God works His perfect will according to His timing for His purposes, you can bet on it!

The Ole Seagull has the pleasure of attending a men’s prayer meeting every Tuesday morning. Among other things, the group has been praying that “Gods perfect will be done” as regards the Rockaway Beach casino and the sanctity of marriage issues that were on the August 3 ballot. “Wait a minute Seagull, with your views on the casino in Rockaway Beach, they still let you in?” “Sure, all who want to pray, even an Ole Seagull, are welcome.”

With this group of men, it’s not the one being right over another, where they go to church or don’t, how they might individually feel about an issue, political or social standing within the community, or the political/economic aspects of an issue that matters. What matters is that they care enough about their God, each other, and their community to humbly gather together each week and ask His blessing on each other, their families, their community, and the issues that they face together.

In any event, on the night of August 3, although perhaps not in the manner that some had hoped, prayers were answered. “Come on Seagull, prayers “schmayers,” wasn’t it Peter Herschend who defeated it!” “Not really. He provided the clout, funding, and brilliant leadership without which an effective campaign against Amendment 1 could not have been waged.” But, an Ole Seagull would suggest that, in the final analysis, without two things happening, one of which was not only beyond the control of the opponents to Amendment 1 but controlled entirely by its proponents, the results, in all likelihood, would have been radically different.

The first was the choice of the ballot language that the proponents of Amendment 1 chose. In October of 2003 and again June of 2004, the Ole Seagull wrote, “Unfortunately for Rockaway Beach’s casino gambling hopes, the petition itself provides the very ammunition that those opposing a casino in Rockaway Beach could use to attempt to shoot their casino down. Is it much?No, but it could be enough to make a ‘decent bet’ into a bet that is ‘at best, even money.'” In the June 2004 column he added, “the ‘at best’ scenario might be overly optimistic.”

The Ole Seagull will never forget his amazement the first time he “read” the Initiative Petition for Amendment 1 in October of 2003. As he read the provision providing for “gambling facilities,” plural instead of singular as in “One,” multiple issues in the Petition, and its verbiage relating to “priority school” funding he thought, “Wow, does this give the opposition ammunition that they shouldn’t have.” Although the opposition never zeroed in on the fact that the very Amendment itself authorized more than one gambling facility, the multiple issues on the Initiative was raised in the judicial challenge, and the priority schools issue, which finally surfaced in the final weeks of the campaign, was, in the Ole Seagulls opinion, a major factor in the defeat of Amendment 1.

How major? In an article in the August 4 edition of the Springfield News Leader it was reported that both Robert Low, a partner in the proposed Rockaway Beach Casino, and casino opponent, Peter Herschend, said, that “the education component of the initiative may have been the weak point.” In what could be the understatement of the year, Low is reported to have said, “I think the school issue hurt us.”

The second element was when Amendment 2, defining “marriage,” was placed on the same ballot as Amendment 1. In an Ole Seagulls opinion, when the extraneous verbiage of the Amendment 1 was combined with Amendment 2 being on the same ballot all the elements of a “perfect defeat” were in place.

How differently might this election had turned out if the Petition had simply read, “Shall the Missouri Constitution be amended to authorize a floating gambling facility on or adjacent to the White River in Rockaway Beach Missouri” or if Amendment 2 had not been on the same ballot. Why did the proponents include the extra language? How did Amendment 2 end up on the same ballot? Is it totally inappropriate to suggest that God works His perfect will according to his timing for His purposes?

“Hold on there Seagull, I thought that you supported a single casino in Rockaway Beach?” “Sure did and do, but, if it is to come, it will come in God’s way and time or, not at all.” “Do you think that a casino in Rockaway Beach is dead?” Not if Robert Low really meant what he said, that the fight’s not over and that “If you are right, you fight.” “But is it a fight that is right and one that can be won?” For a lot of reasons an Ole Seagull believes that it is a fight that is right and can be won.” After all, isn’t it a good bet that God works His perfect will according to His timing for His purposes.

Gary Groman, a.k.a. “The Ole Seagull,” is an independent columnist and the editor of the Branson Courier. He may be reached by clicking here or by calling 417-339-4000.

About Gary Groman aka The Ole Seagull

Editor of The Branson Courier
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