MBC urging memebers to register, vote Aug. 3
By Allen Palmeri
July 6, 2004
Clippard: Gambling fight like David vs. Goliath
JEFFERSON CITY – Southwest Casino and Hotel Corp., the Minneapolis-based company selected as the preferred developer for a proposed casino about 10 miles from Branson in Rockaway Beach, is spending about $4 million in a statewide drive to persuade voters to amend the state constitution Aug. 3. That represents about two-thirds of the $6.2 million annual operating budget of the Missouri Baptist Convention (MBC).
“We’re up against a financial juggernaut,” said MBC Executive Director David Clippard.
With less than one month to go, and the MBC fighting for righteousness as best it can, Clippard said there is only one way for Missouri Baptists and other pro-family groups to prevail.
“God’s going to have to do this,” Clippard said. “We do not have the financial resources or the worldly machine to pull off a victory. All we’ve done is taken available dollars and tried to put in the hands of our churches information for people to make a biblical worldview vote.
“We have absolutely everything going against us except Jesus.”
Clippard is comparing the MBC to David, who fought the giant Goliath with a stone, a sling and a prayer. The stone is the Missouri Baptist pastor who will be preaching on gambling in July. The sling is the Missouri Baptist church member who will be influencing his neighbor to vote justly Aug. 3. The prayer is the MBC slogan “No MO Gambling” and its increasingly popular Web site, www.NoMOgambling.com.
“If our pastors can give our people the biblical basis for why these two issues (the Rockaway Beach casino and another Aug. 3 vote to amend the state constitution declaring marriage to be only between a man and a woman) can be really damaging to our culture, and our people would then each go and enlist four other likeminded friends outside of Southern Baptist life and get them to the polls, that would be a total of 750,000 voters,” Clippard said. “That could easily swing this election.
“The key is the person in the pew.”
The MBC is operating on “a shoestring budget,” Clippard said. Plans to put up “No MO Gambling” billboards around St. Louis and Kansas City have been scrapped due to expense. Instead, the MBC will utilize a second wave of bulletin inserts and radio advertisements in these final weeks, he said.
Launching a sophisticated, big-money campaign, Southwest Casino mailed fliers to residents arguing it is only fair to expand gambling to the Ozarks since other areas already have it. Clippard scoffed at that reasoning.
“I believe the proper analogy is not fairness,” Clippard said. “The proper analogy for a casino is it’s like a strip mine. It goes into an area, peels back the beauty, strips out the wealth and leaves it devastated.”
Clippard said, Missouri’s 11 casinos strip out $7.2 billion of profit from the state on the average every year. “I doubt very seriously that they put back that kind of money into our state,” he said.
David responded to Goliath by killing him. How might Missouri Baptists follow that example Aug. 3?
“When we give Missouri Baptists the information, they respond,” Clippard said. “We asked them in the bulletin inserts to make calls to their (U.S.) senators (on the Federal Marriage Amendment). It’s happening.”
Meanwhile, some observers think the issue of amending the state constitution to protect traditional marriage may be in trouble since Gov. Bob Holden, to the delight of the homosexual activists, moved the vote to Aug. 3. They point out that eight to 10 percent fewer voters generally show up at the polls during a primary election. Some supporters of the amendment say that could jeopardize the measure since the outcome will likely hinge on turnout. It is believed that because the Democrats have a competitive primary for governor, it could produce a large turnout among Democrats, a considerable number of whom oppose the amendment.