Seniors Bingo NIght Terminated By Baptist Minister

The Truth Is…

Here is an example of the ludicrous situations that occur because someone’s “faith” prohibits another’s actions. Chalk one up to the tyranny of religion.

Seniors upset following Arkansas town’s bingo ban


Published April 12, 2012

| Associated Press

BALD KNOB, Ark. –  The routine for Joyce Landers is the same every Tuesday: The 71-year-old packs up snacks and her lucky markers, heads to an old fire station that now houses a senior center and gets ready to try her chances at bingo.

The Arkansas woman sat at her favorite table as usual this week, but it wasn’t the same. She knew her chances to win and spend time with her bingo-night friends at the Bald Knob Senior Center were close to ending.

Bald Knob, about an hour northeast of Little Rock, has decided to ban the only bingo operation in town, a move that’s the first of its kind since Arkansas legalized charitable gaming six years ago. Religious leaders and residents lobbied the City Council to rid the 3,000-person community of gambling. And the council obliged earlier this month by unanimously voting to ban bingo from the center starting May 1, upsetting Landers and other seniors.

“We don’t have nowhere to go and it’s an enjoyment for us,” said Landers, who lives in Searcy.

A nonprofit county program started the bingo nights in late September. But the events have drawn protests. A group of senior center regulars who disapprove of the gambling stopped attending daily activities, Mayor Doyle Wallace said. And why should they stop attending because they disapprove of something?

Viola Moore, who lives near the center, is among the protesters. “This is a Christian community and we don’t go along with certain things,” she said. “I was there when we had the (council) meeting and I said ‘Hallelujah.'”

Her husband, a Baptist preacher, wrote a letter to the council along with other ministers. Mayor Wallace said the opposition has been led by the Rev. Larry Johnson of Pleasant Grove Baptist, a church adjacent to the center. Johnson did not respond to multiple interview requests.

Marcia Pressler, program director with the White County Aging Program, which hosts the bingo nights in Bald Knob, said the ban will hurt seniors most. Bingo nights are a chance for them to get out of the house and mingle, she said, and proceeds from the games help cover expenses for an upcoming seniors trip to Branson, Mo., and other activities.

She plans to meet with Bald Knob City Council members to try to change their minds.

“It really makes me sad that they could take something like (bingo) and make it sound so bad,” Pressler said. Some of the seniors also are planning to attend the next council meeting on May 7, she said.

By the end of Tuesday’s bingo night, jackpot winner Landers’ fingertips matched the neon-pink color of her marker and she was $10 richer. She’s not sure what will replace her bingo nights. Maybe crochet, she said.

“I hate to see this be taken away from us,” Landers said.

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