Group Hopes Prayers Stop Choctaw Casino From Cashing In On Jackson County

"Father in heaven, that land across that highway there is your land, as is all of it, you own it all," Jackson County United for Families spokesman Carl King prayed.

With out-stretched arms, dozens of Jackson County residents are praying that this undeveloped land does not become a Choctaw casino.

"What is going to happen, if it does, is truly a devastation to this community and this country," Jackson County resident Pat Adams says.

"I've seen homes destroyed, I've seen families separating and divorcing. I just don't think that God is pleased with this, I really don't," Jackson County resident Melva Emerson says.

Members of all denominations across Jackson County are asking a higher power for help.

"We need a mighty act of yours," one pastor prayed.

Many pastors stressed that they're not here to pray against the Choctaws. In fact, they don't mind this land being developed, just not into a casino.

"The Choctaws could build anything out there besides a casino that is a profitable business with good moral character and we would welcome it with open arms in the Jackson County community," King says.

The group plans for many more prayer rallies until a referendum on the Choctaw casino is held in November. If Choctaw gaming is approved, King says the prayers won't stop there.

"The one thing you can count on if that casino is built, we'll be right here trying our very best to convince the people going in and out, that Jesus Christ has a better answer for our lives than does the casino," King says.

The $375 million proposed casino won't be voted on until November. Earlier this month, a representative with the U.S. Department of the Interior said the final decision on a Choctaw casino in Jackson County won't just depend on November's election results. The Department of Interior considers: the interest of the tribe, the interest of the community and the governor's opinion. In the past, Governor Barbour has spoken out against gaming expanding beyond counties where it currently exists.