Interfaith coalition comes together to express concerns about gambling in Toronto.
More than 250 religious leaders from across the GTA released a statement today, expressing their shared opposition to the prospect of expanded gambling in Ontario, and in particular to a new casino in Toronto. The leaders, representing Muslim, Jewish, Hindu, Jain, and Christian coalitions, as well as numerous congregations across Toronto, also took their message directly to City Hall, holding a lunchtime press conference on the main floor of the building.
Today’s statement was part of a final push by anti-casino activists; city council is expected to vote on whether to allow a casino in Toronto at their meeting next month.
The full text of the religious leaders’ statement:
We, the undersigned faith leaders and representatives in the Greater Toronto Area, stand united in opposing the expansion of casinos proposed by the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation and support the anti-casino campaign led by www.NoCasinoToronto.com.
We represent diverse faith communities with unique perspectives, principles, sacred texts, traditions, and teachings that form the basis of our opposition to expanded gambling. We are unified in our position that gambling is contrary to the ethical norms of our traditions because it negatively impacts our faith communities and the wider public.
We are convinced that casinos contribute to family breakdown, depression, addiction, bankruptcies, and crime, and thus are antithetical to our mission as faith traditions to strengthen individuals, families, and communities.
Our faith traditions teach us that our governments should maintain order, preserve justice, and promote the common good. We believe that our governments must take a stand to promote the values of education, hard work, social justice, and the dignity of labour, and reject the illusion of easy money, for both individuals and public coffers.
Our governments should protect the most vulnerable in our society from casinos that exploit human weaknesses and addictions. We therefore call upon our governments to reject gambling expansion and reject this predatory industry as a solution to economic and fiscal problems.
We strongly urge our Municipal City Councils to vote against any new casinos in the Greater Toronto Area. We further urge our brothers and sisters in our faith communities to become informed about this issue and voice their opposition to expanded gambling to our elected officials.