January 1, 2010

When Wrong Becomes Яight

Posted in Lifestyle tagged , , , , , , , , , at 11:18 pm by potofcallaloo

Even a child will tell you stealing is wrong. No but’s or maybe’s, it’s just wrong.

So understand my confusion when a priest would stand within a sanctum and endorse shoplifting.

I find it outrageous.

According to the BBC and several other news sources, the Reverend Tim Jones, parish priest of St Lawrence and St Hilda in York stood before his congregation and told them shoplifting was excusable if they were seeing hard times.

He said, “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 national businesses, knowing that the costs are ultimately passed on to the rest of us in the form of higher prices.

“When people are released from prison, or find themselves suddenly without work or family support, then to leave them for weeks and weeks with inadequate or clumsy social support is monumental, catastrophic folly.”

Catastrophic folly?

Catastrophic folly it is when people who are assigned leadership roles in society lose sight of their purpose and endorse morally wrong acts. And we wonder why our world is in such morbosity.

The world is the way it is because we make it that way.

Many of us are seeing hard times. But there are single parents who struggle to raise their children with some kind of moral upbringing despite the financial constraints.

There are families who work double and triple shifts so they can make ends meet, the right and honorable way. Some of us have it harder than others but how can the way forward be to encourage stealing?

Father Tim Jones later defended his advice on the BBC by saying that he was merely trying to encourage charity rather than give people no option but to steal.

“We create a situation which leaves some people little option but crime” he said.

No one is praising the systems that make the vulnerable more vulnerable and the poor poorer. But if every poor family suffering opted for the advice given, a religious leader might have contributed to the further degeneration of an already diseased society. Aren’t there enough problems to correct?


We’d like to hope that amid the wars, terrorism, crime and chaos that inflict us, there is some good.

My only consolation is that the North Yorkshire Police, the Archdeacon of York , the retailers group – British Retail Consortium and some others have publicly condemned the advice of Fr Jones.

The good here is obviously that that some of us have denounced wrong.

Nonetheless it’s a sad day when the people being denounced are the ones meant to guide us.

In addition to monitoring media usage, and company being kept, parents may now have to sift through what bits of sermons they allow their children to hear.

Do some morally wrong acts become right in certain circumstances? Is it ok to steal if you’re seeing hard times? Tell us what you think.



  1. Sarah Munn said,

    I think this is a very interesting topic. I find myself neutral on it. I don’t agree with stealing, but in certain situations, perhaps it can be excusable. In some instances, petty theft could be a much better alternative to potential actions. For example, is it not better to steal a loaf of bread from an industrial bakery, than to accost somebody and sell the jewelry you steal from them?

  2. Gaysh said,

    on point, well-articulated post!

    That is an age old question: would I rather see a sick family member die or would I, against my own moral code, steal medicine to help them? I might steal medicine. But I am no member of the clergy.

    I agree with you, as a pastor, supposedly a man of faith with an alleged moral compass, Pastor John’s advice is ridiculous at best, contrary to the purpose of God at worst.

    What ever happened to having faith, believing that God will provide? In today’s society, those might sound like hogwash, but those are the tenets he, as a pastor, professes to believe . He sounds like a man who has lost faith.

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