Arguably, the second most common objection that we encounter when advocating to acquaintances, friends, and family who are not active poker players is a moral or religious objection. Here is a response to aid in overcoming objections like this:
“GAMBLING IS A SIN” – or some substantially similar dismissal of the topic.
For anyone who holds a deeply-seeded belief that any activity that happens over a deck of cards is gambling, even the most logical and concise arguments; including those we have referenced previously HERE, are going to be irrelevant. Further, it is the height of foolishness to try to argue with someone as to what the definitions of THEIR individual faith and beliefs will hold as sinful or wrong. Faith is a personal relationship with who (and or what) the individual believes. An outsider to that one-on-one relationship cannot dictate the terms of that belief.
Having said the above, we need to look at where this objection is coming from and who is being asked to enforce the opinions of those with a genuine religious conviction.
Frequently, it is understood to be the convictions of certain Judeo/Christian beliefs that gambling is a sin and a way to obtain something (i.e. money, land, property) without working. Some scholars have hinted that this belief came to be from the story of the Roman soldiers “casting lots” (throwing dice) for the personal effects of the recently crucified Jesus of Nazareth. Wherever the origin of the belief, it is irrelevant to the fact that such a belief is not uncommon.
It is not the responsibility of the Texas State Legislature to pass laws that enforce or uphold one religious belief at the expense of the freedoms and liberty of consenting adults; who may have separate opinion as to the morality of a given occupation or recreational activity. This position is not an invitation to expand this argument to medical procedures, illegal drug use or other activities with an actual public health and safety concern. It is the responsibility of the Texas State Legislature to work towards policy and the enacting of laws that promote public safety, individual liberty, and protect the environment for businesses who work diligently within a free market and attempt to compete within a robust economy.
The enforcement of one set of religious beliefs upon all citizens and residents of the State is not the proper role of the Texas State Legislature.
The policies and legislation that Poker in Texas is working diligently to introduce and enact are about freedom of individual choice.
For those Texans who are adamantly opposed to the concept of legalizing poker, for religious or moral reasons, there is no provision within any of the bills and resolutions proposed that would force or require someone to enter into a poker establishment and to play poker. Similarly, there is no provision requiring any individual to “log on” to an approved and regulated website to play online poker, if the individual did not wish to do so.
Actually, the bills proposed are structured so that tax revenues from the Texas general revenue fund WOULD NOT BE USED to support poker businesses, but rather the proposed taxes on poker operations would be used to add funds to the Texas general revenue fund, as well as additional revenues for county and city operational funds.