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The State of Michigan is home to 3 casinos in Detroit owned by corporate interests and 22 tribal-owned casinos. You’d think this would be enough.

But no. Now two competing groups are working to put casino-approval measures on the fall ballot that, if passed, would permit one gambling proponent to add 8 new casinos and the other to add 7 new casinos.

You heard that right. In a state with 25 casinos these groups think we need 7-8 more.

The groups are euphemistically named Citizens for More Michigan Jobs and Michigan Is Yours. Makes you want to sprint to the polling booth doesn’t it? Pro-gambling groups never name themselves More Casinos For More Debt or Gamble Till Your Money’s Gone. No, they’re about “more jobs.” Sure they are.

And the same old tired arguments are being trotted out in support of more casinos, e.g., that these establishments will be taxed at high levels and the money will go for—public schools, police and fire services, townships, road repair, and my favorite, gambling-addiction prevention programs. (The best gambling-addiction prevention program is not to gamble.)

In other words, casino proponents argue that new casinos will provide more money for a host of social services people like, want, or need. Makes political sense: who’s against schools?

But the problem is, this is a bait and switch. Sure, this tax revenue may be earmarked for education and such, but it doesn’t mean education and such gets more money, which is what the public thinks. It means that these funds will go for education and such and then the Legislature will redirect elsewhere tax revenues that would have gone to education and such. In the end, education and such doesn’t necessarily, in fact usually does not at all, end up with more funds. They just end up with other funds, and the public is duped into a new “painless” (for politicians) tax.

Casinos don’t produce anything. They don’t add to the local economy in any way. In fact, casinos drain money from legitimate businesses in the local economy. And, while you cannot make a good case that gambling causes negative social and economic pathologies, you certainly can make a credible case that gambling is correlated with negative social and economic pathologies. These developments—e.g., debt and bankruptcy, job absenteeism, suicide, divorce, theft, health issues—cost local economies. The pubic ends up paying more in increases in health care premiums and increases in criminal justice costs.

It’s said, “A fool and his money are soon parted.” Casinos offer fools gold to attract fools. Michigan doesn’t need more of either one. Gambling is a bad bet; don't bet on it.


© Rex M. Rogers – All Rights Reserved, 2012

*This blog may be reproduced in whole or in part with a full attribution statement. Contact Rex or read more commentary on current issues and events at or follow him at

I've always loved animals. Always will.

Here are some thoughts about what role animals play in our lives and what role we should play in theirs:

© Rex M. Rogers – All Rights Reserved, 2012

This blog may be reproduced in whole or in part with a full attribution statement. Contact Rex or read more commentary on current issues and events at or follow him at

I just read a Christian ministry fundraising letter that boldly stated a pro-Israel view alongside a subtle anti-Arab view. The letter hoped to raise funds for a preaching program by suggesting to readers this ministry “stood with Israel” against all its enemies.

Clearly this letter is also pro-Jew, basing some of its outlook on the scriptural command to “pray for the peace of Jerusalem.” But it goes beyond this. The letter seamlessly blends biblical teachings about Jewish people generally and Jerusalem specifically with current Middle East political tensions, the state of Israel’s actions, and end-time prophecies.

One problem with this approach is that it offers a confusing and debatable eschatology (end-times doctrine) and a questionable, at best, mix of religion and politics.

Another problem with this approach is that it spiritualizes Israel the nation-state, thus sanctifying everything the current government does.

Now let me pause here. I've written on the subject before in a piece called "Jews Versus Arabs Or Jews And Arabs." The point is, why can't I be pro-Jew and pro-Arab?

I am certainly not anti-Jew, nor am I in any way suggesting Christians should not care about, pray for, or otherwise support Jewish people. I am not suggesting Jews or Israel have no enemies; of course they do. I am not “siding with” anti-Israel commentary, much less some political and religious leaders who regularly make threatening hate-statements about Israel.

I am saying that some Christian, and some conservative and some Republican, leaders are so eager to proclaim a perceived stature within the ranks that they make over-the-top rah-rah statements of “defense of Israel” at the cost of sounding, if not being, anti-Arab. These statements are designed to establish their credentials in terms of fidelity to the cause. “I’m for the defense of Israel, so I must be real," as a truly spiritual Christian, a truly staunch conservative, or a truly pure Republican.

As I noted above, I’m not anti-Israel. But to be supportive of and care about the Jewish people must I also believe that every move the nation of Israel makes is indeed, by definition, a correct one? Must I support the current government uncritically, blindly?

I love my own country. I am glad and grateful to be an American. But I do not believe every act of the USA or a given government is always the correct, good, or moral one. And I say so or vote so. I offer critique because I love my country, not because I do not.

I do not believe in “My country right or wrong but right or wrong my country.” This is an irrational and potentially dangerous hyper-patriotism, not responsible patriotism.

And why must I, if I love the Jewish people and pray for the peace of Jerusalem, suddenly become anti-Arab? Do all Arabs hate Jews? Of course they do not. Are all Arabs “bad” by virtue of their ethnicity? Of course they are not—if you believe so, you have succumbed to racism. Are all Jews “good” by virtue of their ethnicity or religion? Of course they are not, nor are Americans.

And for that matter, not just Arabs but Persians: are all Persians (Iranians) “bad,” enemies of America and Israel, because they are Persians? Of course not. Do all Iranian citizens agree with their leaders? No they do not. Then why lump them together? Why demonize an entire people group because of a given regime?

Much more concerning: why should Christians necessarily adopt anti-Arab or anti-Persian views simply because they care about Jews? Where in Scripture does it say we should despise or work against the Gentile?

So I think the Christian ministry that mailed the fundraising letter I read is not only wrong but irresponsible. I think that in its zeal to be biblical it misinterprets the Bible.

To be pro-Jew does not require one to be—unthinkingly—pro-Israel, even if you wish to support or defend Israel’s right to exist. To be pro-Jew in no way requires one to be anti-Arab, anti-Persian, anti-Turk, or anti-anyone. In fact, adopting a position that is categorically against any people group is a form of racial prejudice and is, therefore, non-Christian or, if you prefer, un-Christian.

The summary of the matter is that Jesus’s redemption and the life-giving Christian faith are for everyone, for Jew, Arab, Persian, Turk, for Gentile, for red and yellow, black and white, for male and female, for great and small, for one and all.


© Rex M. Rogers – All Rights Reserved, 2012

*This blog may be reproduced in whole or in part with a full attribution statement. Contact Rex or read more commentary on current issues and events at or follow him at

"Faux" or fake Christians abound. Likely I've fallen into that category at times in my life. But it's not a good place to be or to stay.

Here are a few thoughts on a certain kind of fake Christian:

© Rex M. Rogers – All Rights Reserved, 2012

This blog may be reproduced in whole or in part with a full attribution statement. Contact Rex or read more commentary on current issues and events at or follow him at


Oh to be young again,

To run barefoot through the woods,


and glens.

To see Grandpa,

the old farm,

and my dog Peppie running in the wind.


Oh to be young again. 

To walk the hardwood of Lincoln School,

take milk-money,

and search for steel pennies in the bin,

To play baseball,


and Cowboys-n-Indians,


Oh to be young again.

To race the playground,

learn grammar and fractions,

and get lost in the wonder of a young girl’s grin,

To discover comics and novels,

read in the night,

and dream of being a hero of men.


Oh to be young again.

To look upon Creation,

think about God,

and become aware of something called sin.

To understand love,

sacrifice, forgiveness,

and thanks to the Lord salvation within.


Oh to be young again.

To be fueled by optimism,

invulnerable, invincible,

and take life as you must right on the chin.

To revisit Central School,

look for the names carved in the desk,

and recapture the hope of where we begin.


Oh to be young again.

To grow up fast in ways not our choosing,

watch the world change,

and find JFK, MLK, RFK no longer therein.

To endure Viet Nam, Watts, Kent State,

wrestle with racism, rebellion, hate,

and meanwhile youth comes to an end.


Oh to be young again.

To be young again is an old one’s fantasy,

repeat, redo,

and relive the uncertain.

To remember is a privilege,

amuse or bemuse,

and it dawns, after all, youth’s not such a bargain.


Oh to be content with the age that I’m in.


© Rex M. Rogers – All Rights Reserved, 2012

*This blog may be reproduced in whole or in part with a full attribution statement. Contact Rex or read more commentary on current issues and events at or follow him at

People are going gaga this week over the Mega Millions lottery jackpot passing $500 million. Millions of people are buying millions of dollars of tickets, which of course drives up the jackpot farther. Too bad this is all a celebration in irrationality.

You’ve a better chance of getting two holes-in-one in one round of golf, a near impossibility, than of winning the jackpot.

You’ve a better chance of being eaten by sharks in Ohio than of winning the lottery.

I call it a celebration of irrationality because people suspend reason in order to participate. Nothing about lotteries make sense; yet millions still buy tickets.

You have no ability to influence the outcome. You put your money in the pot and make a vain wish. The odds are all against you; except for a few token winners, only the lottery owners –the “House”—(state governments) win big. Think about it. If Mega Millions is giving away a huge chunk of $500M as a prize, think how much MM had to take in to make this happen.

A lot of people have to lose for one person to win, which is one reason I wrote my own book on the subject a few years back.

Many, and I do mean many, though the evidence is anecdotal rather than empirical, lottery winners later face social, personal, and financial problems, even bankruptcies. Why? People don’t know how to handle a lot of money. People you’ve forgotten come and beg you for money. Winners spend like there’s no tomorrow, but there is a tomorrow. Some winners have said winning the lottery was the worst thing that ever happened to them. Makes you think, or it should.

I tell people, “If you have to gamble (and I’m not for it), than at least don’t gamble in the lotteries. They’re the worst odds out there. Go gamble in a casino where you have at least a little (though not much) better odds of winning something.”

Lotteries are a state legislator’s dream—they’re a way to tax those least able to afford it without calling the revenue source a tax. What’s better, it’s a so-called “voluntary tax.” People participate, which is to say they give their money to the government, of their own free will. From a legislator’s perspective, what’s not to like? But who loses? The Public. You do.

Lotteries, even Mega Million lotteries with enormous jackpots, are ultimately a losing proposition. They’re bad politics and bad economics. Certainly, they’re a bad bet.


© Rex M. Rogers – All Rights Reserved, 2012

*This blog may be reproduced in whole or in part with a full attribution statement. Contact Rex or read more commentary on current issues and events at or follow him at