Met. Nikodim comments on a new law on gambling legalization
The UOC bishop notes that gambling is the satisfaction of the passion of avarice, which can lead to temptation for immature souls and further impoverishment of people.
Metropolitan Nikodim (Gorenko) of Zhytomyr and Novohrad-Volynsky of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, said in a commentary to the UOJ that the legalization of gambling is a big mistake by the authorities, and the Church will never support such an initiative.
“I’ve found out with sorrow that the Verkhovna Rada approved the law on the legalization of gambling,” the bishop said. “It has long been known that gambling is a very profitable business like all types of business that parasitize on the vilest human vices: fornication, alcoholism, drug addiction, and greed for money. But high profitability does not justify their existence, because both those who organize and profit from this business and those who use it equally destroy, “lose” their immortal soul. I recall the bitter words of St. Ignatius Brianchaninov, although said on a different occasion: "Do not play your salvation, do not play! Otherwise, you will cry forever."
The hierarch reminded that the Lord commanded the man to eat his bread by the sweat of his brow, and therefore, fulfilling this commandment of God, it is necessary to labour to ensure your existence.
“In his epistle to the Ephesians, the Holy Apostle Paul calls upon the bishops for labour, ‘performing with his own hands what is good, so that he will have something to share with one who has need’ (Ephesians 4, 28), the bishop reminded. “And gambling attracts a person because it promises quick and easy profit, getting a lot of money without labouring. But it should be remembered that the devil is ‘a liar and the father of lies’ (John 8, 44).”
According to Met. Nikodim, the devil “only beckons with the possibility of easy money and then deceives and leaves the man poor. How many human fates have been broken by gambling ?! How many human souls have been ruined?! How many children have been left without a livelihood whose parents succumbed to the passion for gambling and lost all their family money? ”
The metropolitan believes that the arguments in favor of the fact that the new law is designed for the rich are fundamentally not viable.
“Firstly, the soul of a rich person is just as valuable to God as the soul of a poor person,” says the hierarch. ‘For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life’ (John 3, 16). And secondly, if the deputies had wanted to legalize gambling only for the rich, they would have established some kind of closed zone for this, one or two, as has been done in many countries. In Ukraine, this door is wide open. You can place casinos or slot machines anywhere. And when it’s all around, the temptation for immature souls increases many times.”
The bishop urged the government not to subject our people to another temptation: “To the economic problems, to the growth of unemployment, to the trouble that the coronavirus brought us, our people are offered to plunge into the crucible of gambling! Therefore, we urge the authorities not to subject our people to this temptation. And we call on all people with the words of the apostle Paul: ‘Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them.’ (Eph. 5, 11).”
As reported earlier, the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine legalized the gambling business.