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Clergy lead fight against casino plan in Revere

A coalition of religious leaders in Revere is organizing against a Mohegan Sun casino proposal at Suffolk Downs and will be encouraging residents to vote against the project in a citywide referendum scheduled for Feb. 25, said members of the group, which calls itself Friends of Revere.

“God has something better for this city than a casino,” Pastor Tim Bogertman of First Congregational Church of Revere said in a phone interview Monday.

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“We believe this community needs a voice,” he said. “There are no political leaders in Revere standing up against this proposal, so we’re the last line of defense.”

The clergy members, representing a variety of faiths, promise to “pray, preach, and engage” with their flocks to turn out as many voters as possible against the gambling proposal, Bogertman said.

The group is trying to replicate the success of East Boston religious leaders, who announced a similar effort last September against an earlier casino plan at Suffolk Downs, which East Boston voters defeated in November.

The group has established a website to promote their effort at friendsofrevere.com.

Casino proponents have said the project would create thousands of jobs, generate tens of millions of dollars in tax revenue for the city, and save live racing at Suffolk Downs, the last thoroughbred track in New England.

More than 60 percent of Revere voters supported the earlier Suffolk Downs casino plan in November.

Mark Arsenault can be reached at mark.arsenault@
globe.com
. Follow him on Twitter @bostonglobemark.
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