Multiply Justice

California evangelizes lottery: ‘Believe in something bigger’


Angela Lu writes for World magazine:

The ad starts with a soft choral singing of “California Dreaming,” and small white balls falling out of the sky like snowflakes onto sequoia forests, the Golden Gate bridge, downtown Los Angeles, the beach. Regular folks look up in wonder, enjoying the “snowfall” until one man joyously finds a red ball in his hand. The screen cuts away to the pseudo-religious phrase “Believe in something bigger,” and the purpose of the ad: California Lottery Powerball with jackpots starting at $40 million.

The TV spot, along with billboards that include moving images of the woman’s suffrage movement, the moon landing, and the fall of the Berlin wall with just the word “Believe” in the corner, has been criticized by commentators as tricking citizens—especially the poor—into believing a lie. The odds of hitting the Powerball’s 6-number jackpot are more than 175 million to one.

Ad agency David&Goliath expands on its campaign saying the phrase “isn’t just a tagline, it’s a mindset—one that inspires people to think beyond what’s possible. To be part of a movement of optimism and larger-than-life dreams, and to serve as a filter for the Lottery and the people who play.”

And often those who fall for this optimism are those who need the money the most. A PBS report last year found that households that earn less than $13,000 a year spend 9 percent of their income on lottery tickets. Those who feel poor buy twice as many lottery tickets.

Read the rest of this excellent article by clicking here.

It says a lot about a society — none of it good — when it is willing to raise revenue by selling false hope to the desperate poor, and the middle class shrugs off the exploitation by saying, “Hey, it’s only a game, and I enjoy playing.” How selfish is a society in which “believe in something bigger” means realizing the ultimate narcissistic fantasy of sudden “something for nothing” wealth? Who can show them what a life of faith in something bigger actually looks like?

The author’s conclusion is spot-on: God redeems the poor, and that includes “the poor, ordinary things in our lives, including ourselves” that are of greater value than all the world’s wealth. Let us walk in his paths — and teach others his ways as well.

Watch the California Lottery ad by clicking here.
Learn more about a Christian response to gambling by clicking here.

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One thought on “California evangelizes lottery: ‘Believe in something bigger’

  1. Pingback: California evangelizes exploitation: ‘Believe in something bigger’ | kainos

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