An Anglican priest in York, England has advised his poor congregants to get through hard times by shoplifting, distinguishing it morally from violent robbery, prostitution and burglary. The Daily Mail reported as follows on the stunning sermon by the Reverend Tim Jones.
'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.
'I would ask them not to take any more than they need. I offer the advice with a heavy heart. 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."
Is this what passes for theology these days? Anyone who wants to can decide that they are poor enough and that someone else is rich enough to steal from. This is a moral slippery slope at the top of which stands people like Tim Jones.
He has created a polarised world in which there are given passes to break the laws against theft. The "rich" stores are the bad guys. What about the working stiffs who stock the shelves and work the cash registers? Is not a job such as that a social program of sorts? The very luxuries that Reverend Tim sneers at are feeding and clothing people. The hefty taxes paid by the British public fund a generous social welfare net. And yet Reverend Tim has decided to play god.
If such licence indeed exists, then others will want to play god as well. This will leave Britain with 61 million deities who will preside over person to person wealth redistribution. This is a theological adaptation that hardly resembles any known faith, including that ostensibly studied by Reverend Tim.
There are indeed inequities that put a burden on the poor. There is also private as well as governmental charity. There are also unions and consumer organisations that lobby for better treatment of workers. In the chaos that would inevitably result from following Reverend Tim, there would be far more hunger and actual poverty. Prosperity is ultimately founded upon an orderly society that embodies empathy and concern for others. Tim Jones advocates a self centred theology which is at its heart polytheistic. It is trendoid and counterproductive and a recipe for disaster. If he were a car, he would be recalled by his manufacturer. His divinity school should behave in a similar fashion. Sphere: Related Content