Clergy battle casino plan in Wisconsin county

Posted: Friday, August 11, 2000

LA CROSSE, Wis. (AP) -- Clergy from a dozen churches have united against an Indian tribe's plan to open a casino.

The Ho-Chunk Nation has asked the La Crosse County board to hold a referendum in November on whether to allow the casino. Local officials have said the Ho-Chunk have discussed paying the county and city $2 million each annually in lieu of property taxes.

The clergy said they oppose casino gambling for moral and economic reasons. They plan to form an alliance with businesses, attend county meetings and advertise their opposition.

The Ho-Chunk issued a statement addressing the moral objections.

''Even within a single faith, not all members agree on what is a sin,'' it said. ''That is the purpose of a referendum, to give all people a voice.''

La Crosse County voters turned down a plan for a casino in an advisory referendum in 1995.

''There's still a sense the people of the La Crosse area are opposed,'' said the Rev. Ted Dewald of Trinity Lutheran Church. ''Why is this coming up again?'

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