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 — December 1, 19971 décembre 1997
 

Evangelicals Label Gambling an “Insidious Evil”
Call on Governments to Quit Dependency on Gaming Revenues

(Toronto) – Gambling is “an insidious form of evil that takes advantage of the poor and disadvantaged” and Christians need to take a more active role in opposing the dependency of governments on gaming revenues, says a new position paper released by the Evangelical Fellowship of Canada (EFC).

“God is not against people playing games and having fun, but gambling is a distortion of that good,” said Dr. James Read, chair of the EFC’s Social Action Commission and executive director of the Salvation Army Ethics Centre in Winnipeg. “Individuals, families and com-munities are being seriously hurt by the gambling activities our governments are promoting. This is not fair and Christians need to show that there is a better way.”

Entitled Gambling: A Bad Bet, the paper is particularly harsh on gambling’s impact on society. It argues that gambling has an especially negative impact on families and the economy and denounces the dependency of governments, charities and community groups on gambling as a revenue source.

Read said EFC is asking Canadians to question seriously whether they want their governments to become increasingly dependent on gambling revenues while paying lip service to gambling’s habit-forming and addictive nature. He said Canadians must come to terms with the social, psychological and economic havoc compulsive gambling has on the lives of individuals and families.

The paper provides a detailed perspective of biblical and theological views on gambling identifying, among other things, that gambling is a matter of the heart in that it promotes greed and covetousness. However, the paper doesn’t absolve the church from blame for the increasing attractiveness of gambling.

Many Christians have been complacent when it comes to the justification for gambling, the paper states, and Christians have failed to see the “dark spiritual dynamic behind gambling instead of as an essentially benign, albeit somewhat irresponsible, form of personal entertainment that in its worst form could become a bad habit or vice.” It calls on Christians to become more “passionately opposed” to gambling.

The paper also bluntly calls on governments to withdraw from all forms of direct gambling, enforce current legal restrictions and heavily tax both gambling businesses and winnings.

For a copy of Gambling: A Bad Bet and other policy/discussion papers, contact the EFC department of national affairs at (905) 479-5885 or visit the EFC’s Internet site at www.evangelicalfellowship.ca/.

The Evangelical Fellowship of Canada is a national association of 28 evangelical denominations and more than 100 Christian organizations, academic institutions, mission and relief agencies.

Posted: December 1, 1997 • Permanent link: ecu.net/?p=2226 Transmis : 1 décembre 1997 • Lien permanente : ecu.net/?p=2226


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