Gambling Is No Virtue
Christians are called to be stewards of God's blessings. Could Bennett's earnings have been put to better use?
BY: Ken Connor
Although Bennett has not violated any laws, the sheer scale of his gambling activities is troubling. Reports that Bennett does not dispute suggest he has wagered millions of dollars over the last decade and that casinos in Las Vegas and Atlantic City extend to him "high-roller" status. Christians are called upon to be good stewards of God's blessings, and observers are understandably wondering whether Bennett's earnings could have been put to better use.
In addition, while good people may disagree as to whether all gambling is morally tainted, there can be no question as to the negative social consequences that too often result from it. The gambling industry attracts and fosters such other vices as prostitution, substance abuse, spousal abuse, divorce, and family abandonment. That's why it's so troubling that many politicians across the country have come to see gambling revenues - from lotteries to slot machines to casinos - as a convenient way to avoid real fiscal discipline. In reality, however, gambling amounts to a highly regressive tax upon the poor-who, unlike Bennett, can ill afford their losses.
William Bennett has been revealed to be a flawed human being. This should come as no surprise. We are, after all, made of dust. What is surprising is that liberal cynics are so surprised. Those of us who profess a Christian faith have always said that every human being--yes, including the most outspoken arbiter of virtue--is a sinner, both in nature and in action. That's why we acknowledge our need of a Savior. We are called not to a state of perfection, but to repentance.
And repenting--which means not self-flagellation but a change of direction--appears to be what Bennett has now done. On May 5, he issued the following statement: "I have done too much gambling, and this is not an example I wish to set...Therefore, my gambling days are over."
Good for Mr. Bennett. It's what a man of virtue would do.