I read with interest a story in the Guardian newspaper, “Most MPs quiet on gambling position”. This story is indicative of the excellent investigative journalism that The Guardian has come to be known for, and I wholeheartedly commend them in this regard. I also commend those MPs who courageously revealed how they intend to vote, and I encourage the non-disclosing and undecided MPs to do the same in the not too distant future.
I was particularly intrigued by the comments of MPs who expressed reluctance or a refusal to decide on moral issues for others. I find these views interesting coming from MPs because they are overlooking the fact that the very nature of their job as parliamentarians is largely about making moral decisions and imbedding them into laws to govern others. For example, our laws prohibit same-sex marriage and incestuous marriage; these laws decide matters of morality for people in the area of marriage. Therefore, I wonder if, in order to be consistent, these MPs also support giving Bahamians the freedom to marry whomever they wish, any gender and combination (heterosexual or homosexual, and incestuous or polygamous).
I find it hard to see how a person can argue that people should not be prohibited from gambling based on moral considerations and at the same time support other prescriptive or prohibitive laws (like marriage laws) that are also based on moral considerations.
In addition, it is a denial of reality to say that morality cannot be legislated. The truth is that our Parliament and other lawmaking bodies around the world legislate morality every day. By this I do not mean that the laws they pass have the power to change people’s hearts; they do not. Actually, not even the 10 commandments can change people’s hearts; only Jesus Christ can do that. So, to the contrary, instead of trying to change people’s hearts, laws are designed to govern behavior. The correct question, therefore, is not whether lawmakers can legislate morality; instead it is whose morality do they legislate to determine what people can and can’t do?
Therefore, at the end of the day, after precious time and money would have been wasted on an unnecessary referendum, if the majority of voters vote yes, the final decision on gambling will still be left to our 38 members of Parliament to vote yes or no. And it is flawed reasoning to suggest that the “no” votes will be based on morality while the “yes” votes will not be; both are moral decisions, but they represent opposite sides of the right/wrong moral spectrum. And despite the pretense by some, we all know which vote is the right vote for our country.
By: Cedric Moss
Sr. pastor, Kingdom Life Church