ in which a colony would be founded that guaranteed religious freedom. But that freedom was based upon the truth of the Holy God of the Bible and His Son Jesus Christ, as it states in John 8:32: ‘And you shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free.’

“The preamble of the Pennsylvania Constitution states: ‘We, the people of Pennsylvania, grateful to Almighty God for the blessings of civil and religious liberty, and humbly invoking His guidance, do ordain and establish this Constitution…’” Dull continued. “Beyond that, it does not take long for a person to notice when visiting the State Capitol Building in Harrisburg how many Bible verses are posted throughout that beautiful edifice. Certainly, Jehovah Elohim, the God of the Bible, has been respected by many both in word and in voice within those walls over the years.”

Even though prayers are not offered simply to make public statements, they are offered to ask God for His wisdom and direction in doing His will, which is why the House and the Senate open their sessions in prayer, Dull added.

“Often in doing so, Scripture verses are quoted that may be an offense to some people,” he said. “In fact, Isaiah 30:9 says that spiritually rebellious people ‘will not hear the law of the Lord.’ So we should not be surprised when some people object to the Word of God when it is read, spoken or used in our prayers. When a person prays a ‘Christian prayer’ to the Christian God of the Bible, it only stands to reason that Christian and biblical terms will be used in that prayer. That may and will offend some people but that does not mean that such a freedom should be taken away. It has been reported that Rep. Stephanie Borowicz’s Christian prayer offended the first Muslim woman to be elected to and sworn into the Pennsylvania House of Representatives, Movita Johnson-Harrell, and that it was called ‘Islamophobic’ by some. But it was a Christian prayer that was given, and thus Christian words and concepts were used. Obviously, a Muslim prayer, if it was given, would have used Muslim terms. In our Commonwealth, as well as in our nation, people have the freedom to pray as they desire, and we all must pray that such a great freedom will last for generations to come. It is this freedom that has caused America to be blessed beyond any nation on earth, and if that blessing is to continue then the freedom to pray in the public square, including in governmental buildings, must prevail.”

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Parents Beware—Registered Sex Offenders Are Performing for Small Children at Drag Queen Story Hours in Public Libraries

Drag Queen Story Hours held at public libraries have made headlines across the nation. Community members are understandably upset about men dressed in garish drag queen costumes, some of them donning satanic symbols and reading to young children at publicly funded libraries and other public facilities.

The American Pastors Network  is pointing out that others, meanwhile, aim to make a statement by resisting rational and responsible behavior by not only supporting the events but enticing their young children to be part of them.

The American Pastors Network believes this is a form of child abuse and, based on the reactions of children who are frightened and confused watching the drag queens perform at libraries with covertly sexual innuendo, many would agree that exposing young children to this type of entertainment is completely outside of safe parenting.

These parents and caregivers who are taking children to the events may think twice now that a Drag Queen Story Hour event at the Houston Public Library was shut down after concerned community members shockingly discovered that a drag queen who recently read to children at the library was a registered sex offender.

A spokesperson for the library confirmed that one of the program’s drag queens was convicted of assaulting an 8-year-old boy in 2008. The library admits it did not conduct a background check on 32-year-old Alberto Garza, or drag queen “Tatiana Mala Nina,” according to KHOU, a CBS affiliate in Houston.

APN president and nationally syndicated radio and television host Sam Rohrer says an underlying problem is that those who are permitting, encouraging and advocating for events like Drag Queen Story Hours in libraries nationwide are not only endangering young minds in multiple ways but clearly disregarding Christ’s biblical charge to protect children and lead them to a knowledge of God and Truth.

Rohrer points to Matthew 18:2-6 (ESV): “And calling to him a child, he put him in the midst of them and said, ‘Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. Whoever receives one such child in my name receives me, but whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a great millstone fastened around his neck and to be drowned in the depth of the sea.’”

Rohrer stated, “In all situations, but clearly in these cases, there is a very clear biblical mandate not to offend any of these ‘little ones.’ Christ’s warning is clear. Offending—or causing a child to stumble—by leading them to accept life choices contrary to the truth of God and His Word is so reprehensible that it would be better if that person was to be drowned in the sea. That is a mandate that should speak to every pastor, church leader, parent and every person who fears God.”

Events like the Drag Queen Story Hours are clearly opposed to Christ’s warning and endanger the lives and the minds of the youngest among us, Rohrer said, and that is a serious problem.

“Children already suffer from a confused culture with weak role models,” he added. “Why any person, parent or library official would grant a confused adult a position of leadership and influence of vulnerable children is a matter for grave public concern. Children are being affected. There is no question. Can we continue to not only protect but also to purposely endanger the lives and the minds of our young children and to not expect further cultural harm? It is illogical, irrational and immoral.”

Parents and concerned community members have been protesting these organized activities at libraries in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, New Orleans and New York, according to The Christian Post. Events were also planned for Pennsylvania, where APN and the Pennsylvania Pastors Network (PPN, www.PApastors.net)are based.

“Where is the common sense in this?” asks PPN Executive Director Gary Dull. “With the serious problems that children in this generation are experiencing—drug use, high-anxiety, suicide and depression—why would parents and elected officials willingly put children in front of a drag queen to confuse them even more? These type of events should be a matter of grave concern for every person who genuinely cares about children. The underlying LGBTQ agenda in demanding dominance and seeking to silence those who would raise logical cultural and family should be a concern for all who care about children. The public library is not a place for activism, and a children’s story hour certainly isn’t the place to push a confusing message delivered by a confused individual and encourage our children to stumble.”

The Four Pillars of a Biblical Worldview

How we consider life and everything on Earth is shaped by our worldview, whether that worldview comes from Christianity, Islam, Secularism, Marxism, New Spirituality, Postmodernism or a host of other views.

The choice of that worldview dictates the overarching response to how we interact with others, serve, parent, vote and much more, says the American Pastors Network (APN).

APN President Sam Rohrer says when Christians go through life with a biblical worldview—through the lens of an accurately defined biblical lens—their outlook on every element of life is different.

“With 10 percent of American Christians overall embracing a biblical worldview and just 4 percent of millennials holding a biblical worldview, is it a wonder our nation’s so quickly departing from God and moral absolutes?” Rohrer said. “It’s critical we know what it is and intentionally shape our thinking and living.

“At APN, we encourage pastors to preach, parents to teach and children to embrace a true biblical worldview passionately, which in turn, impacts all areas for Christ—from family to education, from government to the arts, and from science to spending,” he added. “After all, if Christians think and act like the world, why would anyone around us want what we have?”

Rohrer emphasized four pillars of a biblical worldview that will help pastors, church leaders, people in the pews and Christians of all ages formulate their biblical worldview lens:

  1. “There is God and He is truth”—Not just any god, but One God: Jehovah God, supreme, eternal, unchanging, no beginning and no end. Not just any truth, Rohrer says, but absolute truth. In a humanistic worldview, God is rejected and truth is relative. By contrast, in a biblical worldview, truth stands strong, leads justly, and equips people to be preserving salt and guiding light.
  2. “There was a creation, an act of God”—The eternal God created all things, including human life. Therefore, life didn’t just happen or evolve. To cherish life, Rohrer says, one must believe that God exists, that He is the Creator, the Giver and Sustainer of Life and, therefore, that all life is sacred and accountable to Him. This worldview determines a divine view of life from science, arts, politics, education, marriage and human sexuality. It’s why those who reject God as truth reject the sacredness of life and God’s design for marriage and human sexuality.
  3. “There was a fall, where sin and death entered the world precipitated by the devil”—The fall includes the “bad news” of sin, death and a real live devil, with creation itself damaged, and all men born sinners, totally depraved, and hopelessly separated from God, Rohrer says. Understanding the fall includes the knowledge of God’s love, His perfect law designed to protect man and his property from each other, and to confirm mankind’s reaching God’s perfection on their own.
  4. “There is redemption and restoration, secured by Jesus Christ”—This is the “Good News.” That Redeemer is Jesus Christ, the sacrificial Lamb of God slain before the world began to redeem a depraved and sinful mankind. We can’t fully explain this Good News and all God did, but we can believe it and live it, Rohrer says.

To listen to the Stand in the Gap Minute Series on a Biblical Worldview, please click HERE.

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What Do Pastors Think about Illegal Immigration?

Debates about borders and immigration continue to be top of mind for lawmakers, among families and even in churches.

The American Pastors Network (APN) is highlighting a new survey from LifeWay Research that found that the majority of pastors want illegal immigration to end.

APN President Sam Rohrer says immigration is an issue that has been difficult for pastors and churches to grasp, as they may struggle with what the Bible says and what the culture demands.

“Immigration and border control issues dominate our news and divide our nation—and perhaps the people in the pews of America’s churches are split on this matter—but God is not divided nor is He confused on this or any issue, and we should not be either,” Rohrer says. “In fact, there are clear, biblical principles on why no one should be confused about God’s position on immigration and borders.”

  • 80 percent say the government has the responsibility to stop illegal immigration; 9 percent disagree and 11 percent are not sure.
  • 70 percent say they are in favor of an immigration reform that includes a path to citizenship for those who are currently in the country illegally; 17 percent disagree and 13 percent are not sure.
  • 76 percent say Christians have a responsibility to assist immigrants even if they are in the country illegally, while 14 percent disagree and 10 percent are not sure.
  • Almost 3 in 10 pastors say their churches are involved locally in assisting immigrants.

Rohrer has shared insight about the biblical guidance available on border security and immigration on the APN daily 60-second radio feature, “Stand in the Gap Minute,” heard on hundreds of stations nationwide. Rohrer and his radio co-hosts also frequently explore immigration and how it relates to both the Bible and the Constitution on the daily, live, one-hour radio program, “Stand in the Gap Today.” The national “Stand in the Gap” television program has also delved into this important matter.

“Without borders there’s no order, no law, no justice,” Rohrer said. “Without borders, God’s promise to bless the nation whose God is the Lord could never occur. God’s plan of redemption revolves around nations. Borders are essential to nations. In fact, the definition of nation includes a common language, a common view of God and common borders. God’s blessings and judgment are bestowed on individuals and nations. Therefore, borders and border control are essential to protect a nation’s citizens and should rise to the highest of concerns for those in civil authority.

“This is why God provided civil government with the sword of justice,” he added. “This is, in part, why we are to pray for those in authority—that we may lead quiet and peaceable lives and because they are accountable to God. God’s Word does hold all the answers about borders, immigration and much more; we just need to read God’s instruction for our lives and our nation, take them to heart and follow them.”

This article was originally published on the Charisma News website HERE

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PA State Leaders Go On ‘Weed Tour’ But How Will Legal Marijuana Impact Residents and Families?

Last month, the administration of Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf announced it wanted to start a “conversation” about legalizing marijuana in the Keystone State through a series of townhall-style meetings.

The Sharon Herald reported that Lt. Gov. John Fetterman, “himself an advocate of legalizing recreational use of the drug,” will hold “listening” sessions in each of Pennsylvania’s 67 counties in the coming months.

The Pennsylvania Pastors Network (PPN) and American Pastors Network (APN) are expressing concerns that legalizing marijuana is not the right move for the state, dangerous to residents and families, and certainly not biblical.

“As pastors’ networks, we are extremely concerned about legal marijuana coming to Pennsylvania,” said APN and PPN President Sam Rohrer. “Marijuana can be a ‘gateway drug’ and leads to harder and more dangerous substances. Beyond that, youth in our state are already faced with a variety of temptations that can affect them long into their lives. Why state leadership would push for the legalization of a drug that can harm our residents and our families is not only perplexing but also irresponsible.”

The Pennsylvania Family Institute (PFI) is calling the listening sessions a “weed tour” that serves as a public relations ploy aimed at giving the Wolf administration cover to support recreational marijuana and says that the lieutenant governor is trying—poorly—to hide his desire to legalize weed. Also, just as with expanded gambling, some state officials are motivated by money in supporting marijuana legalization, PFI reports. (Read PPN’s insight on a proposed casino in Morgantown HERE.)

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Why Gambling and Casinos Violate God’s Law

This Opinion piece was published in numerous local Pennsylvania newspapers regarding a proposed casino in Berks County.  However, the information this article is valuable for those who wish to know the moral and ethical problems of gambling.

A Casino in Morgantown—Out of Place

By Hon. Sam Rohrer

A gambling casino located in Morgantown, Pennsylvania, is about as incongruous as a Planned Parenthood office in the basement of a church or a physician intentionally injecting a healthy patient with tuberculosis. The rural and religious heritage of the Morgantown area, the pristine nature of the area as a gateway to Amish-dominated Lancaster County, and the conservative western Chester and Southern Berks Counties are clear and obvious.

These deep cultural values reflected in the work ethic, historic moral standards, committed family life and neighbor-helping-neighbor lifestyles of our community stand in sharp contrast to the nature and results of gambling and the destructive addictions resulting from gambling, as well as the associated by-products of increased alcohol consumption and the frequent degenerating impacts on family life.

Our historical and carefully nurtured culture is now at risk, intentionally or unintentionally created by the decision of the Caernarvon Township Supervisors to ‘open the door’ to a major gambling facility. What would compel the supervisors to encourage such a risk is a clearly unanswered question. Why would the supervisors consider the unique nature of this community and the culture of the people who voted for them to be of such little value? Short of promising some elusive tax revenues to citizens of the township, what value to the community do the supervisors offer in exchange for a casino? What cultural value does a major gambling casino contribute to our community? What upstanding values of character, integrity or work ethic does gambling in any form offer to our children? Our families? What upstanding and personally strengthening moral attributes can a gambling facility ever offer a community, and specifically our generally God-fearing culture? There are none.

Whereas the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board will hold a public hearing on March 4—a requirement of law—these hearings will likely resemble most public hearings held by similar entities of government: short on objective evaluations and often much more greatly influenced by monied interests than serious consideration of ‘the best interest’ of the community or the prevailing and historic culture of the area immediately impacted by it.

A gambling casino in Morgantown simply does not fit. It counters the prevailing culture. It cannot inspire an enhanced climate of work ethic or greater financial, personal or family morals. It cannot guarantee that people will not become addicted to the fast-money allure of gambling and that it will not contribute to the weakening of families and individuals. The simple reason is that historic results and impacts of gambling can only guarantee a disastrous ‘get rich quick’ mentality and predictable crippling addictions that undermine children’s lives and weaken families already under assault by a media and culture bent on destroying the Judeo-Christian worldview underpinning our laws and our nation.

When the gambling industry bought its way into law on July 4, 2004, it was on Independence Day and it was a Sunday morning! I know. I was there. I verbally opposed in floor debate opening the door to gambling in Pennsylvania, arguing against it on the floor of the Pennsylvania General Assembly. I even hearkened back to the General Assembly of the Commonwealth of Virginia, which listened to a sermon from Pastor William Stith in Williamsburg on Mar 1, 1752.

At that time, Pastor Stith made a most compelling case against the ‘Pernicious Nature of Gambling.’ His reasons then are the same now because truth doesn’t change. We’d do well to familiarize ourselves with them. The very nature of gambling is:

  • Against one’s neighbor (Exodus 20:17)
  • Against one’s country (Proverbs 14:34)
  • Against one’s family (Ephesians 6:4)
  • Against oneself
  • Against God (Ephesians 2:5)

These arguments prevailed in the Virginia legislature, and they prevailed in Pennsylvania until 2004. While gambling may now be legal, it still remains opposed to all that is good for a community and a nation. While we can do nothing to limit the expansion of gambling in other parts of the state, we can here. The Gaming Commission, and particularly the Caernarvon Supervisors, can and should consider well a final decision to inject this community with a gambling casino.

 (Hon. Sam Rohrer is a former Pennsylvania State Representative for the 128th District and current President of the American Pastors Network and Pennsylvania Pastors Network.)

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