More than half the respondents to a Baptist web poll want any North Caolina lottery proposal killed in the state legislature.
Responding to a question asking how they would urge their legislators to respond to a proposal for a state-operated lottery in North Carolina, 56 percent of respondents to the poll at www.northcarolinabaptists.org said they want lawmakers to kill a lottery by vote in the legislature.
Another 42 percent of respondents would have their representatives in state government provide for a statewide referendum, requiring voters to register their opinions about a lottery at the polls.
Two percent of respondents wanted the legislature to provide for county-by-county referendums.
Lottery opponents welcome a decision made in the legislature to hold their representatives accountable. House Speaker Jim Black has told the press he wants an up or down vote on the lottery rather than calling for a referendum.
Black told the Winston-Salem Journal that he intends to put the issue up for a vote on the House floor next week.
"Several legislators are on the record saying that although they personally oppose a lottery, they think it is good to let the citizens have the decision making power," said Steve Sumerel, executive director for the Council on Christian Life and Public Affairs. "Now those statements must come home to roost."
Jim Royston, executive director-treasurer of the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina, says raising revenue through a lottery is bad government.
"While we oppose the lottery on moral grounds, the solid argument that should win in the marketplace is that a lottery is bad government" Royston says. "Instead of making the difficult budget decisions to properly fund schools through fair taxation and cut programs with no positive effect, bad legislators want to seduce gullible, desperate folks who can least afford it to fund the schools with their grocery money."
To prove his point, Royston quotes an ad from the Holiday Food chain in California, which ran in the Sacramento Bee after California instituted a lottery.
"In the first six months of the California lottery, our food chain sold $1.8 million in lottery tickets," the ad said. "During that same period of time, our food sales were off $1.8 million. We have ceased selling lottery tickets because we believe it is a moral issue when people use money for lottery tickets rather than buy food to feed their families."