I am in agreement with Aaron Johnson that Jesus Christ never opposed Gambling, I would also agree with Mr. Johnson that the Bible supports a similar view. Sanctioned beings are free to do a lot of things. I am also free to use a hammer, an automobile and a ladder, the Bible and the Constitution of the Bahamas gives me the freedom. However, if I use a hammer to bash someone’s head in, an automobile to run over a person and a ladder to get into somebody’s building to rob, rape and steal then there is a problem. There are stories in the Bible about casting lots, even the Disciple who replaced Judas was chosen by casting lots. Most of the acts humans get involved in are normal, but the context in which those actions are performed can have consequences that give our “acts of freedom”, a particular colour and consequence.
Perhaps the first Prime Minister had the same view when he and his government allowed the expansion of gambling in 1973; even after promising in the election campaigning of 1972 that the present gambling licenses would be allowed to expire or run out. He and his government were free to make that choice, even though the former UBP administration had allowed an “exemption”. The present leader of the PLP and Prime Minister of the Bahamas may have chosen to exercise the same option, but he is doing it in a time when there is enough empirical data to inform us that it is far better for the citizens of a nation to work for what they want and not depend on chance. There is an argument going around about the amount of jobs produced by gambling; we need to take a look at a few of the studies coming out of New Jersey and Las Vegas that inform us about what those environments produce. The most alarming statistic being that for each dollar produced by legal gambling, it takes five dollars to deal with the social costs incurred because of prostitution, drug use, robbery and suicide, etc;
In this year we will pass the 40 year threshold and there are a lot of celebrations planned. It is possible that we will bypass or not consider an underlying fact that is a part of our history. This nation was established within a particular paradigm that is not peculiar to any other nation; we placed a very lofty requirement for our citizens in our preamble to the Constitution and we went on record as to what we would abide by. In reality, we made a contract with a God who we saw as being responsible for our “deliverance”. The God that we do not talk much about has more than fulfilled his obligation to us and our children, He has kept us and prospered us these past forty years. Do we ever reflect on where we are off the Eastern Seaboard of North America? The fact that we have no real high points or mountains and that the nations below us and above us just seem to suffer a bit more when a hurricane passes? We may not reflect on this but I know that a watching world does. So much so that my friends in America do not call me when a hurricane passes, because there is really nothing to call about. However, this “Non-Constitutional Referendum, even those it has no legal teeth, informs the God we have been claiming to serve in the old and modern Bahamas of our present opinion of Him.
A parting word to Aaron Johnson. God has given man sovereign rule over His creation. The Creator has given the creature, the ability to make choices that may or may not be in His interest, but that not change the fact the He is still God, free to do as He pleases, free to allow as He allows. A God who allows bad choices may be a reality that even Christians struggle with.
January 18, 2013