Apparently, for a group of blog-happy Christians, what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas.This week a group of “culturally concerned Christians” are gathering in Las Vegas, America’s premier sin city to embrace the New Media during a two-day conference for GodBloggers (their term).
GodBlogCon 2007 is a subset of a larger larger conference of bloggers, called BlogWorld 2007 but has its own schedule and speakers, designed to engage cyberspace Christians who want to “make an impact on culture for the cause of Christ.”
The conference is geared toward church pastors and youth group leaders and GodBloggers ranging from beginning to advanced who want to improve their ability to impact the GodBlogging community. Scheduled speakers include Al Mohler, the president of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary and a nationally syndicated talk-radio host who will speak on Pioneering the New Media for Christ.
Mark D. Roberts, the pastor of Irvine Presbyterian Church in California, will deliver a session on Taking Your Ministry to the New Media: The Pastor As Godblogger. And Bonnie Lindblom, the moderator of a blog for Christian women, is scheduled to deliver a session entitiled Biblical Womanhood: Ministering to Women Through New Media.
The conference has been promoted and is being sponsored by several high-profile Christian organizations, including Focus on the Family and the Family Research Council. But here’s the rub: To say that these two groups are unwaveringly opposed to gambling is an understatement of vast dimensions.
“Focus on the Family opposes all forms of legalized gambling for both moral and pragmatic reasons,” is the opening line of one position paper, The Dangers of Gambling. “We believe the net societal effect of our government’s embrace of gambling has been disastrous.
“Gambling is driven by and subsists on greed. For this reason, the activity is morally bankrupt from its very foundation.”
The Colorado Springs-based ministry and media empire has even conducted a study on the negative social and economic impacts of gambling in Nevada.
Yet at this very moment, a convention of Godbloggers is in Las Vegas, a city made famous by gambling. Many of the conventioneers are undoubtedly staying in hotels that were recommended by BlogWorld organizers – all of which feature casinos or gaming opportunities within easy reach.
Here’s how the top-ranked recommended hotel for the conference – Bally’s Las Vegas Hotel and Casino – advertises its adult playground: “The roll of the dice. The shuffle of the cards. The spin of the roulette wheel. These are the ingredients of endless excitement at Bally’s Las Vegas. Our newly remodeled, 67,000-square-foot casino delivers a bright and lively gaming area loaded with all the traditional games you love.”
Neither Dustin Steeve, the GodBlogCon coordinator nor Jennifer Hardy, the coordinator of attendee outreach for the conference, responded to interview requests seeking details – including how many GodBloggers are in Vegas and whether they’ve been advised to resist the temptation of one-armed bandits, Blackjack or any of the myriad of other vices.
Cara DeGette is a senior fellow at Colorado Confidential and a columnist and contributing editor at the Colorado Springs Independent. E-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org