Gambling on Good Friday

Heard Tim Costello (head of World Vision) on the radio this afternoon attacking the decision to allow TAB’s to open on Good Friday in New South Wales and Victoria. His argument was that it is important for our society to have some ‘sacred space’, and that this move is blatant greed on the part of the gaming corporations.

Clearly Costello is 100% correct about the greed of the gaming corporations. Apparently they have suggested they are just supporting multiculturalism and respecting those who aren’t Christian – rubbish. From that point of view I feel a lot of support for his call for TAB’s to be closed on Good Friday – the last thing we need is more gambling in our society, with all its terrible side effects. And there is something symbolic about allowing TABs to open on a day they were previously shut.

But I’m not comfortable with the ‘sacred space’ argument. Good Friday is after all just a tradition that has developed over the years and to elevate it to the level of a ‘sacred space’ suggests that it is a religious observance required by God, rather than a traditional opportunity to remember the sacrifice of Jesus.

A better argument, to go along with the social arguments, might be that Good Friday celebrates the ultimate act of selflessness – Jesus giving his life for our sins – and it’s a great shame to introduce a socially damaging, fundamentally selfish, greedy activity on a day set aside to remember this amazing event.

Anyone got any other approaches to this issue, is it worth Christians addressing or is it just a distraction?

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