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Left Justified: Summer thoughts

August 3, 2011

By Stanley Campbell

Being a mishmash of summer cogitations while hiding out from the heat.

You can start laying your money down on whether the governor will grant Rockford a casino. I vote no. But this is not an election. That already occurred, although every time we had a vote, gambling came up short.

No, the betting is the governor will not approve most of the “gaming” legislation that will soon be on his desk. Too much money for too few rich people, and hardly any oversight.

But, just to make sure, try giving the governor a call, and tell him you don’t want any more gambling (we have enough already, and we are losing our shirts).

But if we do get a casino, the moneyed class want it downtown — right smack in the middle of our fair city. You can walk to the river, see the new conservatory, visit Homer the Triceratops, take in a show at the Coronado, then spend your life savings at the casino.

Speaking of downtown, the fair-trade store, JustGoods, has been doing well for the last four years, thanks in great part to the work of Dori Kearney, who resigned this last week. She is with her daughter, who’s undergoing surgery in California. Our prayers are with her.

That woman made the fair-trade store happen. She was a student at Northern Illinois University when Ms. Kearney first volunteered to help Rockford Urban Ministries open a gift shop at 201 Seventh St.

Dori Kearney and her husband, Mike, gave time, energy and money to bring the store along. She attracted a core of volunteers who now keep the place open 10 a.m.-6 p.m., Tuesday-Saturday. And the support from customers and the religious community has been overwhelming.

My office (Rockford Urban Ministries or RUM) is in the basement of JustGoods. RUM has a and little gallery for donated items from mission groups. Items were just donated that came from Kyrgyzstan. That is one of the “-stans” just south of Russia. Doilies, potholders, little textile goods were donated to the RUM Art Gallery. Brought back by Rockford volunteers to finance the construction of the new Kemin School building for the disabled, we are happy to take anything. Make checks out to Rockford Urban Ministries (or “RUM”) if you’d like any art piece.

The clash of ideas in Washington, D.C., sure gives a bad name to democracy — or republicanism. If the economy goes further into the toilet, we’ll all be gambling as we keep or spend our hard-earned dollars. But if you are rich and own government bonds, you get paid first, and the interest you receive goes up. That is a sure bet. Would some people try to wreck the economy just to make an extra million?

OK, so maybe I’ve been out in the sun too long, but when I heard about the killings in Norway, I thought “Muslim extremists.” Surprise, it was a “Christian extremist.” My apologies.

I do not know where Jesus suggests that we kill our enemies, or those we disagree with. Those are the ranting of an “anti-” Christian, at least in my mind. Jesus talked about love, about helping the poor, about turning the cheek against violence. He let the Romans crucify Him, and came back to tell us we should not be afraid of death, or evil. Good will triumph.

But the killer had a 1,000-page manifesto detailing how Christians must kill. I wish God would come back and, with a booming voice, and maybe a fiery sword, tell everyone to lay off the violence. But I guess we have to speak out, ourselves, at least those of us who believe in Christ, Love and non-violence.

Stanley Campbell is executive director of Rockford Urban Ministries and spokesman for Rockford Peace & Justice.

From the Aug. 3-9, 2011, issue

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