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We’ve had plenty of differences with the Palmetto Family Council in the past, but we’ve always been big fans of the organization’s front man, Oran Smith.

In a S.C. political scene littered with f-chops and unrestrained egos (um, Sic Willie?), Smith is a refreshing departure – a dose of class and humility and a genuine advocate who consistently puts his issues ahead of himself.

So when Smith speaks up – like he did yesterday on Sen. Glenn McConnell’s gambling bill – we listen, even if we don’t always agree.

Here’s what Smith had to say on McConnell’s proposal, which the wily Senate President has repeatedly tried to portray as nothing more than a tweak in the statutes that would permit thinks like raffles and Monopoly games …

South Carolina’s experience with video poker, the “crack cocaine of gambling,” provides a clear warning: legislation touching gambling should be looked at very very carefully. Failing to do so last time gained us 30,000 video poker machines.

The text of S.535 as written provides little comfort for those of us who’d rather live with antiquated laws than open the door to policies advocated by Poker Players Alliance, an organization now active on these bills.

No one should be prosecuted for playing Monopoly(R) or raffling to help needy people. But that’s not what S.535 is really about. Monopoly(R) and raffles are as connected to poker as using Sudafed is to using crystal meth.

As we said before, we’re with McConnell on this one.

Our gambling laws do need to be upgraded, and not just in people’s homes or at the local rec center.

For example, the last time we checked, Myrtle Beach was a Las Vegas waiting to happen … except with an ocean. Hello, jobs!

But McConnell tried to fudge on this one, and Smith quite correctly called him out for it.

Now if we can just get folks to call McConnell out on all the other issues he’s playing fast and loose with …