Magazine article Anglican Journal

Legalized Gambling `Unacceptable': Anglican Bishops Join Faith Groups in Outraged Rejection

Magazine article Anglican Journal

Legalized Gambling `Unacceptable': Anglican Bishops Join Faith Groups in Outraged Rejection

Article excerpt

The spectre of widespread legalized gambling facilities operated by provincial governments has outraged faith groups across Canada and several Anglican bishops have called news conferences and confronted politicians to voice their opposition.

Nova Scotia's Archbishop Arthur Peters and Bishop Fred Hiltz are two of 10 faith leaders who signed a statement that "gambling is an unacceptable and inadequate pillar on which to build a long-term strategy for provincial economic development."

Their opposition came despite a pledge by Nova Scotia and other provinces that money raised at casinos and from VLTs (video lottery terminals) would go to charities or social programs.

Toronto's Bishop Terence Finlay wrote a letter to Ontario Premier Mike Harris and another to Mayor Mel Lastman upholding a 1996 resolution of the Synod of the Diocese of Toronto objecting to Bill 75, which legalized casino gambling and video lottery terminals.

"As a Christian people," Bishop Finlay told the premier, "we strive to uphold values that support the responsible expansion and use of private and public economic resources; values that discourage activities designed solely to increase wealth at the cost of inducing unhealthy forms of behaviour, including addictions, as well as illusory dreams of personal enrichment."

Elske Kuiper, vice-chair of the community ministries board in the diocese of Toronto, helped spearhead the opposition campaign. She is unimpressed by Ontario's recent decision to eliminate VLTs, described by many as the most addictive of gambling methods, and to limit the size of casinos. …

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