Pokies charity accuses Anglicans of hypocrisy

The biggest pokie charity in the country has accused the Anglican Church of hypocrisy and leadership failure and is rejecting a funding application by the Christchurch Cathedral because one Anglican organisation has spoken out against gaming machines.

Pub Charity chief executive Martin Cheer said a submission by an Anglican body seeking Pokie reform was a factor in the rejection.

In a later statement Pub Charity said  it “suspended funding to Anglican Church based organisations following statements made by the Anglican Bishop of Auckland, reported in April 2012, that ‘the Church refused to take any funding from pokie machines – a decision which had shut down access to a large pool of funding’.”

The Auckland Anglican Diocese can no longer have access to Pub Charity funding because it is a requirement that every application being considered by Pub Charity contain a certified resolution of the applicant’s governing body that it supports the application.

However, The Anglican Bishop of Auckland, Ross Bay, says he was only speaking for Auckland and not for the church nationally.

Cheer rejects the church’s position allowing independence to member groups to apply for pokie funding. He has written to the Anglican leadership group demanding it take a position nationally on the issue.

He said the refusal to do so – while still making applications – highlighted the church’s hypocrisy and leadership failures. “You can’t have it both ways. You can’t actively campaign to get rid of something then apply for money from it.” He later modified his remarks.

Organisations not familiar with the way the institutional churches are structured find it difficult to understand that each diocese is an autonomous body and that they operate independently.

The Anglican Church is led by the General Synod which allows freedom to linked organisations to make their own decisions on many ethical areas – including applying for gaming funding.


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