Friday, January 27, 2012

Kentucky Pastor Opens Legislative Session with Controversial Prayer

A Kentucky pastor invited to open a budget address in January shocked everyone by praying fervently — and specifically — against a gambling expansion bill just moments before Gov. Steven Beshear took the podium to tell legislators why they need to pass it.

As more of the states surrounding Kentucky authorize casinos, the governor is worried about seeing residents’ dollars flowing out of state — and believes a gambling-expansion bill will stop the fiscal bleeding.

“We might as well be backing trucks filled with cash up to the Ohio River and dumping that money into the water,” Beshear said in a Jan. 4 speech.

But that’s not how Hershael York, a pastor at Frankfort’s Buck Run Baptist Church, and a professor at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, sees the situation.

After asking God to bless all the legislators and the governor with wisdom, he prayed, “May they never resort to leveraging vice and avarice to pay our bills. Help us to admit we cannot truly love our neighbor has ourselves and then scheme to get his money by enticing him with vain hope.

“May they not lead this state to share profits from an industry that preys on greed or desperation. Help us to foster salaries, not slot machines, to build cars and enable jobs, not license casinos and seduce the simple into losing what they have. May our greatest concern not be that we get our share of a family’s losses, but that we foster a sense of hope and justice that creates opportunity and leads to success. May the decisions they make and the judgments they render be consistent with Your eternal character and truth.”

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