Local Religious Leaders May File Litigation Against Country Crossing

By: Rhiana Huckins Email
By: Rhiana Huckins Email

The Columbia Baptist Association was the only organization that spoke out against the Country Crossings project on Thursday.

D. Min. Jerry Grandstaff, director of Missions, says he and other concerned ministers feel they must keep fighting for biblical and social reasons.

Days after State Senator Harri Anne Smith pulled the plug on her fight against electronic bingo in the state legislature, some local religious leaders met to discuss their next plan of action.

"We are discussing with business leaders that have a concern about this as well and we're also working with the ACAP in Birmingham about the possibility of litigation," Grandstaff said.

Grandstaff would not say what businesses he's referring to, and he would not tell reporters the names of what he says are at least 10 other churches in Houston County who are involved in the fight.

The group says even though the county commission did not break the original law on charity bingo, they feel like elected officials usurped the original intent of the law.

"When there was a vote in 1994, and this is the opinion of the ministers, the citizens did not understand that what they did then could bring the possibility of this here today and that’s why we're not comparing apples to apples," Grandstaff continued.

Houston County Commission Chairman Mark Culver said, "That may be the case, but in fact, the vote was taken on bingo and the federal law says this is in fact bingo, and again, we believe what we've done is legal and we believe that a majority of the community is behind it."

Meanwhile, supporters of the Country Crossing project say they are still confident with the commission's decision.

On Saturday, April 19th, the first Country Crossing support rally will be held at the Dothan Convention Center.

The Alabama Citizens’ Action Program, the group out of Birmingham and Montgomery that Grandstaff is working with, is a Christian lobbying group.

The local religious leaders plan to meet in the next couple weeks to let the community know about their next plan of action.


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  • by Carolyn Doll Location: Bonifay, Florida on Nov 17, 2008 at 10:01 AM
    I cannot believe churches would prevent job creation. Its one thing to stop robberies, murderers etc. But being so short sighted to think people cannot have a mind of their own. I go to church every sunday as my family does, but would prevent someone front playing bingo and having things for the children to do.
  • by BB Location: Daleville on Apr 18, 2008 at 05:03 PM
    Wouldnt it be a shame if Dothan actually got put on the map!! What is wrong with the people of this area, why are you so afraid of something that could benefit all of us? As stated by others, If you don't want to play that is fine, no one is forcing you. Crime??? There will always be crime, electronic bingo will not cause that, you act as though this is going to be a little Las Vegas, the bingo is a VERY SMALL portion of Country Crossings. If you keep making an issue of this Mr. Gilley will take his business elsewhere, and we will all lose.
  • by Curtis Location: Dothan on Apr 18, 2008 at 01:27 PM
    When will the business elitists and holy rollers stop all this nonsense. It is time for the community to get behind this project. Perhaps what we need to start discussing is why churces pay no taxes. Do the churches in the area want to commit collectively to contribute $2 million in charitable contributions plus create a 1000 or more jobs. When they commit to that I will start taking them seriously.
  • by Concerned Location: Dothan on Apr 18, 2008 at 11:37 AM
    I never ceased to be amazed at all the Sunday Christians and everyday hippocrites that live in Dothan, Alabama. What really ranks these people is that they do not have any control and are not getting a piece of the pie. Give Dothan and Houston County what they want, give them jobs. Let us have Country Crossing. We will give you your church raffles, bake sales, etc.
  • by Citizen of Houston County Location: Houston County on Apr 18, 2008 at 09:00 AM
    If you don't want it then don't play. Let the ones who do want it to have the freedom to play. You are worried that your members won't show up on Sunday morning because they are the ones who will be playing Bingo on Saturday night. Don't speak for the rest of us. We want Country Crossing and will support it all the way. This is the very reason why I am a Methodist. I will be at the rally to show my support and urge others to show up tomorrow at the new Dothan Convention Center located by the new Holiday Inn 1-5 PM.
  • by Bill Location: Enterprise on Apr 18, 2008 at 08:40 AM
    Its morons like this that make Alabama the laughing stock of the nation. Same idiots that opposed the lottery while taking money from the Casino interests in Mississippi.
  • by Regina Location: Dothan, Alabama on Apr 18, 2008 at 08:34 AM
    What are these people afraid of? Do they not see this as a hugh opportunity to contribute to the economic growth of SE Alabama? Hiding behind "biblical" and "social" reasons is ridiculous. If people choose not to play bingo, then don't play bingo. The benefits of a thing like Country Crossing coming to this part of the country far outweigh the negatives. Let's not ruin it for everybody else, folks.
  • by Jannell Location: Dothan Alabama on Apr 18, 2008 at 08:19 AM
    I personally believe that all of these religious groups choose to step in when it's their choice too. Where were they when the dog tracks were opened, and when The Elks lodge and Shriners began their bingo. Where were they when strip joints opened up in towns and scratch off tickets being sold all over Alabama. It seems that someone has been picking and choosing certain scenarios to fight. Well lets just shut down all of those facilities, since they attend challanging the only great opportunity Houston County has seen in a great while. I think what really has them upset is their fingers won't be the ones controlling the events, but you can believe they will have their hand out when it's time too. I personally am ashamed of the way the all of the religious groups have behaved concerning this issue. Mr Gilley Dothan is proud of the future establishment, and I think they should all sit down and have a Coke and smile. God has given them all a new day to rejoice in.
  • by JIMMY Location: slocomb on Apr 18, 2008 at 07:59 AM
    why dont we just pass a $500.00 surcharge per person on all churches to cover the cost of education shortages. then we would not need bingo the lottery or casinos. if this idea gains momentum i am sure the church pastors will decide bingo, lotteries and casinos are a great and needed thing.
  • by Linda Location: Dothan on Apr 18, 2008 at 07:01 AM
    Why do so few feel they can dictate to so many is beyond me. We keep hearing how the electronic bingo is going to increase crime in our area. Well doesn't not having a job create crime? Poverty is the biggest reason for crime. Give the area jobs and then your crime should decrease. Christian leaders should preach from behind the pulpit. Do your job right and you shouldn't have to worry about your flock straying from the fold.
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