According to the Christian Post on Feb. 25, a Baltimore pastor is helping city leaders find qualified candidates within his congregation to fill 1,700 jobs available at a new casino.
Pastor Alvin C. Hathaway of Union Baptist Church in the Upton neighborhood says the average income in his congregation is only $13,000 a year. Therefore, he is helping his members find employment. In fact, it is one of his top priorities.
Hathaway believes his members can work at the casino and not be influenced by it. He says:
“You can be in something but not be of it. People of faith could work in that industry and not be tainted or polluted. There is a moral issue associated with gambling but there is also a social need within Baltimore.”
The Horseshoe Casino, a Caesars Entertainment subsidiary, is set to open sometimes this summer. Hathaway is joining with a wide range of community groups, neighborhood associations and civic organizations to host job fairs in partnership with the casino.
In a statement, Chad Barnhill, senior vice president and general manager of the Horseshoe Casino says:
“We’ll be recruiting for a wide variety of jobs including security, transportation, food and beverage, cashiers and office staff and we want to hire Charm City’s finest.
Last Sunday nearly 130 congregants attended the job fair in which they met with the casino’s assistant general manager and vice president of human resources.
Hathaway wants people to apply for jobs at the casino because the casino industry pays higher than other minimum wage jobs and working at Horseshoe could be the answer for many of the city’s families.
Not all of Baltimore church leaders agree with Hathaway advising his church members to work in the casino.
Bishop Bart Pierce of Rock City Church, a mega-congregation in Baltimore told the Christian Post, “I don’t think it’s the role of the church to promote jobs in a particular industry, especially in an industry that has many negative issues; I don’t support that. It’s sad that the church puts itself in that position.”
Pierce does acknowledge that the city’s unemployment rate is high, but he says that does not justify a church leader’s reasons for encouraging their members to work at a casino.
Even though the Union Baptist pastor does agree that being in the gambling industry can lead to negative consequences, he says that most people within his church see his partnership with city leaders to promote casino jobs as an opportunity to increase their chances of employment.
Right now the $442-million entertainment complex is under construction in the city’s south side near Camden Yards and M&T Bank Stadium, home of the Baltimore Orioles and Baltimore Ravens. When the casino is finished, it will house 2,500 video lottery terminals, 100 table games and a 25-table World Series of Poker-branded poker room amid 122,000 square feet of gaming space.
Do you think the pastor is wrong for advising his congregation to apply for jobs in the gambling industry?