Officials with the Christian Coalition of Alabama drove from Birmingham and Montgomery to stage the protest against electronic charity bingo, which is slated to be part of the multi-million dollar Country Crossing project.
The Christian Coalition of Alabama made phone calls to residents in the Wiregrass area asking them to attend the protest Thursday.
In all, about 40 people showed up to listen to the chairman of the organization. The leaders of the protest were not from Houston County. In fact, they made the trip from Montgomery and Birmingham.
Houston County residents have been receiving phone calls and seeing advertisements to support Country Crossings and electronic bingo, or not to support?
Thursday, several citizens attended a protest outside the Houston County Courthouse opposing electronic bingo.
The Christian Coalition of Alabama organized the rally, and one local organization wants it to be known they were not involved.
Jerry Grandstaff, director of Missions, CBA, said, "It’s not only what we oppose that is important to me, it’s how we oppose it. I want Columbia Baptist to be sure that our name is respected, and when we do take opposition stance to moral issues, I want people to know we do it the right way and friendly way."
Dr. Randy Brinson, chairman of the Christian Coalition of Alabama spoke about the dangers he feels may come from having electronic bingo in Houston County.
"Chairman Mark Culver publicly stated that the regulations were necessary to provide for ‘more stringent regulation to prevent the expansion of gambling’; unfortunately, the regulations do just the opposite. They allow for a Class C operator to own and conduct bingo through the same type of high speed machines and gambling that goes through Victory Land and Green Track," Dr. Brinson said.
Dr. Brinson also spoke about proposed House Bill 577 and how it would put an end to the spread of gambling in Alabama.
Houston County Commission Chairman Mark Culver said, "The issue I have with them pushing the bill is that they're saying charitable bingo isn’t good in our part of the state, but it authorizes it in two other parts of the state. So to me, that’s a mixed message."
The bill would allow Mobile County and Birmingham to keep bingo legal on approved sites.
Montgomery Mayor Bobby Bright was also in attendance Thursday afternoon, supporting the Christian Coalition’s position.