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Stick to winning souls, Church!

Published:Monday | February 6, 2012 | 12:00 AM

THE EDITOR, Sir:

The Jamaica Council of Churches and other religious groups are exercising their right in opposing horse racing on Sundays.

The churches are fully entitled to demand action and inaction from the Government. However, the Government has a responsibility to maintain the separation of Church and State. Jamaica is a secular state.

That being the case, the Government should allow various groups to conduct their affairs as they see fit, provided their activities are in compliance with the laws of Jamaica.

Over the years, operators of small bars and clubs have been forced by law to close their businesses on Sundays.

At the same time, the large supermarkets are allowed to open their doors on Sundays and sell every type of liquor from Sunday morning until Sunday night. This is a form of discrimination.

If the operators of the Caymanas Track Ltd desire to have horse racing on Sunday, they should be permitted to do so.

The Council of Churches should follow the lead of the Seventh-day Adventists who have got the approach right. The position of the Seventh-day Adventists is that their core function is to win over believers to Christ. They are, therefore, not relying on Government to force people away from sinful activities and into their church.

The Church should stick to its core function of winning souls. I believe that the religious leaders who oppose gambling should take it as a challenge to convince the members of the public to come to their church on Sundays instead of going to the Caymanas Park.

The Church and the State should be kept apart, as their functions are different, and any merger will not only be inconsistent with our constitutional arrangements but will constitute a grave danger to those of us who are not members of the denomination with which the State has merged.

LINTON P. GORDON

Ocho Rios, St Ann

lpgordon@cwjamaica.com