By M.H. Cavenaugh
Christian Action League
September 4, 2014
KINGS MOUNTAIN – The Kings Mountain Herald is reporting that before the Kings Mountain City Council started its regular business on Tuesday night, city councilmen heard from a number of citizens opposed to the proposed Catawba Indian Casino.
The Catawba Indian tribe has made application to reserve land for a gambling operation near the Dixon School Road I 85 exit. They are waiting to receive an answer from the Bureau of Indian Affairs regarding their request. The proposed complex, if approved, would include a 220,000-square-foot casino and 1,500 hotel rooms.
Although Gov. Pat McCrory has expressed opposition to the plan and more than 100 lawmakers in the N.C. House and Senate have signed a letter to the U.S. Interior Secretary asking the tribe not be allowed to open the gambling facility, local leaders have voted to support it.
For five months large numbers of Kings Mountain and Cleveland County citizens, ranging from as many as 20 for county commissioners meetings, and 35-40 for city council meetings, once as high as 77 for a city council meeting, have urged local leaders at their regular meetings to rescind their support for the development. The fervor against the casino continues to gain momentum.
According to the Herald, Grover resident Tim Stalcup, argued before the Kings Mountain City Council on Tuesday, “The jobs won’t be worth it. The jobs are paid for by millions in gambling loses.” “A casino is like a drug,” Jonathan Coffee, of Shelby told the city council. Coffee added that gambling leads people to resort to embezzlement and other crimes. “I ask you, how can that be good for this community?”
Adam Forcade, head of the Kings Mountain Awareness Group, which has spearheaded the opposition to the proposed casino, also made an impassioned speech to local Kings Mountain leaders. Below is the text of Forcade’s remarks:
“I am going to start with a quote from a well-known man: “Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter”. That was Martin Luther King and we know the battle he faced. However, we here in Kings Mountain are facing an issue every bit as unjust and important as the civil rights movement Mr. King fought . We face a county government that has welcomed a vicious predator into our midst. Although you did not seek or recruit a casino to come to Kings Mountain, you did open your arms enthusiastically when one came along looking for a home.
“Many others have and will continue to speak regarding the morality of a casino, and I do not discount their words. I do, however, want you to know that all of us are unified in our disgust over your acceptance and approval of government sponsored predatory gambling. Yes, you as a body are sponsoring a casino. You have told me and every other citizen in this room that video gambling is illegal, immoral, and harmful. You did your level best to drive the video poker predators completely out of the county and you succeeded. You enacted ordinances and enforced laws that put people in jail for taking part in video gambling. For profit, commercial gambling is illegal unless the government makes it legal. This proposed casino could not exist without your implicit approval and you will receive revenue from it, which puts you into a sponsorship position.
“There is no argument that can justify predatory gambling. You can debate the size of the economic impact. You can debate whether it will have a large social impact, or a catastrophic one. You can debate whether it is a sin or not. But no intelligent person could in good faith say they believe it would be beneficial to the community.
“I’m going to close with a couple of statements for you to consider.
“First predatory gambling is not who we are as a community, nor is it something we as voters will accept your sponsorship of. It is time for each of you to consider what is important to you as an elected leader. There is no aspect of predatory gambling that represents where we came from, where we are today, nor where want to be 5 years from now.
“Lastly, we will not lightly regard any elected official who makes a conscious decision to throw away the mores, values, and ethics of our heritage, and more importantly of our future. This community is proud of our standards and will not stand behind anybody who takes part in tearing them down for something as revolting as predatory gambling. We refuse to accept a government that profits by undermining public virtues.”
“I am so very moved by the faithfulness of Adam Forcade and these many other Christian brethren who like little David with his slingshot have dared to challenge the gargantuan giant of predatory gambling,” said Dr. Mark Creech, executive director of the Christian Action League. “With the threat of a serious potential crisis for their community looming large, like the prophets of old, these saints have made the clarion call for leaders to repent. Gambling is opposed to everything precious to the Christian faith. I pray other Christians, and most importantly, more Christian clergy from every denominational background in the area will join them in this fight.”
At a steering committee meeting on Thursday, the Kings Mountain Awareness Group set plans for a protest at the September County Commissioners Meeting and an information booth for the Cleveland County Fair.