Archive for the tag “PBS”

California evangelizes lottery: ‘Believe in something bigger’


Angela Lu writes for World magazine:

The ad starts with a soft choral singing of “California Dreaming,” and small white balls falling out of the sky like snowflakes onto sequoia forests, the Golden Gate bridge, downtown Los Angeles, the beach. Regular folks look up in wonder, enjoying the “snowfall” until one man joyously finds a red ball in his hand. The screen cuts away to the pseudo-religious phrase “Believe in something bigger,” and the purpose of the ad: California Lottery Powerball with jackpots starting at $40 million.

The TV spot, along with billboards that include moving images of the woman’s suffrage movement, the moon landing, and the fall of the Berlin wall with just the word “Believe” in the corner, has been criticized by commentators as tricking citizens—especially the poor—into believing a lie. The odds of hitting the Powerball’s 6-number jackpot are more than 175 million to one.

Ad agency David&Goliath expands on its campaign saying the phrase “isn’t just a tagline, it’s a mindset—one that inspires people to think beyond what’s possible. To be part of a movement of optimism and larger-than-life dreams, and to serve as a filter for the Lottery and the people who play.”

And often those who fall for this optimism are those who need the money the most. A PBS report last year found that households that earn less than $13,000 a year spend 9 percent of their income on lottery tickets. Those who feel poor buy twice as many lottery tickets.

Read the rest of this excellent article by clicking here.

It says a lot about a society — none of it good — when it is willing to raise revenue by selling false hope to the desperate poor, and the middle class shrugs off the exploitation by saying, “Hey, it’s only a game, and I enjoy playing.” How selfish is a society in which “believe in something bigger” means realizing the ultimate narcissistic fantasy of sudden “something for nothing” wealth? Who can show them what a life of faith in something bigger actually looks like?

The author’s conclusion is spot-on: God redeems the poor, and that includes “the poor, ordinary things in our lives, including ourselves” that are of greater value than all the world’s wealth. Let us walk in his paths — and teach others his ways as well.

Watch the California Lottery ad by clicking here.
Learn more about a Christian response to gambling by clicking here.

Not so civilized: Preying on prisoners

Eric Metaxas writes on BreakPoint:

When it comes to illegal immigration, there’s one thing all Americans should agree on.

Three years ago, a woman I’ll call “Mary” was stopped by a policeman for what initially appeared to be a run-of-the-mill moving violation. What followed was anything but routine, though.

“Mary” descended into a kind of hell that is all-too-familiar for the most vulnerable among us.

Mary’s descent started when the policeman discovered that she was in the country illegally. This, along with a ten-year-old warrant for bouncing a $230 check, caused her to be remanded into the custody of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, or ICE.

Now, stick with me here. We Christians can disagree about our immigration laws and how they should be applied, but we should be outraged at what happened next to Mary.

ICE sent Mary, a Canadian citizen and the mother of four underage American citizens, to a facility in Willacy, Florida. There she was raped by a male guard. When Mary complained to a female guard, the guard replied “nobody’s going to believe you” and said that complaining would only make matters worse.

“Mary’s” story was not an isolated incident: in the episode of PBS’ Frontline that told her story, a former guard at Willacy called sexual abuse of inmates and cover-ups of the assaults there “pervasive.”

And that’s not just at Willacy. The Department of Justice estimates that “over 216,000 people are sexually abused in its prisons, jails, and juvenile detention facilities every year.”

Read the rest here.

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