|Hall: Anti-gambling effort should focus on churchgoers|
Guardian Staff Reporter
Published: Sep 11, 2012
Instead of campaigning against the government’s upcoming referendum on gambling, church leaders should first seek to change the minds of its own members who gamble, said Bishop Simeon Hall yesterday.
“All the web shop owners and nearly all the 130,000 persons with illegal numbers accounts attend a church somewhere in the country,” said Hall in a statement.
Hall said that his inquiries have uncovered that about 130,000 people play numbers in The Bahamas.
“There are 4,000 churches throughout The Bahamas. So whether church leaders know it or not there are at least 30 gamblers in every church.
“Regardless of our empty pronouncement and pontification, the people who gamble are right in our churches - so the campaign must begin in our churches.”
A group of church leaders in The Bahamas launched an anti-gambling campaign last week, intended to persuade Bahamians to vote ‘no’ on the upcoming gambling referendum.
“The Christian Council felt it was necessary to pull leaders together for the purpose of beginning our campaign to deal with the referendum that’s forthcoming,” Christian Council President Rev. Dr. Ranford Patterson said.
“This is our starting point where we are going to unify the church to come together and begin the process of putting together our strategic plan going forward.”
Hall called the referendum superfluous because “there are obviously thousands who will engage in this activity regardless of the outcome of the referendum”.
“Gamblers who do so and cause the children’s school fees, the house mortgages and family life to be adversely affected need help and there is no other institution better suited than the churches to remedy this,” he said.