Friday, June 08, 2012
Our pastor asked me to write something to state why our church will not be applying for National Lottery funding to help its planned building project
'The church will not be applying for Lottery money towards our building project. Some people have asked why not, for did not the fleeing Israelites ask the Egyptians for gold and jewellery and so despoil them? Indeed they did but the Israelites had been enslaved in Egypt. The Egyptians owed them something. The government owes us nothing from its Lottery, as we do not buy tickets. The only ‘despoiling’ we can do is to apply for Gift Aid on all donations and so receive back tax the government has taken from the rewards of our labours.
For us to seek and accept Lottery funding would be for us to approve of gambling in general and the Lottery in particular. We believe the Lottery is a tax on the poor giving them false hope. In 1995 when the Lottery was proposed the Guardian of 11 November said, “After the French Revolution, the state lottery was abolished. 'It is all the more dangerous', a leading opponent argued, 'since it devours the substance of the poor. It was born of despotism, and used with perfidity to drown out the cry of misery, deluding the poor with false hope. The lottery, an odious financial trick, invades the product of the poor man's toil. ‘ ” The Lottery is a redistribution of wealth away from the poor.
The Lottery may not be a very malign way of gambling, but gambling it remains. With Archbishop William Temple (1881-1944) we believe, ‘Gambling challenges the view of life which the Christian Church exists to uphold and extend. Its glorification of mere chance is a denial of the Divine order of nature. To risk money haphazard is to disregard the insistence of the Church in every age of living faith that possessions are a trust, and that men must account to God for their use. The persistent appeal to covetousness is fundamentally opposed to the unselfishness which was taught by Jesus Christ and by the New Testament as a whole. ‘
Were we to approve of the Lottery by applying for funding, we should then to be fair, encourage our members to buy Lottery tickets. This would not be good stewardship. We would rather you experience the joy of giving where all your gift goes to the good cause of the building fund and, if you are a tax payer, the government adds 25% more to your gift by way of Gift Aid.'