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Totenkopf
12-22-2009, 07:33 PM
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20091222/ap_on_re_eu/eu_britain_shoplifting_ok

Stealing excused by clergy member. Hmm.... What's next, adultery w/hookers is ok in a sterile marriage. :raise: :p So, anyone believe that stealing is ok just b/c of your circumstances or that the target is justifiable as long as it's "big" and not small?

Trench
12-22-2009, 07:40 PM
This guy is off. :carms:

jrrtoken
12-22-2009, 07:45 PM
Although the notion is fairly hypocritical to an extent, I do feel that it is "OK" for one that is in extreme poverty to steal from another (Usually the "another" relating to a corporate entity), with restrictions, however. If one is in dire poverty - and I do mean dire - the bare necessities would be the most valuable possessions; food and shelter are imperative to survival, so those goods would be highly sought after. If we put it in that context, then I do believe that shoplifting and other thievery is justified. Exemptions would be anything that isn't pertinent to one's survival, i.e. stealing an Xbox. >_>

Well, that's settled...

mimartin
12-22-2009, 08:41 PM
Thou Shall Not Steal sure I can see how that can be interrupted a number of different ways. :rolleyes:

Another example of why I drift further and further away from organized religion.

jonathan7
12-22-2009, 08:46 PM
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20091222/ap_on_re_eu/eu_britain_shoplifting_ok

Stealing excused by clergy member.

If we're gonna get Biblical, Jesus always took the spirit of the law, and I'm pretty sure he would ask this;

"What's the greater crime; a family starving to death or stealing (food to let them live)?"

I know that's somewhat dramatic, but the Priest was only talking about taking food to survive, and if it comes to that, I have to say I think stealing is what should happen - is human life really so cheap that stealing a packet of rice warrants a death sentence?

Hmm.... What's next, adultery w/hookers is ok in a sterile marriage. :raise: :p So, anyone believe that stealing is ok just b/c of your circumstances or that the target is justifiable as long as it's "big" and not small?

Considering that Asda, Tesco's (or Tot in your case, say Walmart) as companies have about as much in the way of ethics as Palpatine - they basically rape the third world for cheap produce to sell to us; and maintain the cycle of poverty in the third world; I think this a far greater crime (which is currently legal) than a family say stealing rice to live.

Regardless, I think there a massive leap between stealing rice to live, and say murder, or adultery or whatever.

This guy is off. :carms:

Seriously? You actually think it would be better for a family to starve than steal from an evil corporation who continues a cycle of human misery (don't delude yourselves, that is exactly what Tesco et al are).

Trench
12-22-2009, 08:54 PM
Its off that he said it was perfectly alright. The better solution would be to go to a food bank, or some other charity.
If you lack those, it could be considered a necessary evil. Not the right thing to do, just necessary in light of the situation. And only when you've used up ever other option.
What happens when you no longer need to shop lift to survive? What if you still have the mindset that it is alright now because it was then?
That's one of the problems with many an American teenager.

jonathan7
12-22-2009, 08:57 PM
Its off that he said it was perfectly alright. The better solution would be to go to a food bank, or some other charity.

This makes a cultural assumption ;) The UK doesn't have food banks - though at risk families should (and are) provided for by the state. That however is not a universal truth.

If you lack those, it could be considered a necessary evil. Not the right thing to do, just necessary in light of the situation.

Agreed.

What happens when you no longer need to shop lift to survive? What if you still have the mindset that it is alright now because it was then?
That's one of the problems with many an American teenager.

Well, I'm not sure if the average American teenager will have started shop lifting to survive (much like the average UK teenager won't have don so to survive). It has to be said that a Church congregation is hardly the most likely set of individuals to go and act out the advice... (You would hope).

Web Rider
12-22-2009, 09:49 PM
I would have to agree that stealing is worse depending on your situation. If you're some rich punk, it's worse than if you steal because you're poor. However, at no point is stealing ever OK, even if you are very poor. If you think your poverty will help you get things, you might as well just go into the store and say "hey mister, I'm poor and homeless, can I have a *item*." You never know, someone might give it to you.

Darth Avlectus
12-23-2009, 01:21 AM
I wouldn't preach something like this but I say if you're too unreasonably greedy, fate served you by having someone steal from you--especially if they're only surviving. As far as, preaching I'd state under no uncertain terms that stealing is wrong but if it must be done in order to survive then that is what must be. Throwing a life away so cheap is a greater tragedy.

Frivolous greedy theft on the other hand is not to be tolerated. In fact on a side note my younger sister may have to learn this the hard way, but thankfully it will probably only be community service and a ticket--possibly juvenile hall. I believe this to be a result of peer pressure and hope that this will be corrected.

Back on subject:
Before resorting to theft I'd resort to trade and barter (About as REAL as free market will ever get--more than capitalism with currency involved ever will be!). Often times a restaurant owner will have at least seconds that will just be thrown away if nobody eats it. That is if they're not at least willing to trade work for food with you. I have a hard time imagining you'd get absolutely turned away for it. I don't imagine U.K. is much different in that regard, to be honest. Hell, it's practically how Mexico operates. I have done this several times throughout my life and only once I was outright rejected.

If hard on times for you, resort to trade; if all else should fail take only that which you need in order to survive.

Totenkopf
12-23-2009, 01:38 AM
If we're gonna get Biblical, Jesus always took the spirit of the law, and I'm pretty sure he would ask this;
"What's the greater crime; a family starving to death or stealing (food to let them live)?"
I know that's somewhat dramatic, but the Priest was only talking about taking food to survive, and if it comes to that, I have to say I think stealing is what should happen - is human life really so cheap that stealing a packet of rice warrants a death sentence?
Considering that Asda, Tesco's (or Tot in your case, say Walmart) as companies have about as much in the way of ethics as Palpatine - they basically rape the third world for cheap produce to sell to us; and maintain the cycle of poverty in the third world; I think this a far greater crime (which is currently legal) than a family say stealing rice to live.
Regardless, I think there a massive leap between stealing rice to live, and say murder, or adultery or whatever.
Seriously? You actually think it would be better for a family to starve than steal from an evil corporation who continues a cycle of human misery (don't delude yourselves, that is exactly what Tesco et al are).

Well, Jon, if you're going to get biblical, remember that stealing is against God's commandments. Jesus would NOT excuse the stealing, but would chastise others for allowing such situations to go on uncorrected. Jones also stated "...shoplifting could help people who are legally entitled to government welfare benefits but have the benefits delayed for bureaucratic reasons." So he isn't indicting big business (by stating it's excusable to steal from them b/c they "rape others resources for profit") but rather bureaucrats for failing to redress a situation in a timely fashion. You know that 2 wrongs don't make a right and a clegryman has no business implying otherwise. I think if he advocated more charitable sentencing in hardship cases that that would be understandable.

Lord of Hunger
12-23-2009, 02:23 AM
@ Original Post:

Yes, while were at it let's just rewrite all the laws against theft so they have the subtext, "unless you're poor, in which case go ahead because corporations are EVIL!!!!1!".

*facepalms*

We have laws, both secular and religious, against stealing for a reason: because it's immoral. Just because certain corporations "rape the third world for its resources" does not create the justification for another immoral act. I sympathize with those who have been forced into terrible circumstances. In fact, I think that this priest should be telling his congregation to provide for the poor rather than feeding them this ridiculous idea that because one group does wrong we should wrong them in turn. I'm very sure Jesus would not support such a thing.

Hell, he forgave and had dinner with tax collectors, the Biblical equivalent of large corporations.

mur'phon
12-23-2009, 05:13 AM
As a coping strategy, theft is usually (one of the, as some alternatives like prostitution aren't always pursued) last ones desperate people use. It's also something they are likely to do anyway as who would rather let them or their family go hungry. Because of this, I support the priest if only because those likely to feel "supported" by his sermon are amongst society's most desperate, and could help them deal with the guilt they feel for what they have done/will do.
Also, as he said, the main focus of his sermon was the underlying problems forcing people to adopt coping strategies, not the specific coping strategy of stealing.

@J7: if we are going to talk about corporations in the third world, I think we need a new thread, I will however say that the unfortunate truth is that it's often better for a country to be raped by corporations than not to be raped at all.

vanir
12-23-2009, 05:40 AM
And not every other culture/subculture follows industrialist-capitalist maxims as representative of any human morality. Generally quite the opposite in fact.
Many would say it was mediaeval to have prosecuted to the extent of exile impoverished thieves in the 19th century.

Please scribe the ten commandments in their original Hebrew, then offer the extremely loose variety of possible transliterations. And go ahead and tell me the opinions of Jesus or any other God again whilst you're at it.
Hebrew scipture cannot be interpreted without the application of specific context, it is the very reason there are synagogues. It is because the language has a much smaller vocabulary than modern ones, and every statement made is inherently ambiguous.

Sort of like the way extremist nutjobs redefine the 2nd Ammendment from meaning state militias to individual vigilanteism, thus a pro gun lobby. In fact it clearly states its context and it had nothing whatsoever to do with people running around shooting it out with what amounts to other street criminals with firearms. All these people have done is legalise a crime. So why not impoverished individuals and families with no other choices but to steal?

And yes, that is what charity is all about. But as Jonathon said, doesn't mean it's always available everywhere and to everyone, and as for institutional welfare people simply slip through the cracks as with any inherently generalising organisation.

Thankfully the judiciary at least in Australia are not as mediaeval as some of the posters here. They will essentially record a conviction and suspend any penalties in light of the difficult circumstances and this is only because true thieves, whom steal for wont and hardly need will otherwise justify themselves as they do, and enlist more numbers.

Any penalties for crimes of reasonable circumstance and need are wholly political. But politics is so real most of you never notice it in your own words and thoughts, driving you, leading your assumptions, reasoning your why.

God is not about politics according to Jesus. According to the clergy, the Church is not about the laws of man.

Pavlos
12-23-2009, 08:15 AM
Well, I'm not sure if the average American teenager will have started shop lifting to survive (much like the average UK teenager won't have don so to survive). It has to be said that a Church congregation is hardly the most likely set of individuals to go and act out the advice... (You would hope).
Now, I'm not a Christian and most of my knowledge of the faith applies only to very teeny tiny aspects of 14th century high theology (an almost universally useless subject area, I'm sure you'll agree), but I'm certain that should his teaching be incorrect in the eyes of the Almighty, the culpability is the priest's and not that of the individual, as he has been misdirected. It's the same with false beggars, Augustine (and Gregory, I think) says to give alms to all that ask and appear needy, because if the beggar is false then the sin of theft lies on his head, whilst the virtue of charity is left with the donor, regardless of where it goes.

On theft itself: as ever with Christianity, there are multiple schools but it seems a rather poor show for the CofE that their reaction displays a painful lack of even basic knowledge about one of the saints they venerate: Thomas of Aquinas.

Summa Theologica, Article 7: Whether it is lawful to steal through stress of need?

Objection 1. It would seem unlawful to steal through stress of need. For penance is not imposed except on one who has sinned. Now it is stated (Extra, De furtis, Cap. Si quis): "If anyone, through stress of hunger or nakedness, steal food, clothing or beast, he shall do penance for three weeks." Therefore it is not lawful to steal through stress of need.

Objection 2. Further, the Philosopher says (Ethic. ii, 6) that "there are some actions whose very name implies wickedness," and among these he reckons theft. Now that which is wicked in itself may not be done for a good end. Therefore a man cannot lawfully steal in order to remedy a need.

Objection 3. Further, a man should love his neighbor as himself. Now, according to Augustine (Contra Mendac. vii), it is unlawful to steal in order to succor one's neighbor by giving him an alms. Therefore neither is it lawful to steal in order to remedy one's own needs.

On the contrary, In cases of need all things are common property, so that there would seem to be no sin in taking another's property, for need has made it common.

I answer that, Things which are of human right cannot derogate from natural right or Divine right. Now according to the natural order established by Divine Providence, inferior things are ordained for the purpose of succoring man's needs by their means. Wherefore the division and appropriation of things which are based on human law, do not preclude the fact that man's needs have to be remedied by means of these very things. Hence whatever certain people have in superabundance is due, by natural law, to the purpose of succoring the poor. For this reason Ambrose [Loc. cit., 2, Objection 3] says, and his words are embodied in the Decretals (Dist. xlvii, can. Sicut ii): "It is the hungry man's bread that you withhold, the naked man's cloak that you store away, the money that you bury in the earth is the price of the poor man's ransom and freedom."

Since, however, there are many who are in need, while it is impossible for all to be succored by means of the same thing, each one is entrusted with the stewardship of his own things, so that out of them he may come to the aid of those who are in need. Nevertheless, if the need be so manifest and urgent, that it is evident that the present need must be remedied by whatever means be at hand (for instance when a person is in some imminent danger, and there is no other possible remedy), then it is lawful for a man to succor his own need by means of another's property, by taking it either openly or secretly: nor is this properly speaking theft or robbery.

Reply to Objection 1. This decretal considers cases where there is no urgent need.

Reply to Objection 2. It is not theft, properly speaking, to take secretly and use another's property in a case of extreme need: because that which he takes for the support of his life becomes his own property by reason of that need.

Reply to Objection 3. In a case of a like need a man may also take secretly another's property in order to succor his neighbor in need.
Now, I'm not saying that St. Thomas is the answer to everything in Catholic Christianity, but it does come across from the CofE's quarter that they've completely dismissed this rather important section of his writing. The CofE, in Jungian terms, is a creed, not a religion. It has formed a contract with the state to achieve security and self-perpetuation. But as a result, its primary objective becomes not upholding the "word of God" but rather upholding and agreeing with the word of the state: that is, stealing is wrong, intention does not matter outside of cases involving murder. It operates intra-, instead of extra-mundanely.

jonathan7
12-23-2009, 08:43 AM
Well, Jon, if you're going to get biblical, remember that stealing is against God's commandments. Jesus would NOT excuse the stealing, but would chastise others for allowing such situations to go on uncorrected.

Jesus would answer the question with a question or parable to provoke thought in those asking the question, rarely does he give "simple" answers. But he always take things in the spirit of the law...

I didn't say he excused, and while I agree he would chastise others; there are far greater crimes in the world than stealing rice to live. Hell, I'll quote Bruce Wayne from Batman Begins;

Henri Ducard: When you lived among the criminals, did you start to pity them?
Bruce Wayne: The first time I stole so that I wouldn't starve, yes. I lost many assumptions about the simple nature of right and wrong. And when I traveled, I learned the fear before a crime and the thrill of success. But I never became one of them.

Jones also stated "...shoplifting could help people who are legally entitled to government welfare benefits but have the benefits delayed for bureaucratic reasons." So he isn't indicting big business (by stating it's excusable to steal from them b/c they "rape others resources for profit") but rather bureaucrats for failing to redress a situation in a timely fashion. You know that 2 wrongs don't make a right and a clegryman has no business implying otherwise. I think if he advocated more charitable sentencing in hardship cases that that would be understandable.

I find this curious, as this made the UK news and the Priest was on clarifying his position, which was the poor should only steal from big corporations and not family businesses. Frankly though given the amount of news the news agency's fail to report, it amuses me that such a small thing should get so much air time; great to see Freedom of Speech is still alive.

@ Original Post:

Yes, while were at it let's just rewrite all the laws against theft so they have the subtext, "unless you're poor, in which case go ahead because corporations are EVIL!!!!1!".

I'm pretty sure the Priest knows considerably more about ecclesiastical law than you; and I dare say he is aware of all the arguments being trotted out in this thread...

However given that you seem to think I'm being dramatic, and then you selectively pointing to the Bible. Large corporations driven for profit will always be evil because of the nature of their construction and human nature (that is something the whole Bible would back up, with regards mans nature).

"Administrative evil is systemic, in the sense that it exists beyond any one person once its policies are in place and its procedures take control. Nevertheless, I would argue, organizations must have leaders, and those leaders must be held accountable for creating or maintaining such evil. I believe that a system consists of those agents and agencies whose power and values create or modify the rules of and expectations for 'approved behaviors' within its sphere of influence. In one sense, the system is more than the sum of its parts and of its leaders, who also fall under its powerful influences. In another sense, however, the individuals who play key roles in creating a system that engages in illegal, immoral, and unethical conduct should be held accountable despite the situational pressures on them." (From Chapter 15, page 438) Philip Zimbardo – The Lucifer Effect

Zimbardo's specialisation is on the Holocaust and why the Prison guards et al acted as they did, on one part there was buck passing "there is nothing I can do about it" - and so many individuals did nothing. It is similar in large corporations, whose only responsibility is to make a profit for their share holders.

The articulation of my point was that places such as Tesco (or Walmart are). Indeed I say it is counter intuitive to argue otherwise - much the way that the big Drugs companies are hives of scum and villainy.

This is the report on Tesco's main Tea producing farm/plant in India; Click Me (http://www.iufdocuments.org/www/documents/TalupReport.pdf) - Tesco break Indian law, by having child workers, not providing adequate housing for their workers, not providing clean water, and not providing adequate toilet facilities.

Tesco and other supermarkets basically steal the produce of farmers; Click Me (http://business.timesonline.co.uk/tol/business/entrepreneur/article1295694.ece).

Small brief article on the drugs agency; Click Me (http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/2007/aug/04/sciencenews)

Trust me when I say I could produce a book of sources on the evils of Supermarkets - think about it, the food is dead cheap... Does that not tell you something?


We have laws, both secular and religious, against stealing for a reason: because it's immoral.

You fail to answer the main point of my post; which is more immoral - a family starving to death, or stealing to live?

Just because certain corporations "rape the third world for its resources" does not create the justification for another immoral act.

Does this mean we should of gone to war with Hitler then? Seeing as War is the ultimate immoral act and two wrongs don't make a right?

I sympathize with those who have been forced into terrible circumstances. In fact, I think that this priest should be telling his congregation to provide for the poor rather than feeding them this ridiculous idea that because one group does wrong we should wrong them in turn. I'm very sure Jesus would not support such a thing.

Again, I'm pretty sure the Priest is far more qualified to comment on ecclesiastical matters than you. Jesus by his nature would have posed a question or told a parable to answer someone's question on this matter

Hell, he forgave and had dinner with tax collectors, the Biblical equivalent of large corporations.

No, no, no! The Romans were the only equivalent of a large corporation. This is such a counter intuitive statement, which ignores what the definition of the words used are, rending it meaningless.

1. A body that is granted a charter recognizing it as a separate legal entity having its own rights, privileges, and liabilities distinct from those of its members.
2. Such a body created for purposes of government. Also called body corporate.
3. A group of people combined into or acting as one body.

A tax collector is an individual as such he in no way resembles a Corporation; on the other hand ancient Rome, does much more resemble a Corporation.

@J7: if we are going to talk about corporations in the third world, I think we need a new thread, I will however say that the unfortunate truth is that it's often better for a country to be raped by corporations than not to be raped at all.

We can do if you want, given however the Priest was only advocating stealing from large corporations and not family businesses I did think pointing out the evils Tesco get away with pertinent to the discussion.

Edit: Response to Pavvy

Now, I'm not a Christian and most of my knowledge of the faith applies only to very teeny tiny aspects of 14th century high theology (an almost universally useless subject area, I'm sure you'll agree), but I'm certain that should his teaching be incorrect in the eyes of the Almighty, the culpability is the priest's and not that of the individual, as he has been misdirected. It's the same with false beggars, Augustine (and Gregory, I think) says to give alms to all that ask and appear needy, because if the beggar is false then the sin of theft lies on his head, whilst the virtue of charity is left with the donor, regardless of where it goes.

Well, the Bible says that teachers are held to higher account than the rest of the congregation; which is where the above teaching comes from.

On theft itself: as ever with Christianity, there are multiple schools but it seems a rather poor show for the CofE that their reaction displays a painful lack of even basic knowledge about one of the saints they venerate: Thomas of Aquinas.

Agreed but it's hardly as if the CofE is a wonderful state of health at the moment ;)

Summa Theologica, Article 7: Whether it is lawful to steal through stress of need?

Now, I'm not saying that St. Thomas is the answer to everything in Catholic Christianity, but it does come across from the CofE's quarter that they've completely dismissed this rather important section of his writing. The CofE, in Jungian terms, is a creed, not a religion. It has formed a contract with the state to achieve security and self-perpetuation. But as a result, its primary objective becomes not upholding the "word of God" but rather upholding and agreeing with the word of the state: that is, stealing is wrong, intention does not matter outside of cases involving murder. It operates intra-, instead of extra-mundanely.

Yes I am aware of the above, hence me arguing the position I was ;)

Pavlos
12-23-2009, 08:55 AM
Yes I am aware of the above, hence me arguing the position I was ;)
Oh it wasn't directed to you in particular. Sorry for the confusion.

mimartin
12-23-2009, 09:16 AM
You fail to answer the main point of my post; which is more immoral - a family starving to death, or stealing to live?Is starvation a large cause of death across the pond? Perhaps it is time for another LiveAid concert.

We can do if you want, given however the Priest was only advocating stealing from large corporations and not family businesses...No, he is advocating stealing from stockholders, which could be anyone. If it alright to steal from my neighbor in this matter, why not go direct to the source? I fail to see the difference. Also why should I steal rice, why not steal the big screen TV so that I can sell it for a lot of rice?

If the Priest is advocating stealing from my neighbor to feed my family, since he condones this behavior, then would it be considered evil to steal from the very church advocating this? Again, the church is supported by my neighbors, as the corporation is invested in by my neighbors, what is the difference on how I steal my neighbors’ money?

Is the Priest saying that I should only steal from privately held corporations and/or foreign corporation, but not from domestic publically held corporations? Also how do I know which corporations are evil? Is there some type of manual? I mean if enough people steal from the “evil” corporation, no matter how large, then the corporation will close that operation in that area and move elsewhere. Wouldn’t that remove jobs from my neighborhood forcing more people to steal and increasing my competition for thievery?

Totenkopf
12-23-2009, 12:53 PM
Jesus would answer the question with a question or parable to provoke thought in those asking the question, rarely does he give "simple" answers. But he always take things in the spirit of the law...
I didn't say he excused, and while I agree he would chastise others; there are far greater crimes in the world than stealing rice to live. Hell, I'll quote Bruce Wayne from Batman Begins;
I find this curious, as this made the UK news and the Priest was on clarifying his position, which was the poor should only steal from big corporations and not family businesses. Frankly though given the amount of news the news agency's fail to report, it amuses me that such a small thing should get so much air time; great to see Freedom of Speech is still alive.


Jesus, as he did w/the prostitute and those about to stone her may have answered the charge cryptically, but his admonition to the hooker was to go and sin no more. So, Jesus might be more lenient than many people but He would not excuse the sin. Merely attempt to mitigate the severity of one man's judegement and subsequent sentencing of another. Petty theft is petty theft. Doesn't merit severe punishment, but some form of restitution nonetheless. My point is that it would be hard to argue that Jesus would dismiss the thievery as ok/justifiable b/c of the circumstances. Hence, a Christian clergyman has no business peddling those views. The tax collector, last I checked, was not some independent agent, but an arm of a govt. Thus conflating tax collectors w/corporate types is not so slipshod, at least in light of your Roman Empire=corporation argument. But I've got to side w/mimartin that you set a bad precendent in trying to excuse outright or minimize a crime simply based on anti-capitalist views. Afterall, how is a "mom and pop" any more virtuous than an "evil corp"? My guess is merely he was saying that stealing from those with much was less onerous than from those with less.

jonathan7
12-23-2009, 01:12 PM
This whole thread amuses me, because the basic point the Priest made was that people should steal to avoid having to drug deal or go into prostitution; then a whole load of people put words in his mouth...

I'm also re-quoting this for awesome and the fact none of you seem to have bothered to argue with it;

Now, I'm not a Christian and most of my knowledge of the faith applies only to very teeny tiny aspects of 14th century high theology (an almost universally useless subject area, I'm sure you'll agree), but I'm certain that should his teaching be incorrect in the eyes of the Almighty, the culpability is the priest's and not that of the individual, as he has been misdirected. It's the same with false beggars, Augustine (and Gregory, I think) says to give alms to all that ask and appear needy, because if the beggar is false then the sin of theft lies on his head, whilst the virtue of charity is left with the donor, regardless of where it goes.

On theft itself: as ever with Christianity, there are multiple schools but it seems a rather poor show for the CofE that their reaction displays a painful lack of even basic knowledge about one of the saints they venerate: Thomas of Aquinas.

Summa Theologica, Article 7: Whether it is lawful to steal through stress of need?

Objection 1. It would seem unlawful to steal through stress of need. For penance is not imposed except on one who has sinned. Now it is stated (Extra, De furtis, Cap. Si quis): "If anyone, through stress of hunger or nakedness, steal food, clothing or beast, he shall do penance for three weeks." Therefore it is not lawful to steal through stress of need.

Objection 2. Further, the Philosopher says (Ethic. ii, 6) that "there are some actions whose very name implies wickedness," and among these he reckons theft. Now that which is wicked in itself may not be done for a good end. Therefore a man cannot lawfully steal in order to remedy a need.

Objection 3. Further, a man should love his neighbor as himself. Now, according to Augustine (Contra Mendac. vii), it is unlawful to steal in order to succor one's neighbor by giving him an alms. Therefore neither is it lawful to steal in order to remedy one's own needs.

On the contrary, In cases of need all things are common property, so that there would seem to be no sin in taking another's property, for need has made it common.

I answer that, Things which are of human right cannot derogate from natural right or Divine right. Now according to the natural order established by Divine Providence, inferior things are ordained for the purpose of succoring man's needs by their means. Wherefore the division and appropriation of things which are based on human law, do not preclude the fact that man's needs have to be remedied by means of these very things. Hence whatever certain people have in superabundance is due, by natural law, to the purpose of succoring the poor. For this reason Ambrose [Loc. cit., 2, Objection 3] says, and his words are embodied in the Decretals (Dist. xlvii, can. Sicut ii): "It is the hungry man's bread that you withhold, the naked man's cloak that you store away, the money that you bury in the earth is the price of the poor man's ransom and freedom."

Since, however, there are many who are in need, while it is impossible for all to be succored by means of the same thing, each one is entrusted with the stewardship of his own things, so that out of them he may come to the aid of those who are in need. Nevertheless, if the need be so manifest and urgent, that it is evident that the present need must be remedied by whatever means be at hand (for instance when a person is in some imminent danger, and there is no other possible remedy), then it is lawful for a man to succor his own need by means of another's property, by taking it either openly or secretly: nor is this properly speaking theft or robbery.

Reply to Objection 1. This decretal considers cases where there is no urgent need.

Reply to Objection 2. It is not theft, properly speaking, to take secretly and use another's property in a case of extreme need: because that which he takes for the support of his life becomes his own property by reason of that need.

Reply to Objection 3. In a case of a like need a man may also take secretly another's property in order to succor his neighbor in need.

Now, I'm not saying that St. Thomas is the answer to everything in Catholic
Christianity, but it does come across from the CofE's quarter that they've completely dismissed this rather important section of his writing. The CofE, in Jungian terms, is a creed, not a religion. It has formed a contract with the state to achieve security and self-perpetuation. But as a result, its primary objective becomes not upholding the "word of God" but rather upholding and agreeing with the word of the state: that is, stealing is wrong, intention does not matter outside of cases involving murder. It operates intra-, instead of extra-mundanely.

So there is Ecclesiastical law, which is also included with in the CofE basically backing up with what the Priest was saying. I dare say he had done his sermon because of actual experience of the problem within his parish.

Is starvation a large cause of death across the pond? Perhaps it is time for another LiveAid concert.

No, but there are also homeless people here, who are totally off the social help scale. The Priests direct point was that people should steal to avoid starvation, or more serious crimes like resorting to drug dealing and prostitution to get money.

Jesus, as he did w/the prostitute and those about to stone her may have answered the charge cryptically, but his admonition to the hooker was to go and sin no more. So, Jesus might be more lenient than many people but He would not excuse the sin. Merely attempt to mitigate the severity of one man's judegement and subsequent sentencing of another. Petty theft is petty theft. Doesn't merit severe punishment, but some form of restitution nonetheless. My point is that it would be hard to argue that Jesus would dismiss the thievery as ok/justifiable b/c of the circumstances.

Fair enough.

Hence, a Christian clergyman has no business peddling those views.

Did you read Pavlos post?

The tax collector, last I checked, was not some independent agent, but an arm of a govt. Thus conflating tax collectors w/corporate types is not so slipshod, at least in light of your Roman Empire=corporation argument.

Well, the tax collectors evil, was more their own personal doing - i.e. they collected more than they should and kept that for themselves. Where as, the Zimbardo quote is to illustrate the the evil of corporations spreads well beyond individuals - the tax collector is both aware and fully responsible of any evil he does. Anyone in a corporation is not the latter.

But I've got to side w/mimartin that you set a bad precendent in trying to excuse outright or minimize a crime simply based on anti-capitalist views.

Eh? Where on earth did "anti-capitalist" come from? Further more my point was which is a greater crime, for a family to starve or for them to steal to survive? I have never shop-lifted and never will; but I don't have children to support and I dare say a parent watching a child starve would be a terrible thing.

Afterall, how is a "mom and pop" any more virtuous than an "evil corp"? My guess is merely he was saying that stealing from those with much was less onerous than from those with less.

So you keep putting words in his mouth? Much like the news pieces in which I have yet to see a direct quote from the said Priest.

Q
12-23-2009, 02:05 PM
This whole thread amuses me,
You're not the only one, but I have a feeling that we're amused for very different reasons. ;)
because the basic point the Priest made was that people should steal to avoid having to drug deal or go into prostitution;
And he is wrong; very wrong, because stealing is wrong. "Thou shalt not steal" leaves no maneuvering room whatsoever.

Web Rider
12-23-2009, 02:15 PM
This whole thread amuses me, because the basic point the Priest made was that people should steal to avoid having to drug deal or go into prostitution; then a whole load of people put words in his mouth...
So they should break the law so that they don't have to break the law? We have a lot of drug dealing in my home town, it's a very profitable business, and most of the money comes from that harmless plant people won't shut up about. But the fact is, we're still a poor town, we're made up of mostly factory workers, retail, and this+that. Yet, we have a massive homeless problem, partially because everyone is almost dirt poor to begin with, and also because other cities ship their poor our direction.

What does this cause? It causes social unrest because of the disturbance many homeless make, it causes stress on social services because we don't have the tax money or manpower to help them all. And now we've got an argument that these people should steal to survive? I'm sorry, but the fat preacher living in his nice parish on his 10% tithe can shove it. Is there no great irony in the fact that this person would essentially BE homeless if we weren't paying the church money?

Yes it's sad, but stealing from big companies or foreign companies is hard. There's no poor person who's going to be able to steal from Exxon or figure out who's a stock-holder of BP and then rip them off. When a poor person hears this they're not going to hear "fight the power" which is essentially what he's saying, they're going to hear "it's ok to steal." And poor people in poor neighborhoods will steal from other poor people who can't afford locks, who can't protect their merchandise with security guards, people who are only one step up from the people stealing.

Saying stealing is OK "because you're poor" is stupid and wrong. It doesn't matter if the people you're stealing from are jerks or wouldn't miss 10 bucks. If he's aware of the poverty situation, then he should be advocating people be more charitable to the poor. He should advocate that his church will do more to help the poor, anything other than "it's okay to steal because you're poor." Why don't you just tell everyone that they don't have to work for anything anymore because they can just steal from rich people?

No, but there are also homeless people here, who are totally off the social help scale. The Priests direct point was that people should steal to avoid starvation, or more serious crimes like resorting to drug dealing and prostitution to get money.
So they should go to jail for nothing instead of something. At least dealing drugs you can be smart about and actually make some solid income. NOONE and I mean that, is off the social help scale. Yes, you might lift them up from homelessness into poverty, but with a little help, people can succeed, no false ideas like they'll become rich, but they can certainly become better than poor and homeless.

Q
12-23-2009, 02:27 PM
I'd venture to say that selling drugs would be the lesser of the two evils because while both actions are illegal there is no commandment against selling drugs. :p

Lord of Hunger
12-23-2009, 02:33 PM
I'm pretty sure the Priest knows considerably more about ecclesiastical law than you; and I dare say he is aware of all the arguments being trotted out in this thread...
I've actually been taught a great deal about ecclesiastical law, mate. Also, if you read the article, the Priest's colleagues denounced his words. I sincerely doubt that his views here are influenced by God, but rather by his political views.
However given that you seem to think I'm being dramatic, and then you selectively pointing to the Bible. Large corporations driven for profit will always be evil because of the nature of their construction and human nature (that is something the whole Bible would back up, with regards mans nature).
First, I was not addressing your post. I was addressing the original post. And no I don't think your being dramatic.

Second, can you prove to me that all large corporations are evil or that the Bible claims as such? I'm more than happy to debate both points.
You fail to answer the main point of my post; which is more immoral - a family starving to death, or stealing to live?
Again, I was addressing the original post, not yours. Second, I do not agree with this notion of morality being something that you can put on a scale and weigh.
Does this mean we should of gone to war with Hitler then? Seeing as War is the ultimate immoral act and two wrongs don't make a right?
War is the ultimate immoral act? You are making a lot of large assertions there.
Again, I'm pretty sure the Priest is far more qualified to comment on ecclesiastical matters than you. Jesus by his nature would have posed a question or told a parable to answer someone's question on this matter
See above statements.
No, no, no! The Romans were the only equivalent of a large corporation. This is such a counter intuitive statement, which ignores what the definition of the words used are, rending it meaningless.

A tax collector is an individual as such he in no way resembles a Corporation; on the other hand ancient Rome, does much more resemble a Corporation.
Alright, since the tax collectors were part of the Roman regime there and Jesus forgave a lot of them, then we can safely say that he would have forgiven Rome. Hell, there is a section of the Gospels where he helps out a Roman soldier, if I am right.

jonathan7
12-23-2009, 02:53 PM
I've actually been taught a great deal about ecclesiastical law, mate. Also, if you read the article, the Priest's colleagues denounced his words. I sincerely doubt that his views here are influenced by God, but rather by his political views.

How can you know his motivations? There are all sorts of people decrying him at the moment; the Church of England has all sorts, I dare say to quote Braveheart (but PG-13 appropriate) "They couldn't agree on the colour of poo" (this also is why I think at this point the separation of the CofE is an inevitability now). I personally don't know the priests political affiliations so I can't comment as to if there is any political motivation there.

With regards Ecclesiastical law - why has no-one answered Pavlos and his quoted Thomas Aquinas points?

First, I was not addressing your post. I was addressing the original post. And no I don't think your being dramatic.

Fair enough :)

Second, can you prove to me that all large corporations are evil or that the Bible claims as such? I'm more than happy to debate both points.

I don't think all large corporations are evil - however I think the large majority are a bad influence. From the Bible, I would say it is inferred, if you look at what the Bible has to say about human nature and also the actions majority of empires/countries reported in the Bible are hardly positive?

Again, I was addressing the original post, not yours. Second, I do not agree with this notion of morality being something that you can put on a scale and weigh.

Ok, why? Our judicial systems are based on morality being on a scale (the differences in prison sentences for example). In the eyes of God is a different matter, but I haven't got his eyes ;)

War is the ultimate immoral act? You are making a lot of large assertions there.

Why? War is a horrible evil thing, on occasion it has been a necessity (say World War 2) for instances, but all war brings is murder, mutilation etc, so I don't really see how War can be seen as anything but a bad thing?

Alright, since the tax collectors were part of the Roman regime there and Jesus forgave a lot of them, then we can safely say that he would have forgiven Rome. Hell, there is a section of the Gospels where he helps out a Roman soldier, if I am right.

I wasn't saying that individuals or Rome aren't forgiven by God, but institutional evil, is a somewhat different thing to an individual evil. Yes Jesus does heal a Roman soldiers servant in the NT (- Matthew 8:5-13, if your interested).

Nor am I saying that individuals with in a corrupt corporation are judged for that, I apologise if it came across thus.

vanir
12-23-2009, 02:55 PM
snip

This is about helpless people starving and the fact none of you are going to go out and help any. Thankfully none of you get any say in judiciary protocols.

When you, I mean you man those soup kitchens and put blankets on vagrants, talk about it then.
See this is where many religious fundamentalists earned the right to comment about it individually, it doesn't matter how right or wrong they are in what they say. They're out there doing things physically to help so can talk away much as they like.

Some arrogant schoolkid comes up to me on the street and tells me what he thinks policy ought to be about the helpless and homeless and he's two seconds from a punch in the face, that simple.

jonathan7
12-23-2009, 03:03 PM
So STFU about it I reckon. Thankfully none of you get any say in judiciary protocols.

This is a discussion forum, we will disagree with one another from time to time, I don't think stopping the discussion will really help in this case; I have thought it rather civil despite the disagreements.

See this is where many religious fundamentalists earned the right to comment about it individually, it doesn't matter how right or wrong they are in what they say. They're out there doing things physically to help so can talk away much as they like.

I think this somewhat harsh and inaccurate, I've worked with the homeless and some of my fellow workers had a very similar opinions to people in this thread. I don't think we can say what individuals here do with regard helping the disadvantaged; so I think it unwise to judge them so. I certainly know that mimartin is a very honourable fellow who does his bit to help those in need, so I think that a very unfair charge on him for example.

Edit: That is to say, that I think opinions expressed in this thread, are entirely separate to charity and helping those in need; and indeed I don't think opinion in this thread are indicative of charachter in any way really.

Some arrogant schoolkid comes up to me on the street and tells me what he thinks policy ought to be about the helpless and homeless and he's two seconds from a punch in the face, that simple.

Is the punch in the face not a more serious reaction than a school kid expressing an opinion (even if it is "bad"/"wrong")? After all when I was a teenager I thought I knew everything, were you so different?

Jae Onasi
12-23-2009, 03:13 PM
I'm glad the priest's colleagues denounced saying 'it's OK to steal, as long as it's from a big corporation'. That's just silly. First, it's immoral. Secondly, it puts the church at risk for legal action "Hey, my priest told me it's OK to steal from Wally-world! Sue him instead of locking me up for the theft he advocated!" Third, regardless of the excesses of these major corporations, two wrongs don't make a right.

What should the priest have done instead? How about setting up a food bank, if there are none in the UK? Perhaps the parish could adopt some families in dire need of going hungry and stock their pantries? Could he not find someone to help the families in crisis cut through the bureaucratic nonsense that's holding up their food aid?

There are so many ways he could have encouraged the congregation to get involved and to help people in crisis constructively. Instead, he just washed his hands of the whole problem and said "Oh, well, if they have a problem getting food, I'll just tell them it's OK to steal, then I don't have to work on raising money and food donations. Not my problem anymore". THAT'S the part I find utterly despicable about his comments.

jonathan7
12-23-2009, 03:18 PM
I'm glad the priest's colleagues denounced saying 'it's OK to steal, as long as it's from a big corporation'. That's just silly. First, it's immoral. Secondly, it puts the church at risk for legal action "Hey, my priest told me it's OK to steal from Wally-world! Sue him instead of locking me up for the theft he advocated!" Third, regardless of the excesses of these major corporations, two wrongs don't make a right.

Please respond to Pavlos post! :xp:

What should the priest have done instead? How about setting up a food bank, if there are none in the UK? Perhaps the parish could adopt some families in dire need of going hungry and stock their pantries? Could he not find someone to help the families in crisis cut through the bureaucratic nonsense that's holding up their food aid?

There are so many ways he could have encouraged the congregation to get involved and to help people in crisis constructively. Instead, he just washed his hands of the whole problem and said "Oh, well, if they have a problem getting food, I'll just tell them it's OK to steal, then I don't have to work on raising money and food donations. Not my problem anymore". THAT'S the part I find utterly despicable about his comments.

I think this somewhat unfair, as I don't know if he has done the above or not, so I don't think with the data we have we can say if he has done the above or not. Imagine if he has done all the above and people in his parish are still struggling?

Jae Onasi
12-23-2009, 03:45 PM
Please respond to Pavlos post! :xp:I could see this being something that would fly in a third world country, but not in 21st century US or Europe. I could call up or stop by any church in my town and ask them if they could help me with a bag of groceries, and they would do so in a heartbeat. I could ask my neighbors and they would help. If you go to McDonald's and tell them you have no money for food, they'll give you a hamburger and a drink. Mind you, they won't do it for you very often, but they will help with at least 1 meal. The point is, there are lots of ways to get food in modern society without resorting to stealing.

Aquinas' quote assumes there is NO other option available to people, but I just don't believe that this kind of situation exists in the US or UK with all our government services and private charities. Yes, some of the resources are stretched thin, and there's never enough help to meet every single need, but we can at least feed starving people. People do have to take the initiative to ask for help, however.

I think this somewhat unfair, as I don't know if he has done the above or not, so I don't think with the data we have we can say if he has done the above or not. Imagine if he has done all the above and people in his parish are still struggling?You said that the UK doesn't have food banks. I extrapolated that this church and this priest, therefore, had also not started a food bank. Granted, that may be an incorrect assumption, but if it's not, perhaps it's time for the church to start taking constructive action? We in the US and UK, and large portions of Europe, are amazingly blessed with our riches. The poorest of us are still richer than many people in the third world. We need to find ways to help in a constructive manner.

@vanir--one of the things I love about my church is that the members and church leadership do 'put their money where their mouth is'. It is an evangelical church, very conservative, but very active in the community. We are a pro-life church, and we help support moms who choose to keep their babies by holding clothing/formula/diaper donation drives now and again for the local crisis pregnancy center. We collect food every year for the local homeless shelter and encourage volunteering there. During the summer, our church participates with a larger group of churches to provide a place in our gym for the homeless to sleep.. Once a week, the homeless come to our church. We feed them a meal and have volunteers who stay up all night keeping an eye on things so no trouble breaks out. The last few years, we've held a Thanksgiving dinner at the school in the poorest section of town for those who couldn't afford to have their own Thanksgiving dinner. We help church members find jobs when they've lost theirs. Those that don't have the means to help financially help out by praying.

The church and the leaders would never condone the pastor saying 'it's OK to steal, as long as it's from Wal-Mart'. We'd kick him out in a heartbeat for saying something like that, and then we'd get busy asking ourselves how to meet the needs of starving people.

Lord of Hunger
12-23-2009, 04:02 PM
How can you know his motivations? There are all sorts of people decrying him at the moment; the Church of England has all sorts, I dare say to quote Braveheart (but PG-13 appropriate) "They couldn't agree on the colour of poo" (this also is why I think at this point the separation of the CofE is an inevitability now). I personally don't know the priests political affiliations so I can't comment as to if there is any political motivation there.
This guy is not the first priest to say this sort of politically motivated stuff. I cannot entirely say with complete certainty that this is politically motivated, but it is extremely likely that this is the case.
With regards Ecclesiastical law - why has no-one answered Pavlos and his quoted Thomas Aquinas points?
As Pavlos pointed out, Aquinas is not the ultimate authority on everything. Also, I am addressing the original post and your replies to my own.
I don't think all large corporations are evil - however I think the large majority are a bad influence. From the Bible, I would say it is inferred, if you look at what the Bible has to say about human nature and also the actions majority of empires/countries reported in the Bible are hardly positive?
I'd like some specific examples though, for the sake of argument. Interpretations of the Bible do vary immensely.
Ok, why? Our judicial systems are based on morality being on a scale (the differences in prison sentences for example). In the eyes of God is a different matter, but I haven't got his eyes ;)
The judicial system is subject to change. As for God, my personal understanding of Christian teachings is that we do not hold one evil as an excuse for another. Granted, an act of theft in desperate circumstances is far more pardonable than ye olde shoplifting, but it is still an offense.
Why? War is a horrible evil thing, on occasion it has been a necessity (say World War 2) for instances, but all war brings is murder, mutilation etc, so I don't really see how War can be seen as anything but a bad thing?
Certain wars are worse than others and the evil in question depends on the acts of the factions involved. Would you also say that the American Revolution was a great evil as well?
I wasn't saying that individuals or Rome aren't forgiven by God, but institutional evil, is a somewhat different thing to an individual evil. Yes Jesus does heal a Roman soldiers servant in the NT (- Matthew 8:5-13, if your interested).
The only difference I see between individual evil and institutional evil is that the institutions have an easier time committing large-scale acts. However, I do not hold the evil of a corporation that exploits aboriginals in Africa as a justification for little Tommy stealing candy at a Walmart.
Really great job people. Show those colours.

This is about helpless people starving and the fact none of you are going to go out and help any. So STFU about it I reckon. Thankfully none of you get any say in judiciary protocols.

When you, I mean you man those soup kitchens and put blankets on vagrants, talk about it then.
Uh dude? Alongside my Buddhist views, I actually have been part of a Catholic Church my entire life and have been part of more charitable acts to help the helpless than I can remember. I've helped collect donations, work in fund raisers, and gone to Mexico to help rebuild a roof in community center that was built in the middle of a dump right next to a prison, build a garden for an orphanage, and just share my time with orphans that receive no love and kindness outside of the nuns that take care of them.

So please vanir, don't go ranting at someone like that until you know them. Not to sound whinny, but I am honestly offended by that.
See this is where many religious fundamentalists earned the right to comment about it individually, it doesn't matter how right or wrong they are in what they say. They're out there doing things physically to help so can talk away much as they like.

Some arrogant schoolkid comes up to me on the street and tells me what he thinks policy ought to be about the helpless and homeless and he's two seconds from a punch in the face, that simple.
Again, I hate it when people characterize and generalize each other. "All corporations are evil," "religious fundamentalists are hypocrites and are uneducated," "homosexuals are defective," "liberals hate America," etc. The list goes on and on.

Darth InSidious
12-23-2009, 04:11 PM
I'm sorry, but the fat preacher living in his nice parish on his 10% tithe can shove it. Is there no great irony in the fact that this person would essentially BE homeless if we weren't paying the church money?
:raise:

Newsflash for you, good sir : No-one pays tithes in this country, and here's a picture of the vicar in question:
http://www.yorkpress.co.uk/resources/images/519675/?type=display

Perhaps you should read up on a subject before you talk snip about it in future, k?

edited by mimartin

Totenkopf
12-23-2009, 04:23 PM
Did you read Pavlos post?

Yeah, but since most of us don't live in theocracies, but rather secular systems, it doesn't do much good to tell your parishoners that stealing for when you consider yourself in "great need" is ok b /c they won't be dealing with the church police, so to speak. I think that since the sermon took place in a church in the "developed world", it's very irresponsible to encourage people to steal if they feel a pressing need b/c the priest believes God will be ok with it......so long as they steal from some big store chain and not some "family shop".



Well, the tax collectors evil, was more their own personal doing - i.e. they collected more than they should and kept that for themselves. Where as, the Zimbardo quote is to illustrate the the evil of corporations spreads well beyond individuals - the tax collector is both aware and fully responsible of any evil he does. Anyone in a corporation is not the latter.

But corporate officers will embezzle funds just like the tax collector may have extorted higher rates (likely at the encouragement or behest of a governing official). Does that mean that the govt is not guilty but the corporation is b/c some of their employees or agents act in an unsavory manner? Frankly, govt is really nothing but a big corporation, with taxpayers as its shareholders (as well as victims). But if you focus on Zimbardo, nowhere in the excerpt you gave did he make any distinction between corporations and govt.



Eh? Where on earth did "anti-capitalist" come from? Further more my point was which is a greater crime, for a family to starve or for them to steal to survive? I have never shop-lifted and never will; but I don't have children to support and I dare say a parent watching a child starve would be a terrible thing.

Two things. One which is that your rant about supermarkets seemed as if could likely represent your views about corporations in general. If that's off base, sorry. Second, I agree that it's morally criminal to let people starve to death and do nothing to help them if it's in your power to do so. But again, his sermon is being given in a reasonably prosperous and developed society where stealing is not the only alternative to starving to death. How would you feel if someone stole medication that they needed but the the NHS said they weren't entitled to? Would you say that should be allowed to slide as it is their health and they only get one life, despite what the bureaucrats decreed? Should their crime of desperation, however misguided or seemingly illogical be deemed ok by mitigating circumstances?


So you keep putting words in his mouth? Much like the news pieces in which I have yet to see a direct quote from the said Priest.

How so?


The Rev. Tim Jones caused an uproar by telling his congregation that it is sometimes acceptable for desperate people to shoplift — as long as they do it at large national chain stores, rather than small, family businesses.

Jones told The Associated Press that he stands by his comments. He said he regretted only that the media is focusing on his view on shoplifting rather than the underlying problem he wanted to address.

"The point I'm making is that when we shut down every socially acceptable avenue for people in need, then the only avenue left is the socially unacceptable one," he said, adding that people are often released from prison without any means of support, leading them back into crime.

"What I'm against is the way society has become ever more comfortable with the people at the very bottom, and blinded to their needs," he said.

He said shoplifting could help people who are legally entitled to government welfare benefits but have the benefits delayed for bureaucratic reasons.

This is about helpless people starving and the fact none of you are going to go out and help any. Thankfully none of you get any say in judiciary protocols.
When you, I mean you man those soup kitchens and put blankets on vagrants, talk about it then.
See this is where many religious fundamentalists earned the right to comment about it individually, it doesn't matter how right or wrong they are in what they say. They're out there doing things physically to help so can talk away much as they like.
Some arrogant schoolkid comes up to me on the street and tells me what he thinks policy ought to be about the helpless and homeless and he's two seconds from a punch in the face, that simple.

Huh? You seem to be implying that they have a right to steal and no responsibility to find an alternative method to alleviate that hunger. Given that it takes awhile to actually starve to death, that line of "reasoning" is both morally and logically bankrupt. Ever more so in first and 2nd world countries, such as where the priest gave his sermon. Still, I'm sure the judge will be sympathetic that you were moved to unnecessary violence b/c of your overwhelming compassion for your fellow man. :devsmoke:

Pavlos
12-23-2009, 04:44 PM
For those who don't seem to have bothered to look beyond the unimpeachable source that is Yahoo News, here's what the Rev. Tim Jones actually said (http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/north_yorkshire/8425420.stm): "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. [...]

"If one has exhausted every legal opportunity to get money and you're still in a desperate situation it is a better moral thing to do to take absolutely no more than you need for no longer than you need."

For those curious as to what type of a man the Archdeacon of York, Father Jones' main critic in this, is: he's semi-famous in the area for going into a shop and throwing Playboy merchandise onto the floor. Make of that what you will.

I just thought everyone could do with a little more information.

Lord of Hunger
12-23-2009, 04:54 PM
For those who don't seem to have bothered to look beyond the unimpeachable source that is Yahoo News, here's what the Rev. Tim Jones actually said (http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/north_yorkshire/8425420.stm): "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. [...]

"If one has exhausted every legal opportunity to get money and you're still in a desperate situation it is a better moral thing to do to take absolutely no more than you need for no longer than you need."
This does not change anything. He still is saying that it is okay for the poor to shoplift from large corporations because they are large corporations.
For those curious as to what type of a man the Archdeacon of York, Father Jones' main critic in this, is: he's semi-famous in the area for going into a shop and throwing Playboy merchandise onto the floor. Make of that what you will.
I fail to see how that is relevant to this debate at all.

Pavlos
12-23-2009, 05:08 PM
I fail to see how that is relevant to this debate at all.

This does not change anything. He still is saying that it is okay for the poor to shoplift from large corporations because they are large corporations.
I was providing a little more background information to what was actually said, seeing as how an awful lot of people seem to have been entirely unconcerned with the facts of the matter.

The words "as long as they do it at large national chain stores, rather than small, family businesses" colour him a leftie (which he may well be) but what he actually said isn't in line with a dislike of big business and the argument that "you can steal from big businesses because they're big" at all. But rather that, the people whom stealing from Asda affects can more readily absorb that effect than those affected by stealing from the corner shop. Therefore, if stealing is the only course of action that you can take to survive, then you should steal from Asda, not from Mrs. Goggins.

As to the sketch of the Archdeacon: I'm trusting that no one around here actually knows who he is and that they could do with a little more information. The man doesn't sound quite so profound in condemning Father Jones' comments when you consider how reactionary he is and what an ass he is prone to making of himself.

Totenkopf
12-23-2009, 05:15 PM
For those who don't seem to have bothered to look beyond the unimpeachable source that is Yahoo News, here's what the Rev. Tim Jones actually said (http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/north_yorkshire/8425420.stm): "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. [...]
"If one has exhausted every legal opportunity to get money and you're still in a desperate situation it is a better moral thing to do to take absolutely no more than you need for no longer than you need."

Kind of like saying it's morally better to beat a man up for sleeping with your wife instead of killing him. Both acts are still immoral. Or put a different way, rob big bank and not a small one b/c the damages will be diluted at the individual level and by all means....stop robbing banks when you're back on your feet. And remember, don't steal a half-million when $500 dollars will do :p


I just thought everyone could do with a little more information.

Well, it did add a little bit more, but didn't much change the impression the original article presented. I have to say, though, stealing from any store generally leads first to higher prices and second....depending on how much stealing is occurring...to no store in that neighborhood. If his goal were to encourage charitable giving from the congregation, he took a rather ham-handed approach. He should have stayed away from advocating, however tenuously, breaking the law selectively. Given that stealing from a store of any size has economic consequences, I'm guessing the good Father didn't master his grasp of economics.

Pavlos
12-23-2009, 05:27 PM
Kind of like saying it's morally better to beat a man up for sleeping with your wife instead of killing him. Both acts are still immoral. Or put a different way, rob big bank and not a small one b/c the damages will be diluted at the individual level and by all means....stop robbing banks when you're back on your feet. :p
Except for the fact that under Aquinas' reasoning, which has been adopted by the CofE if I'm not mistaken, stealing under the circumstances that the reverend outlined is not a sin. When he discusses from where to steal he is attempting to minimise the mundane effects of a mundane crime, which does not (to the best of his knowledge) affect the state of the criminal's soul. A priest is responsible not for the legal status of his parishioners but for the cleanness of their souls.

You cannot separate what he said from the philosophical frameworks in which he said it. To do so is to completely misunderstand what is being stated. Now, his grasp of economics may be flawed, so feel free to attack that but in terms of the morality of theft, I can't see anything wrong with what he said under ecclesiastic law. Maybe you can, but if not then you'll have to discredit Aquinas, which (needless to say) is pretty difficult. Unless, of course, you want to go straight for the arguments as to the existence of God and discredit the lot.

mimartin
12-23-2009, 06:25 PM
I fail to see how that is relevant to this debate at all.

:migraine: More information about a subject is always relevant. Information does not have to validate one side or another of a debate to be relevant. Besides Kavar is a discussion forum not a debate forum.

Since the topic of the thread is dealing with this “British Priest”, I’m under the impression that more information about him would indeed be relevant.

Thanks Pavlos for sharing the information.

Lord of Hunger
12-23-2009, 08:20 PM
More information about a subject is always relevant. Information does not have to validate one side or another of a debate to be relevant. Besides Kavar is a discussion forum not a debate forum.
I was referring to the information regarding the Archdeacon. I fail to see how it in anyway has to do with the priest, other than to demonize the opposition of the priest.

And my bad on saying debate. I'm commonly on a philosophical debate forum, so my tendency to call even a discussion a debate. :D
I was providing a little more background information to what was actually said, seeing as how an awful lot of people seem to have been entirely unconcerned with the facts of the matter.

The words "as long as they do it at large national chain stores, rather than small, family businesses" colour him a leftie (which he may well be) but what he actually said isn't in line with a dislike of big business and the argument that "you can steal from big businesses because they're big" at all. But rather that, the people whom stealing from Asda affects can more readily absorb that effect than those affected by stealing from the corner shop. Therefore, if stealing is the only course of action that you can take to survive, then you should steal from Asda, not from Mrs. Goggins.
Totenkopf beat me to the punch unfortunately, and pretty much said all I was going to say. :(
As to the sketch of the Archdeacon: I'm trusting that no one around here actually knows who he is and that they could do with a little more information. The man doesn't sound quite so profound in condemning Father Jones' comments when you consider how reactionary he is and what an ass he is prone to making of himself.
I really don't give a hoot as to what insane things that Archdeacon does. We're discussing the Priest. The Archdeacon could be a porn star for his night job, but even that does not validate the view of the Priest.

Web Rider
12-23-2009, 08:50 PM
For those who don't seem to have bothered to look beyond the unimpeachable source that is Yahoo News, here's what the Rev. Tim Jones actually said (http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/north_yorkshire/8425420.stm): "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. [...]"

Okay, now I think even worse of him. Not only is he advocating stealing for political motives, not even a need for survival, but he shows true ignorance about reality. Anyone who thinks that everyone else can just "afford" to pay higher prices is an idiot. How is stealing from the big guy NOT stealing from the little guy when you KNOW the big guy's reaction to theft will be to essentially, pass the theft on to everyone else. People lost homes, jobs, whole lives when gas prices doubled. How is this guy so out of the look as to think it's just OK to foist a burden like this onto others?

So, he's saying: steal more, so everyone gets charged more, so fewer people can buy things, so more people are poor, so there's more stealing. No matter how you read this guy or what he says, he is advocating nothing short of stealing your neighbor's wallet.

Web Rider
12-23-2009, 10:11 PM
I didn't claim he was poor.

So the only thing I was wrong about was him being fat? That was sarcasm anyway. You claim people don't pay tithes, but unless you can find me this guy's day job and not just some snap-shot of him in wal-mart, SOMEBODY is paying him.

Darth InSidious
12-23-2009, 10:22 PM
So the only thing I was wrong about was him being fat? That was sarcasm anyway. You claim people don't pay tithes, but unless you can find me this guy's day job and not just some snap-shot of him in wal-mart, SOMEBODY is paying him.
:rolleyes:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Church_of_England#Financial_situation

The Church of England, although an established church, does not receive any direct government support. Donations comprise its largest source of income, though it also relies heavily on the income from its various historic endowments. As of 2005, the Church of England had estimated total outgoings of around £900 million.

The laziness of your post, physical and intellectual, beggars belief.

Web Rider
12-23-2009, 10:35 PM
:rolleyes:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Church_of_England#Financial_situation



The laziness of your post, physical and intellectual, beggars belief.

You do know what a tithe is right? It's not government support. It's people who attend the church giving part of their income to it. It's not required but most people still donate their money anyway.

Tommycat
12-23-2009, 11:08 PM
Funny. Somehow it's ok to steal, but only from major corporations... Those major corporations have to raise their prices to make up for the shrinkage. More people have to steal to survive. The corporation closes the doors to the shop in that neighborhood because shrinkage is too high. More people are out of work. Stealing from a major corp doesn't have the effect of hurting profits. Corporations pass on ALL losses to the consumers.

I understand what he is thinking. Kinda the whole Robin Hood mentality. But justifying theft with hunger, why not steal from that guy down the street with the brand new car. Obviously he can afford it. He should be helping you buy food anyway.

And do you know how much Walmart and the like pay in charities? Sure they may do it for tax purposes, but they do pay quite a bit. Many have done a lot to offset the EVIL images they have. Sure it may just be for good PR, but it's still charity. Heck Wally World offered up $20M to help with Hurricaine Katrina. They pay into charities left and right.

Darth Avlectus
12-24-2009, 01:27 AM
It's the same with false beggars, Augustine (and Gregory, I think) says to give alms to all that ask and appear needy, because if the beggar is false then the sin of theft lies on his head, whilst the virtue of charity is left with the donor, regardless of where it goes.


Agreed albeit a few caveats:
1)Unless to ignore a recipient is to cause, or enable to cause, a greater tragedy/harm than simply giving to a false beggar.
Example: Where scarcity is involved as can often be the case, unfortunately, this means that if you blindly do the noble thing you are giving to the greedy at the expense of others who may actually need it and may not get it.

2) Unless the false beggar will continue to be able to act unobstructed and without consequence because there is no effective practical way to correct this individual's behavior. In this case, the charitable provider entity should take an interest in those he serves--much as the farmer tends to his herds and crops. Unassumingly of course, but figure the more someone needs from him, perhaps the greater effort on the part of that needy one, and in exchange assist the provider. This is meant of course, to teach and re-teach responsibility to the receiver. In giving you strengthen yopurself as you strengthen them; I figure teaching them about it is just the next step, this help required of them is essentially teaching. It is a test of how genuine their needs and character truly are.

Though in reality, call it what you will, the ill-meaning person is more often than not "dealt with" in some way: by law, by church/provider/etc. proactivity, by fellow people (thy neighbor). Some call it the currents of life and spiritual karma, I call it "you brought it upon yourself" as I believe there is more to it than just spiritual or in essence just simpler. (Poke the dog, it bites you.)
Mind you I an NOT discounting the spiritual by ANY stretch just more explaining how reality likely happens in these cases.

3) Where a more proactive approach will perhaps discourage and deter willfully greedy behavior. Consider: this was written during a time when goods for trade were a great deal more commonplace than was currency (such as we have today). One thing my late grandfather used to do (never met him, died long before I was ever born) was when he would find someone down on luck he would buy them a meal and talk with them about their woes. Figure these people are not only poor but perhaps lonely as well. Most would only give money and not care beyond that--nothing necessarily wrong there but as the saying goes "time is the most valuable commodity we have", why not give them a meal and some of your time if you could afford it?


If the Priest is advocating stealing from my neighbor to feed my family, since he condones this behavior, then would it be considered evil to steal from the very church advocating this? Again, the church is supported by my neighbors, as the corporation is invested in by my neighbors, what is the difference on how I steal my neighbors’ money?
In short, you might get the crap beat out of you going directly w/ your neighbors. As I understand it people without guns are quite ferocious in their own rite when defending their home from unwelcome intrusion.

As far as the church, well, you can sort it all out if you are caught.

Is the Priest saying that I should only steal from privately held corporations and/or foreign corporation, but not from domestic publically held corporations? Also how do I know which corporations are evil? Is there some type of manual? I mean if enough people steal from the “evil” corporation, no matter how large, then the corporation will close that operation in that area and move elsewhere. Wouldn’t that remove jobs from my neighborhood forcing more people to steal and increasing my competition for thievery?
Great point. The deed/means itself is not really justified, only the end. Furthermore I have held it for a long time that theft, regardless of intent, creates hostility which is to a community as is poison to a well or one's own body.

What do you think of this suggestion?: In the least, as a measure of damage control try to restore what you took if you ever possibly can and make all IOU's genuine because you are living on borrowed time; borrowed as in stolen which you normally wouldn't do if your intent is genuine and good, therefore you have no time for yourself in this case only time for making your hard fall as graceful as possible.

So they should break the law so that they don't have to break the law? We have a lot of drug dealing in my home town, it's a very profitable business, and most of the money comes from that harmless plant people won't shut up about. But the fact is, we're still a poor town, we're made up of mostly factory workers, retail, and this+that. Yet, we have a massive homeless problem, partially because everyone is almost dirt poor to begin with, and also because other cities ship their poor our direction.

What does this cause? It causes social unrest because of the disturbance many homeless make, it causes stress on social services because we don't have the tax money or manpower to help them all. And now we've got an argument that these people should steal to survive? As I understand it, theft in cases where it is dire and you need it to survive is understandable but not necessarily any less of a crime. Sure on a moral level it may not be corrupting if your stolen-need goods for your survival is legit, but that is little consolation when you still end up in jail so on that much I do see where you're going with this.

Yes it's sad, but stealing from big companies or foreign companies is hard. There's no poor person who's going to be able to steal from Exxon or figure out who's a stock-holder of BP and then rip them off. When a poor person hears this they're not going to hear "fight the power" which is essentially what he's saying, they're going to hear "it's ok to steal."
QFT: Very pragmatic and realistic. This is how it often turns out.


This is about helpless people starving and the fact none of you are going to go out and help any.

When you, I mean you man those soup kitchens and put blankets on vagrants, talk about it then.
I have done charity outreach work and delivered food to poor and elderly in case you're wondering. In fact a good bit of my caveats to Pavlos' post were influenced by this and seeing life out in a field hut with poor transient people on an apple farm. The philosophy: A hand up, not a handout. These people were allowed to take as much with them to eat as they could carry on top of their paid work (not very much pay) since their times are hard and uncertain. But if they are going to benefit from it, they need to take a role helping out in it as well. Most congregations I have known are like this so whose to say the opinions here aren't perhaps motivated by a similar philosophy?

See this is where many religious fundamentalists earned the right to comment about it individually, it doesn't matter how right or wrong they are in what they say. They're out there doing things physically to help so can talk away much as they like.

And last I checked people are free to comment about his words. True, if he's being a blowhard, let him--and so it is with the others. Let people poke holes in his flawed testimony.
Some arrogant schoolkid comes up to me on the street and tells me what he thinks policy ought to be about the helpless and homeless and he's two seconds from a punch in the face, that simple.
The ones speaking out against this here are not clueless kids, rather people who appear to have examined the other aspects of this issue. Now come on, is this really any mood to be in for the holidays?

While I myself am an advocate of speaking through action where words fail, there may be other more effective ways--you admonished me on this once IIRC. My experience: Usually opinionated dolts want to be heard and to know what you think. If I could not safely dialogue with them, I'd simply deny them the time of day. THEN if they persisted let them know I meant business as a last resort.

I think this somewhat harsh and inaccurate, I've worked with the homeless and some of my fellow workers had a very similar opinions to people in this thread. I don't think we can say what individuals here do with regard helping the disadvantaged; so I think it unwise to judge them so. I certainly know that mimartin is a very honourable fellow who does his bit to help those in need, so I think that a very unfair charge on him for example.
Quoted for its reasoning.

I'd say anyone here who has no work or who is largely not beholden for most the day tomorrow (will be today by the time I post this) ought to consider helping spread the joy for Christmas eve. Whatever way you are able to.

I'm glad the priest's colleagues denounced saying 'it's OK to steal, as long as it's from a big corporation'. That's just silly. First, it's immoral. Secondly, it puts the church at risk for legal action "Hey, my priest told me it's OK to steal from Wally-world! Sue him instead of locking me up for the theft he advocated!" Third, regardless of the excesses of these major corporations, two wrongs don't make a right. Pretty much sums up the opposittion to the priest's sentiment.

What should the priest have done instead? How about setting up a food bank, if there are none in the UK? Perhaps the parish could adopt some families in dire need of going hungry and stock their pantries? Could he not find someone to help the families in crisis cut through the bureaucratic nonsense that's holding up their food aid?

There are so many (OTHER) ways he could have encouraged the congregation to get involved and to help people in crisis constructively. Instead, he just washed his hands of the whole problem and said "Oh, well, if they have a problem getting food, I'll just tell them it's OK to steal, then I don't have to work on raising money and food donations. Not my problem anymore". THAT'S the part I find utterly despicable about his comments.
As well you should. I too have a hard time imagining things are at a point so desperate as that where he is. *shrugs* But what do I know? I'm just a dumb arrogant selfish obnoxious loudmouthed American. :D

El Sitherino
01-01-2010, 12:58 AM
If we're gonna get Biblical, Jesus always took the spirit of the law, and I'm pretty sure he would ask this;

"What's the greater crime; a family starving to death or stealing (food to let them live)?"

I know that's somewhat dramatic, but the Priest was only talking about taking food to survive, and if it comes to that, I have to say I think stealing is what should happen - is human life really so cheap that stealing a packet of rice warrants a death sentence?


A somewhat notable research result I heard recently from some freegan documentary is that 40 something percent of produce from large markets are discarded while still edible each day and in certain circumstances removing this discarded produce from a bin is considered theft despite it being in a trash bin to be thrown away and consumed by rats and bugs at a dump.

I suppose as long as one thinks about this advice within a certain frame of context and with a bit of intelligence there's nothing terribly immoral about what he's saying.

That said I never stole anything while I was homeless unless you count internet and electricity, but I say they shouldn't leave their wireless open and outlets available to the general public if they didn't want it to happen.

urluckyday
01-01-2010, 02:07 AM
Although the notion is fairly hypocritical to an extent, I do feel that it is "OK" for one that is in extreme poverty to steal from another (Usually the "another" relating to a corporate entity), with restrictions, however. If one is in dire poverty - and I do mean dire - the bare necessities would be the most valuable possessions; food and shelter are imperative to survival, so those goods would be highly sought after. If we put it in that context, then I do believe that shoplifting and other thievery is justified. Exemptions would be anything that isn't pertinent to one's survival, i.e. stealing an Xbox. >_>

Well, that's settled...

Would have to agree on all levels with PastramiX.

Love the avatar btw...