You bet your afterlife
Published 6:44 am Wednesday, April 6, 2005
By By Lee Weyhrich
If you were watching the announcement of the Pope's death last week you may have noticed the crowd at St Peter's Square clapping.
They were clapping because John Paul's suffering had ended and he was going to be with God.
In other parts of the world people were clapping for a totally different reason.
Bookies in Las Vegas began clapping because someone, somewhere, won a bet over the date of the pontiff's death. Betting on the pope's death is like cheating at solitaire; win or lose you're still a loser.
The name of the winner of the bet has not yet been released nor has the amount of money he or she won in exchange of a piece of his or her soul.
Irish bookies are covering bets on who will be the next pope.
Paddy Power PLC, an Irish bookmaking chain, has been taking bets on the Pope's successor since John Paul first came down with illness.
They stopped taking bets after the Pope's death in respect for John Paul, but resumed taking them Monday after a rush of people wanted to bet.
Top contenders are Cardinal Dionigi Tettamanzi of Milan and Francis Arinze of Nigeria, both at 11-4 odds; $1,300 has been placed on Tettamanzi.
Cardinal Oscar Andres Rodriguez Maradiaga of Honduras was third with 9-2 odds, and Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger of Germany and Cardinal Claudio Hummes of Brazil followed, both with 7-1 odds.
Betting on a Pope's successor is one thing. Betting on a Pope's death is something else altogether.
There's a warm spot in Hades for people who want to make money on another man's death.
The Bible says that any man who wishes evil on his brother wishes evil to God. Isn't that essentially what it is to bet on a man's life?
Whether you agree with him or not Pope John Paul II was a holy man who did more good for this planet than thousands of self-righteous politicians. His loss is a tragedy and trying to make money off of his death is a sin.
Someone once said money is the root of all sin.
Greed is the sin, money is a side effect.
Think of sins as money. Each sin you commit is another Satan Bonus Buck. They add up like Chuck E. Cheese coupons at a Skeeball machine.
Enough Satan Bonus Bucks and you earn a free vacation, all expenses paid.
Judas bought his trip for 20 pieces of silver.
Is it any different to buy yours for 7-1 odds?
Lee Weyhrich is the managing editor of the Atmore Advance. His column appears weekly.