On Tuesday, February 9, 2021, Sen. Del Marsh introduced Senate Bill 214 (SB214), calling for a constitutional amendment to be voted on by the citizens of Alabama that would legalize gambling in the state. The bill was voted out of the Senate Tourism Committee on Wednesday by a unanimous vote and Sen. Marsh indicated it would be on the floor of the Senate on Thursday, February 11. He added that he would move they “carry over” the final vote until after the Legislature’s scheduled 10-day break. This is to give the senators time to hear from their constituents. I would encourage everyone to contact your State Senator this week or next and urge them to vote NO on SB214.
We are not talking about a simple “paper lottery,” but wide-spread gambling involving electronic gambling devices (slot machines and possibly online gambling “in the palm of your hand”), full-fledged casinos up and down the state, and a compact with the Poarch Creek Indians which would allow them to add a casino in Northeast Alabama near Huntsville and Chattanooga, TN.
The argument from legislators who favor this bill is that they “just want to allow the people of Alabama to vote on gambling,” but what they really mean is they want to allow the big lottery management companies, the casino operators and the tribal gambling bosses to BUY the votes of the people. These gambling enterprises will combine their resources and grossly outspend gambling opponents. Who will be the opponents? — Mostly the churches which will have to take the precious few ministry and missions dollars they have to fight this constitutional amendment. Gambling (whether your are talking about lottery games or casino gambling) will prey on the poorest people in our state and will lead to many more people losing everything they have on the false promise that they will “strike it rich!” In the end, churches will also lose as they are called upon to help families that will have lost everything they own (including their mortgages) through government-sanctioned and government-sponsored gambling.
In the fall of 2020 I produced a 12-minute video that outlines why Christians should oppose gambling. Click here to view this video. Click here for a copy of a document that ALCAP provided the Governor’s Gambling Policy Study Committee last summer. It will answer many of the questions raised concerning the expansion of legalized gambling in Alabama. For additional information, visit www.StopPredatoryGambling.org.
VULNERABLE CHILD COMPASSION AND PROTECTION ACT (VCAP)
The two versions of this bill (one in the Senate and one in the House) were both in committee today. House Bill 1 (HB1) had a public hearing in the House Judiciary Committee and will, hopefully, be voted out of committee after the legislators return from their pre-planned break. Senate Bill 10 (SB10), after a public hearing, was passed out of the Senate Health Committee today. Both bills prohibit gender change therapy for minors and prohibit the withholding of certain related information from parents. ALCAP supports both of these bills and we encourage you to let your State Senator and State House Member know that you want them to vote YES on both bills. Click on the link, enter your zip-code then scroll down to find your Alabama Sate
[NOTE: Public hearings are being held on various bills. I have chosen, due to the health risks of my wife, not to participate in any public hearings or travel to the State House. Access by lobbyists to the State House is limited and there have been reported cases of COVID-19 among staff and even one legislator. Most public hearings only allow speakers a couple of minutes to present their positions and most of the legislators have already made up their minds before the public hearing. I have decided it is not worth the risk to my family. I am using other means of communication with key legislators and I am using my time to watch meetings online and then reporting what is taking place to you so that you can contact your own legislators.]
House Bill 246 (HB246) has been introduced in the Alabama House of Representatives. This bill attempts to overturn existing law that bans the practice of yoga and meditation in public schools throughout the state. I interviewed Rev. Clete Hux, Executive Director of the Apologetics Resource Center in Birmingham, concerning why this bill is really a “Trojan Horse” that will establish the Hindu religion in public schools. Click here to view a video of that 21-minute interview.
SB138 passed out of the Senate Tourism Committee today with a unanimous vote. A similar bill (HB229) passed out of the House Judiciary Committee. These bills will allow for direct shipment of alcoholic beverages directly to the homes of Alabama citizens. Do not expect delivery service personnel to check IDs of those receiving the shipments! If either of these bills is passed by both houses and signed by the Governor, the result will be alcoholic beverages becoming available without any restrictions. Let me remind everyone that alcohol is a mind-altering and addictive drug and should be very restricted in its availability. It is not like buying regular grocery items online.
UPDATED WEBSITES FOR ALCAP AND AMERICAN CHARACTER BUILDERS
Great news from ALCAP & American Character Builders — We have updated both websites! They are still packed with information, links and resources for use in schools and churches, but with a fresh, up-to-date and easy-to-navigate format.
At www.ALCAP.com check out Alabama legislative updates and articles concerning a variety of topics on subjects such as alcohol, tobacco, other drugs, gambling, religious freedom, pro-life, pro-family and a host of other similar topics. We would especially encourage you to check out “The Forgotten Command” page, which includes an introductory video and six single-session videos dealing with the importance of Christians and churches being the “salt and light” Jesus called us to be. Along with each video (20-30 minutes in length) is a .PDF with discussion questions for use in churches, small groups or individual study.
On the American Character Builders website (www.AmericanCharacterBuilders.org) you will find resources for use in public or private schools, as well as local churches, on subjects dealing with alcohol, tobacco, opioids, other drugs and bullying. You will also find helpful links to supplement whatever study you use. We hope you find the new format refreshing and easy to navigate, and the information found on each website useful in your school, church and community!