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UK Priest Tells ‘Poor’: Thou Shalt Steal

From the UK’s Daily Mail:

Priest outrages police by telling congregation: ‘My advice to poor is to shoplift’

By Graham Smith

December 21, 2009

A clergyman has been criticised as ‘highly irresponsible’ after advising his congregation to shoplift following his Nativity sermon.

Father Tim Jones, 41, broke off from his traditional annual sermon yesterday to tell his flock that stealing from large chains is sometimes the best option for vulnerable people.

It is far better for people desperate during the recession to shoplift than turn to ‘prostitution, mugging or burglary’, he said.

The married father-of-two insisted his unusual advice did not break the Bible commandment ‘Thou shalt not steal’ – because God’s love for the poor outweighs his love for the rich.

But the minister’s controversial sermon at St Lawrence Church in York has been slammed by police, the British Retail Consortium and a local MP, who all say that no matter what the circumstances, shoplifting is an offence.

Delivering his festive lesson, Father Jones told the congregation: ‘My advice, as a Christian priest, is to shoplift.  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.

‘I would ask them not to take any more than they need, for any longer than they need.

‘I offer the advice with a heavy heart and wish society would recognise that bureaucratic ineptitude and systematic delay has created an invitation and incentive to crime for people struggling to cope.’

He added that he felt society had failed the needy, and said it was far better they shoplift than turn to more degrading or violent options such as prostitution, mugging or burglary.

Father Jones cited the example of an ex-prisoner who had been forced to live on less than £100, including a crisis loan, over six weeks after his release from jail.

He continued: ‘My advice does not contradict the Bible’s eighth commandment because God’s love for the poor and despised outweighs the property rights of the rich.

‘Let my words not be misrepresented as a simplistic call for people to shoplift. The observation that shoplifting is the best option that some people are left with is a grim indictment of who we are.

‘Rather, this is a call for our society no longer to treat its most vulnerable people with indifference and contempt. Providing inadequate or clumsy social support is monumental, catastrophic folly.’

But a spokesman for North Yorkshire Police said: ‘First and foremost, shoplifting is a criminal offence and to justify this course of action under any circumstances is highly irresponsible.

‘Turning or returning to crime will only make matters worse, that is a guarantee. We recognise some people find themselves in difficult circumstances but support is readily available and must be sought.’

Local Tory MP Anne McIntosh, who has campaigned in Parliament for stronger sentences for shoplifters, admitted that there had been an ‘over-commercialisation’ of the festive period which encourages people to spend.

But she said: ‘I cannot condone inciting anyone to commit a criminal offence, shoplifting is a crime against the whole local community and society.’

Richard Dodd, spokesman for the British Retail Consortium, said he was surprised that a priest was encouraging his congregation to steal.

‘He’s failing to appreciate that it’s the job of our welfare system to deal with vulnerable people,’ he said. ‘That’s how to deal with the vulnerable, not calling for them to steal from shops.’

Mr Dodd added: ‘Stealing is wrong and it isn’t less wrong to steal from a big retailer than it is to steal from a small retailer.

‘I thought this was a central part of every religion.’

This isn’t the first time Father Jones has courted controversy.

He hit the headlines in May 2008 when he protested against a shop stocking Playboy stationery aimed at youngsters. He tossed the items onto the floor complaining they were ‘cynical and  wicked’. The shop bowed to his one-man protest and agreed to stop stocking Playboy-branded merchandise.

Well, be fair.

Is this not the message of our political leaders across the globe?

Is this not the true message of Hope And Change?

This article was posted by Steve on Monday, December 21st, 2009. Comments are currently closed.

18 Responses to “UK Priest Tells ‘Poor’: Thou Shalt Steal”

  1. proreason says:

    So, if one of the ten commandments is obsolete, why not all of them?

    Oh, wait a minute….

  2. Tater Salad says:

    This priest must be a member or supporter of the Obama administration and Price Harry’s court because of what he says. Maybe this priest can get a Czar job with Obama. Seems to be about same kind of advice being spread around.

  3. Icarus says:

    So this moron is saying that God’s standards are subjective to ones individual circumstance…moral relativism! What an Idiot. Woe to those that call darkness light!!!!!!

  4. VMAN says:

    Let me see I seem to to remember someone say something to the effect “Woe to them that cause one of these to break the LEAST of these commandments it would be better for him to have a mill stone around his neck and be cast into the sea”. Now who was it that said that? HMMMMMM

  5. Confucius says:

    So I have to ask:

    –Is “Father” Jones from New Orleans?
    –Can we steal from the church’s offering plate? How about the plate itself?
    –Is heaven a welfare state?

  6. Right of the People says:

    See what years of growing up under socialist control can do for you? This just shows what the future has in store for us here in the US if we don’t rid ourselves of the virus in the White House.

  7. “Father” Jones is obviously very confused. My guess is he is a member of, or votes for, the Labor party.

    And isn’t clergy encouraging their flock to steal a great testimony for the triumph of the Euro model cradle-to-grave nanny state?? The same model the uber-Leftists want to import over to America.

  8. jobeth says:

    I try not to throw Bible verses around, especially here, but this is story cries out for the following….*Too bad that priest hasn’t seemed to find it…of course he probably uses the “cafeteria” version of the Bible

    Matthew 7:21-23

    21 Not everyone who says to Me, “Lord, Lord,” shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven.
    22 Many will say to Me in that day, “Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?”
    23 And then I will declare to them, “I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness.” ,

  9. Petronius says:

    Father Tim and all redistributionists must go to the wall.

    And we shall help them to go.

    Let that be the first commandment of our conservative theology.

  10. philipspace says:

    Reminds me of the old “if my family was starving, would it be wrong to steal a loaf of bread?” canard.

    I can tell you, speaking as a guy who sells bread for a living that if you really need the bread I can gladly give you some. On the other hand, were you to try stealing the same loaf of bread you’d have a 6’3″, 230 lb. extremely angry bread-guy chasing you down.

    Morality doesn’t take place in a vacuum, and situational ethics are just another means of self-justification.

  11. studmuffin says:

    God gave Israel the ten commandments in a world where the majority of people in every country lived in abject poverty, and starvation was a real possibility at any time. If He commanded them not to steal in such circumstances, it’s hard to understand why stealing would be acceptable in Western countries in 2009, where poverty has a completely different meaning.

    Consider that in the United States, the government doesn’t even keep statistics on starvation deaths (like they do for heart disease, etc.), because it just never happens. The one time per decade that it does happen, it’s usually the result of someone getting lost in the woods on a campout or something. Now obviously Britain isn’t the United States, but they’re still a prosperous country. So setting aside for the moment the fact that morality never changes, if it were to change, one would think that stealing would be a worse offense today than in Biblical times.

    • jobeth says:

      Plus the fact that the UK is a cradle to grave nanny state there is just NO reason for anyone in the UK to claim starvation as a cover for theft.

  12. mr_bill says:

    If he is going to advocate stealing, it shouldn’t be from national chain businesses, it should be from mohammadans, athiests, and politicians. Afterall Mohammad was a rogue and highway robber, athiests believe do not believe in God so they shouldn’t be offended by the breaking of God’s laws, and stealing from a politician allows you to get your own money back.

  13. 12 Gauge Rage says:

    So if it’s okay as long as you steal from the wealthy, will this herald the return in England of a modern day Robin Hood? Where do these guys come up with such brain dead asinine ideas?

  14. MinnesotaRush says:

    It is written in red .. “There are those who say they know Me, but don’t!”

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