State is hypocritical in gambling

Published 11:50 pm Wednesday, March 7, 2012

The front page of the March 1 edition of the Montgomery Advertiser appears to present a dichotomous view of casino gambling in the state of Alabama. In the lead story, “School Systems get $2M,” school superintendents from Montgomery and Elmore counties were ecstatic over the news the Poarch Band of Creek Indians was donating, from casino gambling profits; $1 million to each county school system, with an additional $4 million going to other entities.

In the final story on the front page, “Gambling Corruption Trial – Jury to begin full deliberations,” six remaining defendants will have their fate decided by a sequestered jury.

In the first story, Robbie McGhee, treasurer of the Poarch Band of Creek Indians, could possibly be canonized for the benevolence he announces. In the second story, Milton McGregor could be criminalized for alleged activities to get legislators to vote favorably on a gambling bill.

Email newsletter signup

I’ve never been in a casino before and don’t intend to go to one. However, I cannot ignore the incongruous positions taken by parties on both sides of the issue of gambling in Alabama.

Religious conservatives are purported to be against gambling because of the vices that usually follow it. Yet, gambling is still taking place in the state (tribal lands are in the state).

A newspaper reported that the president of the Christian Coalition of Alabama actually supported legislation to permit gambling in what he viewed as a way to stop the spread of gambling. If it were not for the $300,000 that his company allegedly received for his support, there is a remote possibility that his logic could be understood.

Makes you want to go, “umh.”

I’ve been told Indian tribes must follow Alabama law; but only the federal government can enforce that law. The state has stood down in deference to federal jurisdiction.

In the case of illegal immigration, the law is federal, and according to Washington, states have no right to enforce it. Arizona, Alabama and other states enacted their own immigration laws and the federal government will not stand down and allow enforcement of those laws.

Ergo, we have people being prosecuted by the government for trying to do the same thing that indigenous citizens continue to do under the restraints of the federal government. A legal change in the state’s constitution would have allowed other school systems across the state to receive funding from gambling institutions.

On the issue of illegal immigration, it would be wiser to find a way to document out-of-country workers and cause them to pay FICA and payroll taxes on fair wages to shore up state revenues, while working to prevent potential terrorists and other undesirables from entering the country.

Finally, I cringe every time I hear somebody equate illegal immigration of Hispanics with the civil rights movement to secure rights for African Americans.

Black Americans did not slip across the border. We were shipped across the ocean into forced labor. And even after 400 years of effort, one in five of our eligible population is unemployed. Our per capita income is lower than that of Hispanics. Getting those who have been left behind, employable and employed is a more noble cause than opening up some new civil rights frontier.


Pastor Rembert is the pastor of New Beginnings Christian Center, located in Selma.