This amuses me: Priest tells congregation it’s better than robbery or prostitution. What’s better? Shoplifting, apparently. It’s okay for the poor people to steal what they need.
Right, because store theft hurts no one.
Wrong. While large centres like Walmart can budget (somewhat) for shrinkage, and grocery chains toss a lot of food into dumpsters once it’s past its sell-by date, significant loss of merchandise will hurt a company eventually, causing increased prices to make up for losses, meaning everyone who wants to shop there suffers.
The Rev Tim Jones said in his Sunday sermon that stealing from successful shops was preferable to burglary, robbery or prostitution.
He told parishioners it would not break the eighth commandment ‘thou shalt not steal’ because it ‘is permissible for those who are in desperate situations to take food that they might not starve’.
But his advice was roundly condemned by police and the local Tory MP. Father Jones, 42, was discussing Mary and the birth of Jesus when he went on to the subject of how poor and vulnerable people cope in the run-up to Christmas.
‘My advice, as a Christian priest, is to shoplift,’ he told his stunned congregation at St Lawrence and St Hilda in York.
‘I do not offer such advice because I think that stealing is a good thing, or because I think it is harmless, for it is neither.
‘I would ask that they do not steal from small family businesses, but from large national businesses, knowing that the costs are ultimately passed on to the rest of us in the form of higher prices.
Which will lead to even more theft once the prices get high enough to “justify” it. What ridiculous advice this is. And yet, I can see why he’d peddle it as a better alternative than other ways to make money illegally. Best of bad choices, I suppose.
And, the New York Times has an article about theft too – of books.
Apparently, not everyone shares this idea. With the recession, shoplifting is on the rise, according to booksellers. At BookPeople in Austin, Tex., the rate of theft has increased to approximately one book per hour. I asked Steve Bercu, BookPeople’s owner, what the most frequently stolen title was.
“The Bible,” he said, without pausing.
Apparently the thieves have not yet read the “Thou shalt not steal” part — or maybe they believe that Bibles don’t need to be paid for. “Some people think the word of God should be free,” Bercu said. As it turns out, Bibles are snatched even at the Parable Christian Store in Springfield, Ore., the manager told me, despite the fact that if a person asks for a Bible, they’ll be given a copy without charge.
So, how are lines drawn? Is stealing a sin or not? May as well hang for a sheep as a lamb? Everything’s fine until you get caught, I suppose. I’d lose my job in a heartbeat if I got caught shoplifting.
I don’t care for the consumer culture we live in much either, but still – until you have the money to buy it, you can’t have it. And don’t think a credit card will make everything easier, either. That’s a fast track to substantial debt if you buy knowing you’ll never have the money in hand to pay it all off.