"Yes" to families and "No" to casinos. That's the message from some Jackson County religious leaders who met in Ocean Springs Wednesday. The group gathered to discuss plans by the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians to possibly build a casino on Highway 57.
"I would be irresponsible to not take my stand for families as a minister and as a citizen and tax payer in Jackson County," said Mike Barnett of the First Baptist Church of Ocean Springs.
The religious leaders say when they heard the Choctaws were proposing a new casino resort on their Highway 57 property, they knew they had to take action.
"I hate to see those type of organizations prey on people's weakness," said missonary Charles Rodgers of the Jackson County Baptist Association.
"The owners of a casino do not gamble. In other words, it is not a gamble for them to build the casino because the house never loses," said Pastor Palma Chandler of Calling All Christians Church in Moss Point.
"It is destructive towards the family and it is not christain in any sense of the word," Rodgers said.
To further their fight against casinos coming to the area, minsters of all denominations have formed a group called Jackson Unified For Families, a group they say will promote Christian values instead of gaming.
"The nature of our organization is simply not to be against something, it to be for something. It is to be for families," Barnett said.
A vision missionary Charles Rodgers says he will spread all across Jackson County.
"I think there is a better road and a better life to live and that is the Christian life," said Rodgers. "And for this group, that means a casino-free community."
The group will hold another meeting at Crossroads Church in Ocean Springs July 12th at 10am. All ministers in Jackson County are invited to attend.