Church members still opposed to a Jackson County casino

JACKSON COUNTY, MS (WLOX) - It's a busy Sunday morning at Crossroads Church of the Nazarene's. They are having men's Sunday school lessons, and a class for college students. There is also discussion about the future possibility of a Choctaw casino being built on this property on Highway 57, near the church.

Four years ago, Crossroads led the charge against a proposed casino. That will not change.

Crossroads Church of the Nazarene Pastor Keith Megehee leads the church and said he has good reason for why they should not open the casino.

"We would again oppose for socially responsible reasons the development of our local economy based on a casino." Megehee said.  "There are more responsible ways to put our people to work."

As church services get underway, members of the congregation agree with that assessment.  Dixie Clark is one of them.  "My personal opinion is that I would really not rather have a casino near my church," Clark said. "I personally don't attend casinos any how and I don't see where they benefit the community and I would just really not have one near my church and I hope that it doesn't happen."

In a 2007 non-binding referendum, voters rejected the proposed Choctaw casino by a 60 percet margin. The church pastor feels that should not be forgotten, and has faith it will not be.

"The federal policy itself is a separate decision from the ones the residents of Jackson County have repeatedly stated," Megehee said.  "The residents of Jackson County have asked that we have socially responsible economic development and that we would ask that the Mississippi band of Choctaws Indians respect that decision."

If and when another casino proposal is put forth is a big question.  If it does happen, there's no question about the response.

"I know that we would be very disappointed to have it here in the neighborhood and I think that we would do anything we could to see that not happen." Crossroads Church of the Nazarene's Youth Pastor Michael Ford said.

Certain conditions would have to be met before any casino could be built. That includes support from the state, and any off-site casino must be in the best interest of the tribe.

Calls to the Choctaw headquarters in Neshoba County asking for comment on this latest policy change were not answered.

Copyright 2011 WLOX. All rights reserved.