Wednesday, June 26, 2013

This snub is worth it

Here is a tricky Anglican controversy to reflect on.

Many Anglican ministry units seek funding from sources outside the church, including from 'pokie charities', i.e. from funds derived from people playing pokie (gambling) machines.

Recently my colleague and friend, Jolyon White, has spear-headed a campaign against the proliferation of pokie machines.

The pokie industry has reacted by rejecting funding applications from Anglican ministry units, including one from our own Christchurch Cathedral.

The NZ Herald has a report here.

For what it is worth, I am with Jolyon. I do not think churches should receive funds from the gambling industry. Fullstop. I certainly do not think we should receive such funds if we ever think we are going to speak out against gambling.

What do you think?


Anonymous said...

Sounds to me like the NZ Herald has it about right. The Church cannot expect to have any ability to influence society if it participates in the degradation of society.

carl jacobs said...

It's all in the math. Gambling is profitable for the house because the laws of probability guarantee it. The house literally can't lose. Gambling machines are no different. They are programmed to pay out a certain percentage. The more machines, the greater the house profit. It's not 'gaming' at all. It's a sure thing.

So virtually every player is guaranteed to lose - especially since machines are designed to entice the player to keep playing. Most winners feed their winnings right back into the machine. They walk away when they have lost their stake. Many people will do this for entertainment and lose a reasonable sum of money. But some small percentage of people will be absolutely crushed by it. They cannot stop and the 'gaming industry' will strip them naked of assets without so much as a genuflection towards pity.

No, the church has no business taking money from this industry. It presents a smiling face, but it is a ruthless carnivore. And it delights in the taste of human flesh.

who loves to play Craps, but doesn't

Joshua Bovis said...

I am very encouraged by the stand my Bishop is taking!

ARMIDALE’S Anglican Bishop Rick Lewers has turned down ClubsNSW counselling funding, saying it would compromise his position on gambling. After two years of talks between Anglicare and Clubs NSW Bishop Rick Lewers scrapped the deal, saying it would compromise his ability to speak out against problem gambling in society.
“It is difficult not to be accused of hypocrisy if in one moment we speak out against gambling and in the next moment take grants from gambling revenues,” he said.
Bishop Lewers told New Limited he is not “anti-clubs” but was disappointed to see the extent of gambling in the community.
“We will help anyone with a gambling problem, but the difficulty in taking money from the clubs is that it compromises the position of the church to be able to speak out about the whole issue of problem gambling,” he said,” he said.
“On any given night in a club, you will see a lonely person sitting in front of a machine, putting their pension through.
“In Armidale, the whole town stops for a horse race and, this year, they sent the kids home from school.
“What kind of a model are we setting up for our children?”