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Governor general, a lubricated conduit

Published:Thursday | June 3, 2010 | 12:00 AM

THE QUESTION has to be asked if our governor general, Sir Patrick Allen, was a lubricated conduit in relation to the signing of the casino bill. Obviously, the office of the governor general is a lubricated conduit because the bill was signed so quickly that errors in the document were not picked up. I suspect that the corrected casino bill has the imprimatur of the governor general. Did the governor general ask if it conformed to God's law? It would have been good if the governor general had said the casino bill could be signed but not in my King's House.

This facilitation of the casino bill by a former pastor is not only a slap in the face of the church and its struggle over these decades against casino gambling but questions the church's credibility. The Jamaican Church was so strongly against gambling of all forms that when Richard Albert, a Roman Catholic priest, received funds from a lottery company for a charity, Archbishop Samuel Carter, now deceased, mandated him to return the funds. However, the Jamaica Council of Churches, Jamaica Evangelical Association and the Jamaica Pentecostal Union have not condemned this development by one of its own. The Jamaican Church is opening itself to the charge of being hypocritical concerning casino gambling.

Discipline members

So many congregations are swift to discipline members for smoking, gambling and sexual immorality. In fact, the Seventh-day Adventists quickly, the day following a sermon by one of its pastor, Lorenzo King, disassociated itself from that sermon in which he called for the truth. King was said to be out of line, would be counselled and the placards calling for truth were unnecessary. And a repentant King said he was taken out of context! Did not Jesus once liken the Pharisees to whitewashed sepulchres?

But when it comes to the action or inaction of the governor general, the conservative Seventh-day Adventist Church, to which the governor general belongs, was not so forthright. I wonder if Sir Patrick was told he was out of line and was in need of counselling?

The Church councils' behaviour concerning this casino bill is indicative of their losing their way. It has been creeping up on us.I recall about seven years ago, being at a forum to discuss casino gambling which was attended by tourism heads, private-sector leaders and church leaders, that there was an expert on casino gambling from Canada who gave a balanced and well-researched paper. Among other matters, he stated the conditions under which it would make no sense to introduce casinos into Jamaica.

I remember a private leader telling the forum that her priest could not make the meeting but he sent to say he supported the introduction of casinos. And this was without knowing what this expert was going to say. In addition, a Pentecostal pastor who was present at the forum supported casino.It was an indication that the issue of 'bread' was paramount in the consideration.

Demonstrate care

People need both daily bread and the word of God in their daily lives. Therefore, cash is not the only or main way to demonstrate care. As Edward Seaga, former prime minister, is now learning, it does not take cash to say, "let my people go." People need both food and freedom. Woe to the Jamaican church leaders if we sanction the crumbs from the casino table for the Jamaican people while they lose their souls.

It seems that some church leaders have become materialistic; having an obsession with things material to the exclusion of things unseen and intangible.

The governor general as a lubricated conduit for the casino bill is just a symptom of the Church pandering to economic interests.