The “Church Team”

I’ve been sitting on this ponder for a while; can’t explain why it popped into my head tonight, I haven’t given it a moments thought for weeks. Still unsure how I actually feel about it I started writing – certain my opinion will form as I proceed.

Between 2005 and 2011, Colin Jones and Ben Crawford ran an organization of fundamentalist Christian “card counters”. Based in Seattle, their “ring” of 30 or so pastors, youth pastors and church planters crossed the country cheating at black jack. In their minds it was “God at work” – nothing more than a group who cared about Jesus taking money away from evil casinos.

Often in disguise, their band of “holy rollers”  reportedly took casinos for 3 – 5 million dollars. The Church Team saw it as God at work – this is where the bile starts to fill my mouth. They didn’t use the money to help the under privileged or build schools in Africa; these good Christian pastors supported themselves. Convinced their only “mission” was to “take” from casinos in the name of God.

It wasn’t a requirement for members to be Christians, they did however prefer Christians for their “honesty”.Recruits were given instruction in card counting and tested repeatedly. All earnings were to be kept in locked metal boxes, and “payouts” took place at team dinners every time they took in $100,000 dollars.

The Church Team disbanded in 2011 after a losing streak of almost $500,000, scrutiny from the IRS and casino security wise to their ways.

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/03/10/sports/a-card-counting-mix-of-bibles-blackjack-and-cash.html?pagewanted=all

The scary thing about card counting Christians is the lack of anything remotely Christian. Pondering the Church Team lands me at the doorstep of all that’s wrong with fundamentalists. The way action in the name of God is warped into ” God’s work”. I have news for you “Christians” – you’re headed straight to hell.

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2 thoughts on “The “Church Team”

  1. Notes, basically i like the premise of this ponder. i do take slight offense however at your description of card counting as cheating. Card counting is a skill that gives the player a better edge in the game. Most casinos disallow card counting although if memory serves me right it has been declared legal in Atlantic City. Casinos have numerous ways to entice money from their patrons and they can and do ban counters when they catch them. I do share your disgust with anyone performing such activities and suggesting it is “Gods work”.

    • Truth be told – I shouldn’t have used the term “cheating”, you’re right – it is a skill. I used the term because that is how the church team approached it; cheating evil casinos in the name of God.

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