We, Clergy of Saugerties area churches oppose passage of Proposition 1 on the Statewide ballot this Nov. 5.
We believe that the pursuit of wealth for its own sake is morally bankrupt and undermines the spiritual concept of offering one’s labor in service to the community and for the purpose of earning money to support families and contribute to the care of the needy. When a single individual realizes winnings from gambling, those winnings come through the impoverishment of the many, those who have lost everything.
Gov. Cuomo and the State Legislature tell us that passage of Proposition One will result in the creation of jobs. We believe that New York State needs job creation, but not jobs from the gambling industry. Workers who earn a living in an environment that promotes human greed while destroying the lives of those who become addicted to gambling end up working without dignity. New York needs to create jobs that will build up our communities rather than destroy them.
Gov. Cuomo and the State Legislature tell us that passage of Proposition 1 will help raise revenue for education. The people of New York have no reason to believe this will occur. When the State lottery was instituted over 25 years ago the same promise was made. Yet money for other purposes was siphoned off, leaving education without adequate funding.
Gov. Cuomo and the State Legislature believe that passage of Proposition 1 will benefit the environment, in spite of the fact that casinos use enormous amounts of electricity for their signs, attractions, and parlors, and those who travel to casinos in cars or buses (some hundreds of miles) burn gasoline that adds pollutants to the air from trips they would not otherwise make.
Proposition 1 is a scheme perpetrated on the people of New York to raise state revenue without politicians having to demonstrate fiscal responsibility through the state budget or raise taxes, thereby jeopardizing their chances for re-election (the primary concern of every politician.)
Gov. Cuomo and the State Legislature are hoping that New Yorkers will not look critically and honestly at the proposal. They are hoping that New Yorkers will blindly follow where their leaders wish them to go. They are hoping to reap the additional income before New Yorkers wake up and realize the incredible damage casinos will cause to our towns and villages.
The Rev. Michael Phillips, Trinity Episcopal Church, Saugerties
The Rev. Robert L. Vanderlaan, Plattekill Reformed Church, Mt. Marion
Deacon Karl Pietkiewicz, St. Mary of the Snow Catholic Church, Saugerties
Deacon Arnie Hyland, St. Mary of the Snow Catholic Church, Saugerties
Deacon Franklin Chin, Atonement Lutheran Church, Saugerties
The Rev. Dr. Duane Buttle, Saugerties United Methodist Church, Saugerties
The Rev. Edward Schreiber, Atonement Lutheran Church, Saugerties
The Rev. Paul Walle, St. Paul’s Lutheran Church, West Camp