On air: Is it ever OK to shoplift?

This is a British story that has suddenly gone global in the past 48 hours. Rev Tim Jones is a parish priest in the north of England and he believes that society’s attitude to those in need “leaves some people little option but crime”. But if you are going to shoplift go for the big shops and not the little ones. That’s his advice not mine. Are there circumstances where the poorest in your society can justify stealing food and clothes?

216 Responses to “On air: Is it ever OK to shoplift?”

  1. December 22, 2009 at 11:07

    Quite interesting story.!

    • 2 J. Malala
      December 22, 2009 at 22:16

      The foundation of human society should be based on righteousness. And stilling undermines that foundation. Stilling is greed. And human greed is the rout cause of poverty.

      Jesus Christ said: “The person faithful in what is least is faithful also in much, and the person unrighteous in what is least is unrighteous also in much.” Luke 16:10

      An other example is this one: The commandment that our first parents broke was not something big. It was something as small as not to eat a fruit from a certain tree.
      By disobeying to that small commandment, see in what mess we find ourselves today.
      So all stilling is wrong regardless whether it is big or small.

  2. December 22, 2009 at 12:16

    ..i heard this ‘Father’ guy on bbc radio being questioned by a reporter. he was so contradicting himself i kept mumbling expletives to myself. though i appreciate the point he was trying to put across, stealing has no gray areas- it’s wrong in whatever context but i thank him for one. i had no story for our blog today; guess what, i just got a scoop 😉 thanks Tim

  3. 4 Ibrahim in UK
    December 22, 2009 at 12:22

    I was pretty sure “Thou shalt not steal” was one of the commandments. I don’t remember any caveats or footnotes “except from Tesco and Asda”.
    It’s one thing pointing out that the very real consequences of abandoning the needy is more crime, but it’s another to justify and encourage crime… much as we love the story of Robin Hood.

    • 5 zizi from holland
      December 22, 2009 at 17:15

      As a catholic I wonder what the priest ‘s repy would be when I went to the confessional and said that I had stolen when actually if I needed food or clothes I could go to one of the many outlets that give these things for free for those who are in real need. This British priest must have had a “blackout” when he made his comments.

  4. December 22, 2009 at 12:34

    A bizarre idea which will only encourage lawlessness. Shoplifting goes against the grain of honest living and living within one’s means. Shoplifting whether on big stores or small shops is not the point. Shop-lifting is socially and morally wrong. The priest should instead advise his congregation that an honest work-ethic pays rich dividends. Motivating the needy to gainful employment should be the emphasis when practical advice is given.

  5. 7 By George
    December 22, 2009 at 13:53

    I usually think the same.You can steal if you really have to or must as long as it is non-violent and from those who have more than enough

    • 8 Nia
      December 22, 2009 at 16:19

      Here, here. I have also thought this too for a long time. I feel the larger supermarkets have always stolen from the public as well as smaller businesses. I for one don’t care about paying extra if things get to the people who genuinely need it.

      • 9 james Ian
        December 28, 2009 at 11:29

        Where do you guys live? I’ll be by your house while you are gone and put your ideas to the test. Could you please leave your doors unlocked.

  6. 10 patti in cape coral
    December 22, 2009 at 13:56

    Although stealing can be understood and empathized with under extreme conditions, such as starvation, getting your children taken care of, etc., the conditions don’t really take the wrongness from it, just mitigate it a little. I appreciate what the good father is trying to say, but I don’t think he thought it through.

  7. 11 Koba Tirkia
    December 22, 2009 at 14:13

    Personally I would never do it. But I guess I never needed to, because I can buy if i want something. on the other hand, there are a lot of poor people who just can’t afford buying even the basic things. I believe in few cases shoplifting mega stores could be justified. They have huge revenues anyway.

    Tbilisi, Georgia

  8. 12 Mary
    December 22, 2009 at 14:22

    what ever name you call it. be it theft, stealing, robbery,shoplifting etc…its all wrong!!! You can not sugar coat that.

    Mary. Kenya

  9. 13 scmehta
    December 22, 2009 at 14:31

    Yes, there are circumstances, when some very poor people, devoid of the basic essentials/needs (food, clothing and shelter), are compelled to commit petty thefts/crimes; most of the times they do it for their families, whom they cannot see suffering or dying at the hands of abject poverty. God knows they are justified in hopeless situations, but to the extent of selfless and compassionate need.

  10. 14 Maria
    December 22, 2009 at 14:35

    Oh let us grow up, of course it is justified if someone in starving or needs to take care of their children. In places where poverty and unemployment are soaring survival instincts need and should take over. How easy it is for us to sit in front of our laptops and pontificate.

    • 15 Ally
      December 22, 2009 at 18:07

      Hear Hear!
      Yes, Maria I agree – survival instinct, and I would include feelings of being powerless and oppressed. Theft is a way of literally taking back some power when you feel powerless. I also agree that it is very easy to sit at our computers and pontificate! I’m not saying it is right – but many people believe it is their only option BECAUSE they have no social safety net or the programs that exist are poorly funded, difficult to access or dysfunctional due to excess bureaucracy!

  11. 16 Haji Bangura
    December 22, 2009 at 14:37

    Hi Ros,
    Shoplifting is a criminal offence full stop. Having a job will help you have food and clothing.Mr Priest please dont start!

  12. December 22, 2009 at 14:39

    I agree in general that stealing is wrong and I have no patience with it here in the US. That does NOT, however, take all things into account. Take the Romani, for example, who to this day suffer extreme discrimination is EUROPE of all places and often have no choice. Many countries, like Hungary, limit the schools that they will allow our children to attend, and often send those doing well into horrible less than day care situations. Many European companies both large and small refuse to hire someone that they know to be Romani. When I was a small boy at the local grocer with my grandmother, I stole a pack of gum. When we got home and she found out, she was furious, dragged my back to the store by my ear and forced me to apologize for the theft. She explained that while she may have needed to steal from time to time to feed her family, there was NEVER a reason to steal in America because there is always help available.

  13. 18 piscator
    December 22, 2009 at 14:40

    One of the problems of the selfish society is that everyone is involved in stealing something off somebody.

    Examples that I find particularly criminal are companies quoting prices that they actually expect to reduce if you are not gullible enough to accept the first offer – for example, i always get at least 30% off my breakdown cover by merely asking for it.. Another example is insurance renewal at a dearer rate. Inflated supermarket prices, which the wise can avoid by using coupons etc. Plus, I have heard top politicians state that lying to officials for schooling and jobs is not immoral. I will leave aside the more controversial and political examples of theft on a grand scale.

    However, I cannot condone theft, such as shop lifting, in a country with a proper welfare state. To do so is to legitimise all of the higher level crime that we are plagued with. For example:- would it be right to condone unsafe toys or poisoned food excused by poor trading conditions. Or, safety cuts excused by excessive costs.

    Crime is crime, and when you are caught the courts have some discretion in how desperate you are. mercy should be left to them.

  14. 19 Kate M.
    December 22, 2009 at 14:50

    I think it depends on the situation. There is a difference when shoplifting food to feed family or yourself and taking a DVD because you want one.

  15. 20 James
    December 22, 2009 at 14:52

    Is the clergyman quoted suggesting that large stores should open their doors to the poor and allow them to take whatever is on the shelves without paying because they are poor? Now that is too simplistic! Isn’t?

    Many shoplifters are driven by motives other than poverty. In Japan the police arrested two of their fellow officers for shoplifting. In the United States, a board member of a nonprofit food cooperative was caught stealing from the cooperative’s store. Teenagers with money in their pockets frequently steal things they don’t need. Shoplifting is not driven by poverty; it is more psychotic than an instinctive desire to sooth the pangs of hunger.

  16. 21 Roberto
    December 22, 2009 at 14:54

    RE “” go for the big shops and not the little ones. That’s his advice not mine. “”

    ————- Turnabout has always been considered fairplay in the history of conflicts.

    As mankind abandons principles laid out by the Ten Commandments and enter into capitalistic survival of the fittest state & incorporated sanctioned “shootouts” where there is only one victor, any survivors have the rights to whatever means available to subsist.

    As to the argument that stealing goes against the law, such piffle. Larceny has been made legal by modern politicians and corporations just as sure as slavery used to be legal.

    I would personally advise against exercising such rights since there are charities set up to mitigate hunger and the state finds it more convenient to prosecute little lawbreakers rather than the big INCs, but even Darwin expected a cornered, desperate animal to fight back the best he can.

  17. 22 Eileen in Virginia
    December 22, 2009 at 14:54

    Years ago I learned that if shoplifting is not happening in a big store, they rearrange the goods to be more inviting. They also include a margin of loss in the pricing to cover shoplifting. These marketing considerations seemed cynical in my estimation, but I still considered shoplifting unacceptable.

    I despise people who steal for greed. However, I am fortunate that I never had the need to shoplift; but if I had hungry children and no resources, I would steal food for them. Unless we have been in extremis on that level, we’re not qualified to judge.

  18. 23 david sant
    December 22, 2009 at 14:59

    in 1956 i was married ,we lived in one room,my wife was expecting our first child.I had just completed my apprentiship as an electrician.althoough i searched high and low icould not get employment.National Assistance was £4 Per week,rent was £2.17s per week .the na people treated us like dirt.they told me the rent was far too high i went to a rent tribunual and got it reduced by £1 to£1.17s.The landlord evicted us.
    we moved 7 miles from town to a farm cottage the agreemt was part rent and working for 5 hours every day on the farm.I got a job in town on a new factory as an electrician and for the first 6 months walked to work and back 14miles a day.
    No radio,television,no cooker (we used an open fire) a table 4 chairs and a bed
    with the farm i worked 12 hours a day 6 days a week.
    My father was a methodist preacher ,he died when i was 12.I was taught never to steal whatever the hardship.I suggest father tim jones study the real 5 billion poor ,take a lesson get a life,and re ex amine the direction of his faith.

  19. 24 Tamatoa, Zurich
    December 22, 2009 at 15:05

    It seems clear that stealing is a non-negotiable value in all societies. Killing is also a basic rule of society. But it can be justified if done in life-threatening situations.
    Is there ever a situation where survival is directly linked to theft? I have never lived a day without a meal nor have I ever lived on the street. So I have little experience and cannot make a comment on that.
    The father points to a problem in society. The resources and chances of succeeding in society aren’t equal for everyone. The rich get richer and the poor get poorer. The poor get pushed to the periphery of society and are neglected and ignored. This isn’t humane and morally not acceptable.
    A democratic society has the means to right this flaw by voting and taking initiative. If this fails then the only other way to change the status quo in a society is breaking the law and there-by admitting to the failure of the society. History proves this again and again.
    In the father’s case it isn’t justifiable. The democratic means aren’t exhausted yet. But just how much can a person suffer before he breaks? Every person knows himself best. I believe only God can judge the individual circumstances correctly. This is a practical dilemma that everyone has to work out on his own.

  20. 25 Mike in Seattle
    December 22, 2009 at 15:08

    After thinking about it for a bit, I feel that Father Tim Jones is absolutely right. We tend to focus on the individual stealing from the individual store, but the issue is much larger than that.

    I live in the richest nation in the world, yet we have those without homes. We have the most productive fields on earth, yet we have those who go hungry. In some grand sense, if we cannot take care of our fellow citizens, what other choice are we leaving them?

  21. 26 Mohammed Ali
    December 22, 2009 at 15:13

    Once you are not caught shoplifting, it is good. It becomes a bad thing when you are caught. SIMPLE

  22. December 22, 2009 at 15:13

    I don’t have a point to make, but a couple of relevant (I think) questions…

    How do the commenters above (and those yet to comment) feel about stealing from thieves (stealing items already stolen, or stealing the profit resulting from theft)?

    Also, could there ever be a difference between legal theft and moral theft? For example, if in law it were legal to buy labour worth $100 from a man for just half-a-dollar because that man is for whatever reason dis-empowered and unable to demand better compensation, then would that to your mind be considered theft, on moral if not legal principle? So would a con-artist or other exploitative entrepreneur, be a thief to your mind, regardless of the law?

  23. 28 Jennifer
    December 22, 2009 at 15:23

    As someone else said; no gray area for shoplifting. It’s wrong.

    • December 22, 2009 at 15:47

      When my grandmother was growing up, her family was not allowed education, not allowed work, not “part of society”, had ZERO ability to help herself other than growing meager vegetables and raising a few chickens, and on occasion had to steal to survive. Little has changed for our people, so what would you so?

  24. December 22, 2009 at 15:23

    Forget the bible and the ten commandments, not one commandment has not been broken by somebody or other or any of us. If you are starving or members of your family are starving and there is no help available then any human being is going to look for food and if this means stealing from those who have plenty ie supermarkets then this is what you are going to do and this is what the priest is saying. Nobody says this is legal or should be but, it is natural and understandable. The question that is being put is why in this supposed 4th richest country in the western hemisphere are there people starving when we are sending millions of pounds abroad for the same reason. And just how charitable are some of our so called charities. Are the starving in this country immigrants? or are they in fact of British birth?. Instead of ridiculing Father Jones look at what he is exactly saying and the pupose behind it and stop throwing stones at glass houses or trying to make a headline out of it for the media. The Sun calls itself the ‘voice of the people’ if you are actually, look into the reason behind this quote instead of cheap headlines, the same goes for all other newspapers and media outlets.

  25. 31 maccusgermanis
    December 22, 2009 at 15:32

    It is seldom amazing how generous one can be with another’s property. I’m sure that I myself could alleviate many of the deprivations of the poor, just after I sold a certian parish in York.

  26. 32 Denise in Chicago
    December 22, 2009 at 15:40

    Tim Jones neglects to consider the consequences should a shoplifter be caught and prosecuted – arrest, prosecution, jail. What an irresponsible and outrageous suggestion!

    • 33 Mike in Seattle
      December 22, 2009 at 18:20

      The consequence for not shoplifting is starvation.

      • 34 Denise in Chicago
        December 22, 2009 at 18:43

        Get serious. If people are hungry there are numerous charities that will provide meals. Typically it is not food that is stolen but rather, pricier items.

      • 35 patti in cape coral
        December 22, 2009 at 18:51

        I was thinking the same thing, Mike, at least he/she would get some food and shelter in jail.

  27. December 22, 2009 at 15:51

    In my believe there is no justification for stealing, Stealing is just a habit that when used to someone he/she cannot divorce from it. Been poor cannot be a genuine excuse for stealing. There are so many donor agencies that are providing help for the poorest people through NGOs an other means. If you are poor like myself here, you can go to the Internet Cafe and search for Donor Organizations’ website and ask for, who knows you might be the lucky one to attract philantropists for support your human needs, instead of you painting your image black by stealing. Anyone who steals gains no respect the community/society where he/she lives. Thats my observation.

    Mohammed Kondawa

    Monrovia Liberia

  28. 37 Shannon in Ohio
    December 22, 2009 at 15:59

    Father Jones may be a little extreme in his proposal, but he underscores the double bind poor people in very rich societies often face. If they accept some form of public assistance they are reviled, but their alternative is homelessness and/or starvation, since the same people who despise them have little interest in programs designed to eradicate poverty through increased funding for education/ job training etc. What is left but the proverbial five finger discount?

  29. 38 Ingle
    December 22, 2009 at 16:01

    Stealing is wrong and in Europe certainly can be avoided. The social services, Salvation army and other organisations provide a network through which nobody needs to fall. Has this so-called Christian ever heard about those poorly paid staff in the shops, who loose their jobs – not because they have done something wrong – but purely because the stocktaking results are bad. For such poor results, it is usually shoplifters who are to blame!

  30. 39 s
    December 22, 2009 at 16:02

    Instead of shoplifting, assume away insurance liability issues, but could the person approach management and say, “look, I’m hungry, can I mop the floors in exchange for this food so I don’t steal it”?

    • 40 patti in cape coral
      December 22, 2009 at 18:33

      I like that idea Steve, except they already have someone to mop the floors. I wonder, can we get a spokesperson from a major store to tell us what they would do with someone that approached them and asked to work for food? I suspect that if they would let them do this, there wouldn’t be so many guys holding up signs on the corners saying “Will work for food.”

  31. 41 Gary Paudler
    December 22, 2009 at 16:07

    Of course shoplifting is wrong and there is probably no way to administer occasional forbearance. Of course, it is also wrong that we have such inequality in our society and it will be difficult to create equitable distribution of basic necessities. Of course, when an insurance company, bank or pharmaceutical manufacturer take something from a customer, always more than one could shoplift, that’s just called good business.
    It’s wrong to shoplift. It’s wrong to accept years of premiums and then withhold life-saving treatment it’s wrong to charge usurious interest rates and call it a fee and it’s wrong to sell a drug that is known to cause illness, only one of those will land you in jail.

  32. 42 Ronald Almeida
    December 22, 2009 at 16:08

    ‘Thou shalt not steal’? Before a society or religion makes such laws it should know its implications. Will that society prevent the need for it? In the end it depends on the individual. Whether he prefers to steal or beg. I for one do not see a difference.

  33. 43 Nelson Isibor
    December 22, 2009 at 16:12

    Stealing, shoplifting or what ever fancy name we may give to it is simply unacceptable under any circumstance(s), plain and simple!

  34. 44 audre
    December 22, 2009 at 16:18

    First we have to define stealing. Is paying minimum wage for an honest year’s work stealing? Is taking millions of dollars for a year’s work stealing?

    Are we stealing from the one? Is the other stealing from us?

    The issue is not as simple as it seems. Tim Jones has brought the matter out for discussion and that’s good.

  35. 46 duckpocket
    December 22, 2009 at 16:19

    I don’t think Tim Jones was really aiming his remarks at potential shoplifters, but rather at the lack of charity and empathy for the poor, of highly profitable enterprises. It is not hard to think of whom he might have in mind.

    Although provisions do exist for distributing beyond date of sale food, for example, they could probably be greatly expanded.

    It might also be salutary to think of the amount of perfectly good food that gets thrown away every day by you and me.

  36. 47 Gabriel oyedemi
    December 22, 2009 at 16:21

    This sounds like some robin hood sort of ideology,”steal from the rich “. Whether it is understandable in some situations is not justified and proper. Besides it will definitely be abused by some people.

  37. 48 s
    December 22, 2009 at 16:25

    @ Audre

    Minimum wage people are not forced to take the job. How could be getting paid a million dollars be considered stealing as well? If it’s not your money, how are you to say what other people can get paid?

    Stealing is taking something that doesn’t belong to you, that deprives another of of that thing permanently.

    There are laws, concerning larceny, and it doesn’t encompass employment compensation.

    • 49 Mike in Seattle
      December 22, 2009 at 18:28

      They are forced to take the job in this economy, how can you ignore that simple fact?

      Furthermore, how can you ignore the fact that household wages have remained stagnant while productivity has steadily increased? Haven’t you ever looked at the Census data before?

  38. 50 patti in cape coral
    December 22, 2009 at 16:31

    Stealing is wrong. I would not hesitate to do it if it were necessary to feed my family, however. So maybe the answer to the question is, No, it is not ever OK to shoplift, but a lot of us would do it if necessary. I think it should be a last resort. I remember my mother saying she would prostitute herself before she would become a thief. We have been fortunate and have not had to resort to either.

  39. 51 t
    December 22, 2009 at 16:33

    I’ve been homeless twice overseas (due to a long-term health problem). Every day I thought, where am I sleeping tonight? Where will I get my next meal? Will I be out on the street tomorrow night?

    In desperate situations, i’ve seen people who one minute say they’re your “friend.” And then they viciously turn on you.

    The point is this. People can analyze this all they want and say stealing is wrong. Yet, I know first hand that when they’re desperate, people will do and say anything they have to to survive. So yes, Father Jones is right.

  40. 52 Andrew in Australia
    December 22, 2009 at 16:37

    Where does it stop? What message does this send out, that if you can justify yourself, then to break the laws of your state are OK? The laws that virtually all others can follow, even those in similar situations.

    Why should certain people be considered above the law in that case? If there are circumstances of difficulty, then there are always options open to solve them without resorting to breaking the law. I don’t believe that the church this individual represents could condone such comments. They absolve themselves of their responsibilities to those same poor individuals. Tell them to break the law, risk worsening their situation, criminal prosecution, incarceration, instead of helping them, clothing or feeding those people, they tell to commit criminal acts.

  41. 53 t
    December 22, 2009 at 16:38

    It seems very ironic that we’re having a debate about shoplifitng. Yet, what about all the bankers that preyed on new homebuyers, stole (and continue to steal money) from us the taxpayers? There’s no accountability there. The people who caused it are all still in their highly-paid jobs. And you know what? They NEVER will be prosecuted.

    If any of these people lost everything, I gurantee that they would do anything they had to to survive. Including shoplifitng from _______.

  42. 54 audre
    December 22, 2009 at 16:40


    If minimum wage earners don’t take the job what do they do?

    Why do you think it is alright for corporate executives to rob the bank metaphorically speaking? Why do you think one human is worth multi millions for a year’s work and another ten thousand dollars?

    But forget the minimum wage earners. What about the people who make sure we have safe food, water and shelter? They are very poorly paid in terms of their value to society.

    Isn’t it time to reevaluate the things we take for granted that have arisen out of our religious traditions?

    • December 28, 2009 at 15:33

      All too often religious “law” is said to be given by “god” when in fact these “laws” and “commandments have been contrived by elements in the ruling/owning/elites who would continue allowing for the imbalance between the privileged few who skim the cream while making it a crime for the poor to take the crumbs.

  43. 56 s
    December 22, 2009 at 16:41


    The “bankers” didn’t force anyone to buy home sthey couldn’t afford against their will. People got greedy, and greedy bankers decided to give them an opprotunity to spend more than they had. People had no self control. It’s very different than stealing something that doesn’t belong to you. You are right, they will never be prosecuted because they broke no laws, and we have prohibitions against ex post facto laws, fortunately as well.

    • 57 Mike in Seattle
      December 22, 2009 at 18:32

      They promised people that they could refinance later, they offered only subprime loans to minorities that would otherwise qualify for prime loans, and many were involved with home appraisers who were paid to artificially increase the value of the home.

      Furthermore, most people could afford their homes until they lost their jobs due to the irresponsible behavior of bankers freezing the credit markets.

      Finally, you don’t address the point that costs of living have skyrocketted in the past few decades while the % of household income spent on luxuries has dropped. The vast majority of bankruptcies aren’t due to buying extravagant vacations, they’re due to catastrophic medical costs.

  44. 58 John in Salem
    December 22, 2009 at 16:42

    I’m not saying I couldn’t rationalize stealing if I were starving but I would never feel it was justified, even if I could go back later and pay for what I had taken. We may forgive someone for a crime, but keeping those concepts defined and separated are what makes it possible for laws to be humane. When you lose that the whole idea of a social justice system falls apart and we’re back in the jungle.

    I have two questions for Father Jones:
    Why should I give to the poor if it’s okay for them to just steal what they need?
    Should we teach our children that stealing is okay if they need something really, really bad?

  45. 59 isa
    December 22, 2009 at 16:42

    stealing is bad and should not be encouraged. if you are poor go to those who have and beg. it is better than stealing. Some people steal not beacause they are poor but because they are too wanting.

  46. 60 Gabriel oyedemi nigeria
    December 22, 2009 at 16:43

    Sounds like some robin hood sort of ideology “steal only from the rich”. Stealing in any form should not be condoned. Besides i hope to be rich some day.

    December 22, 2009 at 16:50

    This clearly a bad advise though there are reservations about it. The powers that be everywhere need to ask themselves why the largest and an ever increasing segment of all societies now can not make ends meet. As if that is not enough, there are employed people who cannot make it in life and we know they too work very hard in their situation.
    Its like getting employed in hotel where meals are not included in the package. Worse still, your entire salary cannot buy one single meal in the same hotel work. We have long been fooled that people living in capitalists and democracies are living in heaven because these sort of societies are considerate. Go tell it the birds and remind them that it is inflation and nothing else.
    These kind of advises only point to a world wanting in arbitration. Its a shame.

  48. 62 Tom K in Mpls
    December 22, 2009 at 16:58

    It is theft. Theft is a crime. Very simple. If the priest wants to help people, he should make it very clear that it is against the teachings of the church and legally wrong. Then he can try to help them buy choice, instead of making them force ‘help’ from others. When I catch a thief, I have no pity. I don’t do it so there is no hypocrisy there.

  49. 65 amy in cleveland
    December 22, 2009 at 17:03

    Up to now in my life I would have said, no gray areas, stealing is wrong… but in recent times I feel it is more of a class warfare issue. The divide between the haves and have nots is monumental. The idea of an honest days work for an honest days pay no longer exists. People are literally fighting (or stealing) for thier lives.

    • 66 Tom K in Mpls
      December 22, 2009 at 18:30

      Many people have chosen to die for a principle or belief. Most would not. This is the same question with less severe short term consequences. The difference is, you are now considering the true cost of high principles.

  50. December 22, 2009 at 17:07

    Never tried it myself but on occasions have been a witness to such goings on. The only reason I have not shop lifted from the larger stores is the embarrassment that It would cause me if I was caught. The larger chains if supermarkets throw out good food because it has reached its use buy date. This perfectly good food but is used to maintain artificially high prices so the company can make more profits. I went to the rear of one of these stores last year and they were dumping chocolate bars in their rubbish containers. When they left I collected about 60 bars of chocolate and 10 packet of cheese that lasted me a month. All still neatly in their packets. I can tell you the tasted really good and saved me about AU$150. While I was eating my ill gotten gains I thought about the unfortunates and those who don’t have the where with all to do what I did. It is still called stealing but what is right in such circumstances? They prefer to dump it than give it to charities.
    Queensland Australia

  51. 68 Julie
    December 22, 2009 at 17:08

    Stealing is unacceptable, but in the case of poverty and stealing to survive, it seems as though the punishment should be to get help finding a higher-paying job, an affordable rent, and a plan to get out of debt, etc. If these big stores want to open their doors and offer help, like a discount shopping program to people they find impoverished and stealing, again, that’s a helpful way to deal with something that is NOT okay. If this priest wants the stores to open their doors and let poor people get away with stealing, that’s not really helpful, is it? If one is stealing just for fun, that’s another issue.

  52. December 22, 2009 at 17:08

    Of course stealing is not to be encourage, Any beaking of laws is to be discouraged as the total breakdown leads to anarchy.

    All that said I suspect Tim was not really condoning theft, more saying that the poorest and most deserate in society that have not had the benefit of good parents educating them regarding laws, social graces and providing for themselves, are tempted to steal. We need to ensure there is a safety net for such people and ensure too they know how to access it. This UK government (97 to 09) have wasted billions on hair brain quango’s, employment of 1 million more civil servants, by taking the regulation of banks from the B of E, this same money or some of it, in £ billions could have at least provided the type of safety net needed for the extreme poor. No good saying our grandfathers / grandmothers were poor but didn’t steal, these are very different days! far from being the agents of the rich, true Conservatives believe in looking after those less able to look after themselves!

    From Prague and Hungerford

  53. 70 Robin C
    December 22, 2009 at 17:15

    If you have to pause to ask yourself if it’s OK to steal, then you don’t really need it.

  54. 72 Anthony
    December 22, 2009 at 17:26

    Social Darwinism. Let them starve.

    -Anthony, LA, CA

    • 73 Tom K in Mpls
      December 22, 2009 at 18:35

      Generally true. But nothing human is all right or wrong, good or bad. Therefore, there will always be a payoff in helping to some degree. But how to know who should get how much?

    • 74 Ibrahim in UK
      December 22, 2009 at 18:42

      Surely we’ve evolved some “humanity” in all this time.

    • 75 rob z.
      December 22, 2009 at 20:36

      Then,under survival of the fittest;if I want your house,then if I can take it from you;it’s ok because I am stronger than you.
      I’m not stealing it,if I’m stronger I should have what I want from you or who ever.
      So it’s ok to take what ever,when ever if you are stronger or more forceful than another.
      So you prefer anarchy?

      • 76 Tom K in Mpls
        December 24, 2009 at 05:53

        You are intentionally forgetting the benefit of the herd mentality applied to humans. We call it law. The many weak stand up to the strong and otherwise destructive, such as shoplifters. Then there is the trait we share with the raven, sharing. When they find food, they let others know before they eat. All useful Darwinian principles we adopt to make the whole stronger. Each is equally valuable.

      • December 28, 2009 at 16:21

        The “Big Bank Bailout” of 2009 isn’t considered “anarchy” Rob.Z. What actually IS “anarchy” that makes it a universal “evil” in this thread? Ben Bernanke just got his mug shot put on the cover of Time magazine as person of the year. He and his banker cronies are clearly “stronger and more forcefful” by anyones standards. And they HAVE taken thousands of peoples’ homes by way of the foreclosure rules and regulations they created. Are they proponents of “anarchy” as you seem to be defining it? I don’t think so.

        To quote the great “Depression” era songwriter, Woody Guthrie, “Some rob you with a six-gun, some with a fountain pen”.

  55. 78 Ronald Almeida
    December 22, 2009 at 17:28

    Nobody in the world gets rich without stealing or cheating in one way or the other. They just happen to be professionals at it. It is only the small fry that are caught and questioned and punished. And it is only those in the same league who discuss its legality and morality. The rich and powerful don’t even bother about such questions they just do it. I think the only thing wrong about stealing is that one falls in one’s own self-esteem since it is underhanded. Robbing in defiance may be a better alternative.

  56. 79 piscator
    December 22, 2009 at 17:30

    It would seem odd if the church did not condone taking goods by deceipt that you haven’t earned, given its past history.

  57. 80 steve/oregon
    December 22, 2009 at 17:35

    Stealing is wrong. I have lived on both sides of this problem being the thief and now a person who can afford most things. Stealing is NEVER justified. The excuse of I had to steal to feed my kids is BS becuase if you couldn’t afford the kids you should have never had them. Kids in america can get free breakfast and lunch everyday.

  58. December 22, 2009 at 17:38

    Shoplifting may be wrong, but occasionally it is necessary. Most people won’t starve themselves or deprive their children for long, especially when they are employed by a huge shopping center and poorly paid. I have known many employees who are forced to shoplift vitamins and meat for their children from their place of work. Funny how it has become ‘OK’ to under-pay workers or cheat them out of any vacation or overtime pay, and yet the question you pose is just another thinly veiled way of saying that stealing is only bad if it’s not done by a corporate “LLC.”

  59. 82 gary
    December 22, 2009 at 17:46

    Ends do not justify means. Stealing is wrong.

    • 83 Betsy in Oregon
      December 23, 2009 at 04:29

      the old testament is harsh and it is interesting how many “christians” cite it rather than the teachings of jesus christ. because jesus christ told us to love our neighbors, that whatever we do “to the least of these” we do unto him. but then, most christians today don’t really seem to care about what jesus christ said. they never refer to him or to the new testament when they are issuing edicts against the poor. they couldn’t because jesus loved the poor and spoke loudly against injustice.

  60. 84 Peter Gizzi UK
    December 22, 2009 at 17:49

    Shoplifting is wrong, it’s a crime. Having said that Bankers get bonuses larger than many lottery wins why? UK Politicians get large “allowances” for often rather trivial items why? Religious Leaders usually live very comfortably why? Then there are those in offices etc. who use stationary, the phone for personal use. That is a crime too. The main problem is the difference between the rich and poor. The gap continues to get larger at the expense of the poor. I can offer no solution as mankind tends to be greedy by nature.

  61. 85 Shinji in Ikeno
    December 22, 2009 at 18:02

    I must say that even justifying theft has its own costs.
    The upshot of Mr.Jones’s suggestion would be the big shops spending more on security guards and footing the bill to the willing-to-pay (or hesitant-to-steal) consumers with a raise in price tags, only to make things even less affordable for those in the REAL poverty but unwilling to steal.
    That also would reinforce the notion among the rich and influential that the poor are no more than thieves between jobs, which would only justify their indifference to the poverty issues — and who would hire a job-seeker with an impoverished background when they label him as a potential thief? Once this kind of social distrust is spawned, it would make a great hindrance to seeking a just and lawful solution fpr the impoverished.

  62. 86 Linda from Italy
    December 22, 2009 at 18:06

    Real thorny one this. Leaving aside 10 Commandments, and any Christians around here should also know about the New Testament update, courtesy of JC “love thy neighbour as thyself”. The Law (with a capital L) is not necessary inviolate if the Law in question is unjust – Nazi Germany anyone?
    Saying it’s better to beg, on the streets or go cap in hand to smug charities, is just plain inhuman as this reduces someone already abused by society to even greater debasement.
    Get a job is all very well if there are jobs to be got.
    I would actually worry about saying shoplifting is OK because of the consequences of for those who would be the most amateur “thieves” when they are caught, but in societies where other forms of law breaking (both moral and institutional) are tolerated and even condoned, spouting about what is right and wrong seems somewhat redundant.

  63. 87 patti in cape coral
    December 22, 2009 at 18:13

    @ Steve in Oregon- “because if you couldn’t afford the kids you should have never had them.”

    This is an oversimplified statement. Sometimes people can afford children at the time they have them, but circumstances change. Spouses get sick, die, leave, lose their jobs, lose their insurance. I’m not saying this justifies stealing, but saying that all people who have a hard time affording their kids acted irresponsibly is BS. I am presuming that when you were a thief you did not have children, because you could not afford them, so there was another rationale for your thieving.

  64. 88 s
    December 22, 2009 at 18:29

    @ audre

    Perhaps in a communist utopia that would be “ideal” but there’s no such thing as a utopia, and communism is far from utopia. There were vast inequities in the soviet union, with severe benefits going to party members….

    Are you suggesting that absolutely EVERYONE should earn the same amount of money regardless of what they do or how much they work? If I were to go to medical school, work my butt off for 4 years, then work as a resident for 4 years, then once I start private practice, I should only get paid as much as a Mcdonalds cashier because it’s unfair that I should get paid more?

    • 89 Linda from Italy
      December 22, 2009 at 18:54

      @ (the mysterious) s

      I don’t think anyone is suggesting the same wage for all, and please don’t call any kind of state attempts at promoting social justices “communism”.
      To take your example of qualifying as a doctor, (don’t know whether it’s actually you – hope not) sure it’s hard work, and leaving aside the issue of you, or probably your parents, having enough money to let you go to university, and even living in a leafy suburb where the schools actually give you a good education, as a junior doctor you were probably earning more than a McD slave, not to mention having watertight job security. Then you qualify and get a good practice, private or otherwise, is your job not an awful lot rewarding than the said McD person?
      I‘ve got my fair share of academic/professional qualification and my main reason for those years of study was to have the chance to do an INTERESTING/ FULFILLING job not necessarily to earn huge sums of money.

    • 90 Betsy in Oregon
      December 23, 2009 at 04:23

      disparity in pay has never had anything to do with effort and hard work. a minimum wage earner working all day washing dishes at the restaurant where others have lunch, and a second job at night cleaning toilets in the hotel where others vacation, is working every bit as hard and just as many hours as anyone. the educated and elite value their own time and particular talents more than the time of others using other aspects of their humanity in their work. so hedge fund bandits are honorable and rich, and those who pick our food and clean our bathrooms are poor. but please don’t try to say one works harder or is more valuable in the eyes of god than the other.

  65. 91 Gabriel oyedemi nigeria
    December 22, 2009 at 18:33

    I agree with you, 100%. It should not be exercised as it could lead to a disorderly society, where to be poor makes it just for one to steal. Greed would surely follow.

  66. 93 viola
    December 22, 2009 at 18:33

    Unless all theft by everyone is punished, which it is not if it is done by smart, powerful, unscrupulous people, it is hypocritical to expect poor people to remain honest even unto death.

    It hearkens back to the days when a person who might steal a loaf of bread would be imprisoned but those who participated in the evils of the slave trade in order to enrich themselves received huge rewards.


  67. 94 Tracy in Portland,OR
    December 22, 2009 at 18:34

    Of course it is wrong. But can anyone say if their loved ones are in need they wouldn’t break society’s rules. And I don’t mean in need of a new X-Box.

    In reply to: steve/oregon
    Circumstances change.

    My grandmother taught me to hunt . A skill that served her well when she lost her husband when my mother was just a child. She put a lot of out of meat on the table that the game warden would not have approved of. She never stole. But my mother never went hungry either. Being an outlaw isn’t always a bad thing.


  68. 95 s
    December 22, 2009 at 18:41

    I haven’t read the article, but what is he referring to? Stealing food if you are hungry, or looting TV sets because there is chaos? I recall about the situations in New Orleans during Katrina, that there were food and water issues, yet people were still stealing TV sets. I didn’t realize you could eat or drink a TV.

  69. 96 Roseann in Houston
    December 22, 2009 at 18:49

    There are always consequences…Let’s say that a lot of people living in the depressed area north of Houston all take the Father’s advice and start routinely shoplifting from the WalMart there. If it gets bad enough, WalMart WILL close the store (they won’t stay where there is no profit). Then all of the employees who depended on their minimum-wage paycheck to pay their rent all lose their jobs, and the people in the depressed area have to travel twice the distance to get to a supermarket.
    Besides, if people limited their shoplifting to dried beans and rice so they wouldn’t “starve”, I MIGHT agree. But (here in the US, at least) we all know that they are more likely to go for things like steaks and candy and cheese. It’s not about “not starving”, it’s about “not having all the good things that my neighbor has”.

  70. December 22, 2009 at 18:53

    We would be heading for anarchy especially when we turn a blind eye to stealing. The rules of society would be turned upside down. Rather it would be far better if we have fair rules. Fair Rules are meant to be respected. The poor should be helped by the government and at the same time be encouraged to work hard. There are no two ways about that. It is the responsibility of government to provide unemployment benefits and training to those unable to find jobs. A leaf should be borrowed from the Singapore government where efficiency is the name of the game and where the government goes all out to train the unemployed to get satisfying meaningful jobs. Crime has been reduced drastically as a result.

  71. 98 stephen/portland
    December 22, 2009 at 18:54

    Don’t be Daft!

    It never ceases to amaze me how out of touch some religious people are with the rules and regulations of their religion.

    I have always known what’s right and wrong and I think that’s why I don’t need Religion in my life, but the people who immerse themselves in it clearly have that part of there brain all wired different and need to be told what to do and think!

    I remember a questionnaire in America and more people when questioned would commit murder than give up there faith.

    Maybe it’s there memory that’s no good and this would explain trying to put up the TEN COMMANDMENTS everywhere to help them remember their rules.

  72. 99 D in Indiana
    December 22, 2009 at 19:02

    If you are starving it IS ok to steal food. period.

  73. 100 Roseann in Houston
    December 22, 2009 at 19:04

    OK, so the good Father says it’s OK to steal from the rich if you are poor. The problem: the terms “rich” and “poor” are relative, and if you leave the definitions to the would-be thief then you have anarchy. The same goes for the definition of “need” – according to the article Father also said “take absolutely no more than you need for no longer than you need” – so if I “need” a good suit so that I can go job hunting then I can steal a suit…but if I get the job I have to stop? Or maybe I will “need” more nice clothes so that I can fit in at the job? Where do you draw the line?

  74. 101 D in Indiana
    December 22, 2009 at 19:06

    I would like to know what those of you who say it is NOT OK to steal would do to someone if you had the authority to punish people for stealing food.

  75. 102 Tom in the U.S.A.
    December 22, 2009 at 19:07

    If survival is at issue, then yes, it is okay to shoplift. For example, if a person steals a package of hot dogs to feed his hungry family, then yes, it is okay. The alternative would be less morally acceptable.

  76. 103 Alan in Arizona
    December 22, 2009 at 19:07

    Absolutely not. What will he say next? Sex with children should be allowed as long as you love them! He needs to get real.

    There are so many sources for help. Especially for families in need. Parents have to realize that there is no shame in asking for help. Not a hard choice for an intelligent person. Set a good example for your kids and ask for help or teach them criminal skills for a left in prison.

  77. 104 Fran from Spain
    December 22, 2009 at 19:11

    Stealing is wrong, it’s the worst lesson that a child could be given..
    people could be encouraged by what this priest has salid and it’s dangerous
    I can’t believe what he said, he should apologise

  78. 105 sandman
    December 22, 2009 at 19:11

    I believe that if Jesus was alive to day and saw how the big box shops and the wealthy treat the poor he would encourage it. It was jesus who destroyed the merchants for taking advantage of the poor at the temple

  79. 106 Nathan Gardner
    December 22, 2009 at 19:15

    Hi Ros,

    I agree with the premise, I save money, I stock up on food, and I stock up on ammunition! Yes ammunition, if it comes down to you or my kid…you lose!

  80. 107 Tenzing Theckpa
    December 22, 2009 at 19:15

    Stealing is so unethical.

  81. 108 Vic in Canada
    December 22, 2009 at 19:16

    So this fellow steals to provide for his family,, if he is caught and incarcerated,, how does this help his family?

  82. 109 s
    December 22, 2009 at 19:19

    Don’t they have food banks in the UK? I have volunteered at food banks here in the US where people with limited means can get food for no cost.

  83. 110 Eva in USA
    December 22, 2009 at 19:19

    There were people who escaped death in Nazi concentration camps by hiding in the woods and stealing food from local farms. There were people imprisoned in Nazi concentration camps who escaped starvation by stealing food from their captors. Tell me, is there anyone in the world today who would condemns these people for stealing?

  84. 111 Mr Brown
    December 22, 2009 at 19:20

    There’s only moral justification in stealing if:

    1. One actually needs the items pinched

    2. One plans on someday making amends
    for the pinched

    Mr Brown,
    KALW 91.7

  85. December 22, 2009 at 19:21

    Nothing wrong with shoplift as long somebody is not stealing the money.

    Like now people are going for the x-mass holiday but not all people will afford what they want for the x-mas celeberation. so shoplift is better then nothing.

    John Mayen Chop Kol

    Leer, Bentiu South Sudan

  86. 113 Anya
    December 22, 2009 at 19:21

    Whether or not shoplifting is morally justified it is a terrible advice to give. If an individual is caught stealing he or she can be criminally prosecuted, and with a criminal record it is much harder to get yourself out of the desperate situation they found themselves in a first place. Especially in the developed world stealing hurts thieves more than helps them, in addition “morally justified stealing” is a slippery slope to doing less morally justified crimes.

  87. 114 Fred In Portland
    December 22, 2009 at 19:22

    If you’re going to cite the old testament’s prohibition against stealing, then to be fair and balanced, also cite the old testament’s requirement to tithe and be charitable.

    Now the question is… If huge retail food stores like Walmart or Sainsbury’s donated 10% of their profits to the needy would there be a need for people to shop lift food and clothing?

  88. 117 bart in SF, CA
    December 22, 2009 at 19:24

    Private property is after all simply a concept we’ve agreed upon to make society work — inasmuch as it does. In my hierarchy of values, human life ranks higher than private property. If you need to steal to survive, then you should. BUT society must agree upon other concepts that make this unnecessary in order to be a society worth the name.

  89. 118 oscar carballo
    December 22, 2009 at 19:25

    To justify. They say it’s wrong to justify a robbery with poverty. ” If you justify a crime, then any other crime will be justifiable”. Then, war should not be justified, because then any other war would be justifiable. That’s what Mr. Obama did in his Nobel Prize ceremony.

  90. 119 Tom D Ford
    December 22, 2009 at 19:26

    “Rev Tim Jones is a parish priest in the north of England and he believes that society’s attitude to those in need “leaves some people little option but crime”.”

    Finally a Priest I can respect. Such men are too rare.

    • 120 Yasha Sturgill
      December 22, 2009 at 19:51

      Hear, hear! Why aren’t any of these “christians” ranting about the lack of compassion and care for those less fortunate than themselves? Isn’t that what the book they use as the basis for their “superiority” supposedly tells them?

    • 121 Linda from Italy
      December 22, 2009 at 22:41

      @ Tom

      Hear hear Tom! As a very lapsed Catholic (over 40 years) for once this is the voice of humanity speaking.
      And who knows, maybe the God that people are so fond of quoting as they abuse, oppress and kill, is actually on the side of the shoplifters.

  91. 122 Adrienne Pilon
    December 22, 2009 at 19:26

    You are asking the wrong question: Is there a moral justification for stealing? If you are hungry, there is no moral equation. We are animals and must feed ourselves. Hunger is a primary motivation in all behavior. When you are starving, there is not an ethical conundrum. Stealing without physical violence, maybe.

  92. 123 Diane from Indianapolis
    December 22, 2009 at 19:27

    This is such a wonderful topic to discuss at Christmas, the time when Christians around the world remember the greatest gift.

    Stealing is wrong and unfortunately, two wrongs do not make a right. However, there is obviously a HUGE injustice in the world when many people have more than they could EVER need while others starve to death in our streets.

    This is a clear case of social sin and what is needed to combat social sin is social justice. Perhaps what is needed here is a form of civil disobedience, if you will, to right an obvious wrong. But how that is done, I do not know. Two wrongs can never make a right, so stealing is not the answer. But the social injustice — the social evil of poverty — continues.

    I wish we could find an answer


  93. 124 Scott
    December 22, 2009 at 19:28

    IMHO there are three crimes committed here before we start the debate:

    1 – The reverend is hushed up by the church authorities – are they afraid of free speech?

    2- The real crimes are those committed by banks and big business – who trade in our debts etc. – but the media always focus on the “Little people”

    3- The crime of imbalance in the world – where the richest take whatever they want and get richer – whilst the poor get poorer.

    Address these issues, they are the real issues, before asking the little people about morals.

  94. December 22, 2009 at 19:29

    These sorts of shop lifting will not be accepted under any situations by any body.
    This is very bad on countries as well as peoples attitude to take other mans belongings by ill legal and by unlawful means.
    No civilized individuals,society and government will not accept in total.
    I have read, i have experienced of all my parent less times, almost, i became orphan.
    So many good well wishers, college students, social reformers, some radical thing on this subject, my elder brother, some college friends those who have socialist thinking, and by some analytical sayings with college co-friends, had helped me to swim against troubled waters.
    I got scholarships, some rich, like minded people with my very interesting arguments with college professors,editors from leading medias had helped me finish my honors course, and other management courses.
    Pure merit,avid reading,avid writings, very good presentations on interviews had placed me some moderate jobs for so many years.
    Once jobless positions, social,economic evils and adventurous activities by students, adults and some social workers with concerned governments direct actions on removal of poverty,social injustice etc.etc., will stop of these sorts violent activities at the earliest.
    No body can take law into their hands,
    We are living in a democracy with proper government guide lines for solving of these commercial looting from world wide.

  95. 126 rob z.
    December 22, 2009 at 19:31

    Theft is wrong.Extreme poverty is wrong,and leads to desperation.
    There is no reason,in most western nations for such circumstances to occur.Here in the US,military vetrans and ther families should never be homeless.There should not be families living on the streets or starving.
    The only reason this is a problem is because nobody cares about others until it happens to them.If it happens to a friend or associate,(oh,they screwed up it’s not my problem).
    We are all connected,we all share in the responsibility of making our world a better place.
    Together we have the ability,but as a whole we lack the will for selfish reasons;be it religious,political,or social.
    Rob in Florida.

  96. 127 Vic in Canada
    December 22, 2009 at 19:33

    To extend the logic further, suppose I am on my way to a store to shoplift but on the way I see property belonging to one of those who feel stealing when in need is OK. So I decide to steal their property, sell it and use the money for food. By their logic this is perfectly acceptable.

    What of the costs used in investigating and prosecuting those who shoplift, these funds would be better spent provided the services needed by those without food or shelter.

  97. 128 Tom D Ford
    December 22, 2009 at 19:34

    Wealthy people steal by lobbying and buying politicians and creating economic systems and laws that create extremes of wealth and poverty.

    The wealthy make their thievery legal but it is still thievery just like shoplifting.

    The wealthy steal because they can, but some poor people steal to save their lives.

    Any person who places high value on human life also places high value on the Jesus teaching “Even as you treat the least of these…” and treats the people who have been reduced to poverty and desperate circumstances with forgiveness and generosity.

  98. 129 Uk_Sven
    December 22, 2009 at 19:34

    The folks in East Africa may not have a $900 a month appartment rent bill to cover for the family of four. Here in the USA, you can run out of options very quickly and to feed a family is difficult. A local church will not be able to cover all of an individuals bills and needs. People are giving less and not thinking about those with less as we gird our loins in these tough times.


  99. 130 CJ McAuley
    December 22, 2009 at 19:35

    Just wait another 10 years or so, when the effects of “climate change” truly hits food production! For then armed guards will be patrolling supermarkets,; even in “Western” nations! Thanks much for the fudge, “Copenhagen Accord”!

  100. 131 Jean-Jules Fogang, Silver Spring, MD US
    December 22, 2009 at 19:38

    Shoplifting from a legal stand point is a crime regardless of the type of the store that is the victim. There is no moral justification of any sort to theft. Companies that exploit their workers, a rich person who feeds on others’ misery, members of government who embezzle money designed for community projects practice stealing. There should be zero tolerance for theft no matter how and where it happens.

  101. 132 Tom D Ford
    December 22, 2009 at 19:38

    I wonder how much shoplifting goes on in nations where the wealth is redistributed more equitably than it is in Britain and the US?

    How about primitive cultures where nature is abundant and everyone has what they need, is there much of a stealing problem there?

  102. 133 Michael
    December 22, 2009 at 19:39

    Yes, I do believe that stealing to avoid starvation of oneself or one’s family members. But that is only because society has failed to address the Basic needs of life in western “wealthy” countries. Stealing to avoid starvation would not be necessary if even 1% of 1% of 1% of GDP was dedicated to “free food programs” where very basic foodstuffs would be handed out to registered persons. This would bypass the “food stamp” program or other such programs and would only hand out very basic but very nutritious foodstuffs such as rice, beans, flour (corn & wheat), salt, pepper, vegetable oil and a multiple vitamin/mineral supplement and these would be handed out only once or twice monthly to the same individual with the amounts based on how many family members were in need. From such items, a diet of complete nutrition can be devised. Also, a small pamphlet should also be handed out showing how all nutrient needs can be met with such items. This would allow persons in greatest need to live healthily until they find a way to change their desperate situation.

  103. December 22, 2009 at 19:40

    All the religeous institutions are worth muli-milions in $,£, and property,I think it just a little bit nauseus that their clergy should endorse theft.

    If we are talking about dire need and desperate situations of life and death.The answer to that scenario would be a yes.But if we are to normalise theft,why stop at supermarkets?

  104. 135 Yasha Sturgill
    December 22, 2009 at 19:41

    Your commentator’s assumption that, because many texts/responses are coming from Africa, those responding must be impoverished is ridiculous! I would challenge any of you to watch your children suffer from hunger and all the attendant difficulties of extreme poverty. What a bunch of self-satisfied prigs!
    The condemnation of those who ARE suffering thoughout the world by those who are NOT smacks of prejudices. Why don’t you get to the larger question which is WHY is the economic balance in the world so out of whack???
    Also, I am so sick and tired of people using this work of fiction written hundreds of years after events described within called the bible as a rational basis for their arguements. However, if they wish to base their lives on this foolishness, that’s fine FOR THEM. Do NOT try to foist this off on the rest of the world’s population. Believe it or not, christians are NOT the majority in the world.

  105. 136 Alan in Arizona
    December 22, 2009 at 19:42

    I want to know if Darren has tried to get his church to help them out. Or even friends or family.

    And to the person’s response that stealing food is not the same as stealing money. It cost that shop owner money to purchase the food they sell. Everything cost money and someone will have to pay for it one way or the other. Taking the food of one family to feed another is still wrong.

    • 137 Linda from Italy
      December 22, 2009 at 22:53

      @ Alan in Arizona

      Why on earth should Darren have had to go begging to some church or other? The state should provide for people in such dire circumstances – and yes we the fortunate should pay theough our taxes (shock horror I know to most Americans) in the interests of social cohesion which actually does away with most crime, much more cheaply and less violently.

  106. 138 yen
    December 22, 2009 at 19:44

    took somebody as long as this priest to say this.
    The poor guy did not say that stealing is ok. So we all ought to realize that if we were to put what the priest says in context we need to understand one thing. Everybody has choices no doubt but not everybody has the Means to make the right and best choice in life… If welfare were that great, nobody would steal or be poor or be made into the burden or scum of society
    -yen from singapore

  107. 139 Tom D Ford
    December 22, 2009 at 19:45

    I am reminded of “The Transportation” to Australia, that was the result of excessively cruel English laws. And of Press Gangs of English sailors of prisoner labor.

  108. 140 chinaski in LA
    December 22, 2009 at 19:47

    God is disappointed in the guy from Kenya letting people starve.

  109. 141 Reverend LMF McCormack
    December 22, 2009 at 19:47

    When you have lost your job, home and vehicle, you’ve sold off everything except two changes of clothes and are living in the back of an abandonded moving truck and have not eaten anything for over two weeks, then come back and tell me how wrong it is to steal food to survive.

    This conversation is taking place among people with homes, food, jobs and internet. If it were taking place among peple with none of that and with children to feed, you would find a very different attitude. Survival supercededs the artificial concepts of morality mst of us hold.

    As for right or wrong, that is for Heaven to judge, not us.

  110. 145 mers in oregon
    December 22, 2009 at 19:47

    How can people distinguish between stealing from large corporations and from small businesses on the basis of who is affected? Isn’t it obvious that revenue lost by a large corporation is recouped by cutting salaries and raising prices, which affect not only the big-chain grocery worker who is scraping by on subsistance wages, and those on the edge of poverty, who can absorb any more price hikes?

  111. 146 Judy in Seattle
    December 22, 2009 at 19:47

    Stealing is always wrong, but, especially when caring for children in extreme poverty, justifiable and forgivable. In such cases, one should be taught to “pay it forward” or make amends when it becomes possible.
    Agreed fascinating topic.

  112. 147 Wendy from Seattle
    December 22, 2009 at 19:48

    Hear hear –
    I say it’s ok as long as it lies within the right of the poor to glean
    Christianity and Judaism allow the poor the right to glean to live
    So since this whole argument seems to rely on the WWJD argument where does this law fall with your guests?

  113. 148 Elias
    December 22, 2009 at 19:48

    Historically in the past several decades ago, if someone stole a loaf of bread in England, the thief was sentenced to be hanged, and hanged he was.. However today the thief commiting such a crime and was in dire need the judge would probably let the thief off with a caution. Consider a fruit or sweet shop openly displaying fruits or sweets wether in or outside the shop, and someone just takes a sweet or apple, a judge would consider against the shopkeeper on the grounds he invited temptation in the taking of a sweet or an apple and not prosecute the offender.
    However the law has to be adhered to and accordingly a thief regardless of being poor may very well have to be punished. Sould a thief be caught in the act of stealing an item and was in court and his only defence was that Rev. Tim Jones said it was ok to steal the item, accordingly the Reverand can also be prosecuted as he could be seen to be an acessory and party to the crime, Both the thief and Rev Tim Jones may find themselves in jail.
    Rev. Tim Jones contadicts his profession which clearly states “Thou shall not steal”.

  114. 149 David R
    December 22, 2009 at 19:48

    What about turning to begging? Yes it is one of the most humbling things that a person could do, but for a Christian isn’t humility a virtue? Given a choice between stealing and begging, it is clear which is the more Christian thing to do for an individual facing dire deprivation.

    • 150 Betsy in Oregon
      December 23, 2009 at 04:07

      What if a hungry person doesn’t happen to be a Christian? And do the good and moral Christians bear responsibility for a society where people have to beg for coins to feed themselves? Doesn’t the bible say that we are indeed our brothers’ keepers? Or has smug sanctimony and privileged piety replaced the spirit of Christ in post-modern “Christianity?”

      • 151 David R in NC
        December 24, 2009 at 19:44

        I am wholly sympathetic to the criticism of society’s inequities and hypocrisy, but IF we are discussing the sermon of a minister who is presumably speaking within the context of Christianity then for an individual facing these choices it should be pointed out that the good Reverend neglected to propose shoplifting as a true last resort. He could have advocated begging first, and if anything begging highlights our society’s failings all the more.

  115. 152 Eva in USA
    December 22, 2009 at 19:48

    Some of the radio discussion is about whether or not Tim Jones’ words were taken out of context. But wait — isn’t the entire Christian religion based on taking words from the Bible out of context?

  116. 153 Uk_Sven
    December 22, 2009 at 19:48

    The bloke saying theft is theft and it is wrong has done more theft than I have ever done in my life! I am over the moon that he has been born again while in prison for stealing stuff. Where does this bloke get off on the radio telling others in his situation today, that stealing is wrong? Good Lordy Lord!

  117. 154 Tara Ballance, Montreal Canada
    December 22, 2009 at 19:49

    Matthew 25:35-40 (New International Version)

    35 For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in,
    36 I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’
    37 Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink?
    38 When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you?
    39 When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’
    40 The King will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.’

    If we aren’t part of the solution, we’re part of the problem.

    • 155 patti in cape coral
      December 23, 2009 at 01:05

      @Tara- I’m not much of a believer, but after reading comments about social darwinism and how we should allow people to starve, that bible passage is like a soothing balm. You have truly restored my belief in humanity.

    • 156 Tom K in Mpls
      December 24, 2009 at 05:56

      The Bible, rewritten yet again….

  118. 157 Tom D Ford
    December 22, 2009 at 19:55

    My understanding of the Ten Commandments is that they properly translate not as “thou shalt not” but as “will not”.

    Not as a threat but as keeping oneself honest with oneself.

    A religious person “will not ” steal because of how it makes them feel inside, of the guilty feeling they bring on their self.

  119. 158 chris
    December 22, 2009 at 19:56

    I was a pastor for 16 years and would love to say that the injustice goes to our society establishments that are stealing all the time – their theft is just clouded in financial institutions…it is our society that has robbed from those who are stealing they are only practicing what is hidden at the top.


  120. 160 Elena in Oregon
    December 22, 2009 at 19:57

    I find it fascinating that when Christian clergymen preach that in favor of the war effort, or dismantling social welfare programs, or the death penalty, nobody seems to find this remarkable or hypocritical–but when a man tells his congregation that when the rest of us have so thoroughly failed to follow the commandment to aid our neighbors in need and crushing poverty, that we should not be surprised if desperation leads them to make moral sacrifices to survive–well, that’s an international uproar.
    Rev. Jones was not speaking to say that stealing is fine, just to say that when it is a choice of the desperate, we must see the situation compassionately–and what could be more Christian than compassion for those in need, who we have not, as asked, fed, clothed, and cared for?

  121. December 22, 2009 at 19:58

    It makes me sick to hear and read comments from people whose basic needs are met judging those whose needs are not met for stealing. A person who is starving or whose children are hungry cannot be expected to hold to the lofty ideals of Christianity. The moral problem of stealing food or other necessities doesn’t even begin to compare with the diffuse and distributed moral problem of everyone else not helping those in need. Shame on us… shame on our culture. Shame on Christians who can’t see basic human truths when they’ve got their faces stuck in the bible.

  122. December 22, 2009 at 20:01

    I’m an agnostic, and my system of morality isn’t based on a threat of divine punishment, but a basic empathic concept (that just HAPPENS to be included in religious texts): Treat others as you’d want to be treated, and do no harm.

    Of course, when it comes to survival (particularly of one’s family), the lesser harm could SOMETIMES be the monetary loss of taking from a wealthy corporation.

  123. 163 s
    December 22, 2009 at 20:01

    At the end of the show, the guest tried to give a story about a woman who had a 150 pound a week or month “toiletry” compulsion due to OCD, which her parents could not afford, so she would steal “toiletries” from a store (Boots). Something tells me we’re not talking about shaving cream and soap. I have a feeling what she was stealing was cosmetics, like makeup, because she was obsessed over her appearance. There is a mental condition that is a type of OCD called Body Dismorphic Disorder, but in in no way drives someone to commit crimes such as theft because they don’t accept the way they look. That’s a very poor excuse for shoplifting. She could have gotten a job at a place that sells cosmetics and gotten a discount.

  124. December 22, 2009 at 20:02

    I would like to add in accordance with what I have posted above that I have been in a situation so bad that I was only eating once every 3 days so that my husband and children could eat every day, and still I would not steal so much as a loaf of bread. That’s because I am in America, and have resources available. I am not discriminated against like my family is in Europe, so while my cousins may need to steal from time to time, I would be wrong to do so.

  125. 165 t
    December 22, 2009 at 20:03

    Thanks for WHYS for the chance to comment on this.

    To answer Ros’ question (why didn’t you shoplift?). Two reasons:

    The conviction rate for foreigners in Japan is 99% (regardless of the crime).
    And two, something in those homeless situations made me say, this is horrible. But I’m NOT going to sink that low. It’s not a religious or a “moral” decision necessarily. It’s more of a survivor decision.

    Happy Xmas to one and all :).

  126. 166 Kevin PE
    December 22, 2009 at 20:07

    Is it wrong? Of course – for a multitude of reasons. Would I do it? – Absolutely. Every time I pass an unfortunate person in such circumstances, I repeat the old phrase – There, but for the grace of God go I. However I have made the decision that if it ever comes to it, and there is no clear end in sight, then sorry folks, time to check out.

  127. 167 Peter
    December 22, 2009 at 20:08

    Stealing is bad, not wrong… Wrong infers not justifiable. Bad means it can be the lesser of two bad things. It could be the right choice, but still is bad…

  128. 168 archiblad
    December 22, 2009 at 20:21

    I just read, “Social Darwinism. Let them starve”, from Anthony. This is a grotesque statement, akin to, “let them eat cake”, spoken by a long headless monarch.
    I think it is a more question of economic extermination, if anything. We get caught up in the right and wrong morality discussion, the assumption that everyone would steal if it wasn’t for the ten commandments or that someone made it illegal. This seems only a symptom of what has been denied so many, for so long, to service the self-chosen few. If there was not such a culture of dissatisfaction with life and station being promoted by those who already have so much more than they need, judging, thwarting and jailing destitute people in need of so much more than they have ever had, I tend to think that people would be content. Desperately resorting to stealing, in an effort to balance the inequity, should not be punished, but understood and addressed with compassion.

  129. 169 audre
    December 22, 2009 at 20:30


    Who said anything about Communism? But since you brought it up, Communism is a good theory; it is the practical application that stinks.

    I am not saying anything… just wondering why society tolerates so much inequity. The person who spends time training to do jobs such as medicine may have a much easier time doing that than the person who does the important job of wiring houses.

    Should we pay people more because they have a higher IQ? Would it be better to value all talent?

  130. 170 kingsley
    December 22, 2009 at 20:33

    I do not agree to shoplifting,but if one was not hungry one would not shoplift in the first place. The problem is not just about shoplifting,but survival. There are cases were people who have found themselves in certain suituations and had to resort to cannibalism. e.g famine.As human beings we need to survive and if you are very hungry and you need to eat you would do almost anything even shoplift. To avoid getting to such state the government should provide a means of making food available for all it’s citizen probably a regular crop that is not seasonal thou not pleasant, but no one will have the excuse to shoplift.

  131. December 22, 2009 at 21:09

    Stealing is wrong. Mitigating circumstances or being a minor might result in lesser punishment for certain cases, but it is still wrong.

    Issues of moral fairness and economic disparity come into play, certainly. But it seems that most people end up in desperate straits through a cumulative series of bad decisions, for which they should be accountable.

    It seems a better use of clergy time would be to advocate and encourage organized actions for increased corporate support for assistance initiatives, rather than to encourage theft. The clergyman would be on firmer ideological ground that way too – he wouldn’t recommend violation of a commandment, and instead would be modeling the traits of the good Samaritan.

    There is assistance available and there’s so many cases such as @david sant above working through a situation without resorting to theft, that I have a hard time believing someone is truly desperate enough that theft is merited.

  132. 172 kay
    December 22, 2009 at 21:10

    I steal food from a large supermarket all the time. I don’t have money to buy everything I need and I get this satisfaction of saving $10-$20 everytime I put stuff in my bag and get away. I know it’s wrong. But I feel that it’s justifiable when I don’t have the money and all the things in a store that has it all.

  133. 174 Chris
    December 22, 2009 at 21:20

    Re the Commandment “You shall not steal” the Catholic Church’s Catechism says:

    «The seventh commandment forbids theft, that is, usurping another’s property against the reasonable will of the owner. There is no theft if consent can be presumed or if refusal is contrary to reason and the universal destination of goods. This is the case in obvious and urgent necessity when the only way to provide for immediate, essential needs (food, shelter, clothing . . .) is to put at one’s disposal and use the property of others. »

    – this seems to be pretty much the same as what the Rev. Tim Jones is saying.

    It is surely a greater sin for those with plenty not to help feed and shelter the the hungry and homeless than it is for one of the hungry and homeless to steal in order to feed their family.

    • 175 Ronald Almeida
      December 23, 2009 at 10:25

      The commandments also say, ‘Thou shall not covet thy neighbours wife’ as if she was his posession. Social rules made 2000 years ago have no significance to situations today.

  134. 176 Thomas Murray
    December 22, 2009 at 22:17

    I was going to say never ever ever!!! Till I read Rev. Jones take on it. And, you know, I think he has a valid point.

    I’m on a public library Internet terminal right now, and I’d guess over half the people who use the terminals here are looking for work, but they’re in such sad shape I don’t think most of them will find anything but seasonal employment, which, in the end, always sucks because they perpetually lay people off.

    Problem is, they also steal. One patron casually made off with a Tuesday New York Times. Another took my flash drive which I accidently left in the USB port. (Why do they make them so SMALL?!?!?!?) So I guess there’s a reason they can’t keep a job.

    I’m also very late paying my emergency room expenses for my motor scooter accident, so until I settle those, that’s me stealing I guess.

    FYI: One of the items most shop-lifted here in the states is meat. That’s right. Meat.


    –Safe Holidays, Louisville, Kentucky, US

  135. 177 Linda from Italy
    December 22, 2009 at 23:18

    Sorry, but all this religious argy-bargy is beginning to make my head spin. I would really have liked to ask the “born again” guy what he is doing now to make a living. It seems to me that Christianity has a major problem with all these nutty Evangelicals who bang on about Jesus, but insist on turning to the Old Testament to provide the sort of fire an brimstone they need.
    As we approach the birthday of “gentle Jesus meek and mild” should we not forgive transgressions committed in extremis. Where is the compassion in this religion CHRISTianty? A religion that was supposedly founded on that very love and compassion that is supposed to accept the venal nature of the human condition, and “forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us”.

  136. 178 Bozomark
    December 22, 2009 at 23:42

    I have been poor and homeless for many years. I have always lived by the philosophy that when I’m at my lowest it is the time to keep my karma the purest. Bad karma only brings bad karma. Committing crime is never a good solution unless you want to go to jail. Next time you see someone begging for change I suppose you should thank them for not stealing. A priest should advise the poor to come to church more often if they are in need not subject themselves to the degradation of being arrested and incarcerated. Sounds like that priest ought to read the book of Job again. Only steal from big chain stores? Then I guess he should tell people to only kidnap people from wealthy families that can afford it. I don’t think you should take the Bible verbatim nor this priest. His statements are so hypocritical to the faith it is humorous.

  137. 179 Sascha
    December 22, 2009 at 23:51

    You can not condone theft, there is no excuse for crime…
    The problem is one of accessibility or inaccessibility should I rather point out.
    The guy that walks into an Adidas store and gets the latest sneakers actually lives in the same day as the have not who “wishes” exactly the same thins.
    Why shouldn’t he?
    The impact communication (adverts) has on people is very similar across the board.
    The difference here lays in how they obtain it.
    One seems socially acceptable while the other isn’t….
    Maybe the question should be… is it socially acceptable to have people that are not given the opportunities to express a “socially acceptable’ behaviour (a honest workplace, for example)?
    I am sure that if you ask a shop-lifter if he would rather prefer to use a credit-card instead of incurring in socially deviant behaviour…
    And it could not be different.
    The stress (to mention 1 thing) involved in acceding to the desire ” illegally” completely outweighs in a negative way the sense of gratification of an otherwise “normal” transaction.

  138. 180 Richard Austin
    December 23, 2009 at 00:33

    It is certainly acceptable to steal from Wal Mart and the other megas stores. They contribute as little as possible to the towns where they destroy the local businesses. They pay lousy wages and withhold wages to collect interest it until an emplyee quits.

    My daughters and I have had to work for these people as we have struggled to get them through college. We have never stolen anything from these blood suckers but I certainly have no problem with anyone who does.

    For these corporate bottom feeders to cry foul after some individual steals an item from the mountain of soldout branded garbage that fill their understaffed warehouses is like a glutton squashing a mouse when a pea happens to fall from the table and roll his way.

  139. 181 Richard Austin
    December 23, 2009 at 00:39

    People do not have options. I have seen the people on Hastings Street in Vancouver at 1:00 in the morning as I gave out food. They have no options because of indifferent smug middle class indifference and the resulting society they have spawned.

  140. 182 Richard Austin
    December 23, 2009 at 00:54

    I would have the same feeling stealing from Wal Mart as I would stealing money fromn a drug dealer. In both cases the money is going where it is better deserved.

  141. December 23, 2009 at 01:17

    I heard today’s program and thought that I would leave a reply. I have to say that everyone’s call in today had a point in their own right but mostly it goes back to the gentleman from the South of England….When you are having to see your children starve, there is no crompromise. You have to do what you have to do. It all depends on one’s personal circumstance as to how you want to take the parish’s message. In agreeance, I believe he wasn’t telling other that it is okay to spend but mainly putting the word out to members of his church just the consequences of shoplifting and what happens.

    There was a point that Ross didn’t consider. What justice is brought those that consider shoplifting ‘work’. Where I am from some break-ins have occured and rather then the criminals standing accountable for their actions, they are simply slapped on the wrist and told not to do it again basically. My question is in this society that we live in at the moment people need to do what they have to do just to survive but what of those that CHOOSE to commit these criminal acts and cuffer lesser consequense thn those that are simply trying to do the right things by the law?

  142. 184 Davíð James, Iceland
    December 23, 2009 at 02:06

    Shoplifting is dishonest. It takes more courage to be an honest beggar, than to be a dishonest theif. At least if people went out to the street to beg, the problem of unequally distributed wealth would be apparent for everyone to see. Most people see beggars as victims, wheras most people see shifty-eyed people slipping things underneath their trenchcoats as criminals.

  143. 185 Petra in California
    December 23, 2009 at 02:11

    This guy just wants to be a modern christian, and preach in a trendy way – today’s modern relativism says that nothing is right or wrong if it makes you feel good. So now Christians can preach that stealing, cheating on your spouse or homosexuality is OK if it makes you feel good and if Jesus was alive today he would agree.

  144. 186 Colin
    December 23, 2009 at 02:38

    I believe that stealing for the basic needs to keep a family in safe well-being conditions is justifiable; stealing from a big retailer wouldn’t do them much damage, in-fact large amounts of food each day goes out of date when surely it could help feed those families living under the bread line.

    If I were a manager of a main retailer, and someone came to me asking for something, I’d surely give them it for free considering its a one off occasion and that I know I have done something right to try safe the lives of others.

    Colin – Belfast

  145. 187 kathy o'keefe
    December 23, 2009 at 03:28

    it is wronge to steal, but if we go back 200 year when children got caught stealing a loaf of bread because they were starving, the punishment was they were sent to the colonies.

    • 188 Ronald Almeida
      December 23, 2009 at 10:09

      Where they were better of and didn’t have to steal at all, since those cultures were more progressive and made provisions against such eventualities.

  146. 189 Abram
    December 23, 2009 at 03:48

    I can understand Rev Tim Jones. I personally wouldn’t do it, but, if we are honest with ourselves, all of us have stolen somehow, something at a given particular time and circumstance. So, who are we to judge those who do have a more difficult path in life than the majority of us, privileged bloggers? The Bible teaches us: “You who give teaching to others, do you give it to yourself? you who say that a man may not take what is not his, do you take what is not yours?” Romans 2:21. Mary Christmas to all!

  147. 190 Ricardo
    December 23, 2009 at 04:00

    I do believe shop lifting at times is due to lawlessness and selfish behaviour.
    Stealing for necessity such as hunger should be viewed differently from stealing for selfish reasons. It will be intresting to know the real reason why people steal.

    It appears that reverend Jones is being sypathetic to the plight of the poor, incouraging stealing does not seem to be his motive.

  148. 191 Betsy in Oregon
    December 23, 2009 at 04:02

    This pastor’s comment struck me as a courageous and principled reminder to those who have plenty not to judge those who have desperately little, and indeed to own some responsibility for the conditions in our society. There is never justification for stealing “consumer goods” and the endless materialistic junk that our society tells us we “need” and “deserve.” But we all bear responsibility for tolerating and indeed benefiting from the injustice in our societies that result in vast disparities, hunger, and homelessness.

    Those who have plenty of rich food in their bellies and warm clothes, cozy beds, plasma TVs, computers, ipods, cars, microwaves, and consumer bling ad inifnitum — for those who have so much to criticize, humiliate, judge and punish those who have no food on their tables — if they even have a table — is an affront to the principles of charity, compassion, and human decency that every religion promotes. “Let he who is without sin cast the first stone.” (If you think you have no sin, arrogance, selfishness, and intolerance qualify.) That is what that preacher spoke to. He wasn’t appproving of stealing an iphone or fancy jewelry to keep up with the Joneses.

  149. 192 Ronald Almeida
    December 23, 2009 at 07:02

    I am glad the BBC brought up this subject among others that question an individuals opinion on human morality, social values, right and wrong and truth itself. Manipulated by society through religion, education and politics, I am sure most people dont even think of these concepts but just blindly follow them.
    Having my say, I’d say even good and bad and truth are only points of view and not absolute or universal.

  150. 193 Tom D Ford
    December 23, 2009 at 07:30

    On thinking about it:

    Doesn’t it seem true, that the rich got rich by stealing and the poor got poor by not stealing?

    What is a loaf of bread compared to a countries diamond mines?

    Cecil Rhodes is a hero and a shoplifter is just a common thief.

    Have you ever heard of a Rhodes Scholar?

    Have you ever heard of a Shoplifters Scholar?

    Now tell me truly, what is the difference?

  151. 195 etherion
    December 23, 2009 at 08:23

    Criminal activity of one kind or another is becoming a norm
    and accepted in almost everybody’s home. Pirating music and
    movies and downloading them is shoplifting on a global scale.
    Moreover, in the modern world, looking to religion for moral and
    ethical guidance is nonsense. The quality of human behavior
    reached its peak in the fifth century BC and it has been down hill
    ever since. The twentieth century was a clear indication that
    we will not make it beyond the twenty-first.

  152. December 23, 2009 at 09:47

    it would have been nice if the parish priest has appealed to the judiciary concerned to go soft on culprits who have stolen as a result of hunger .this preach of shoplifting by the priest will disrupt the social fabric into chaos ?

  153. 197 David
    December 23, 2009 at 09:49

    Maybe Rev Tim Jones should open up his own shop and invite people to steal everything. Allowing people to get away with petty theft only encourages them to go onto more profitable pursuits such as house burglary. Does anyone here who is sympathetic to Tim Jones idea own a shop or like having their own property stolen? Probably not.

  154. December 23, 2009 at 10:02

    Can anyone in their right mind say that capitalism of the way it exist today is capitalism? It isn’t capitalism it is a monopoly and slavery. Who owns your real money? The government does and some governments own other governments to be exact and they small or great own you. But frightfully even above them there is one with one step ahead. Mind control is perfected and singularly can not be detected. No one wants to be their own thinking not of their own. But It is happening and it is used now globally. Every country is now controlled but think they are not. Present Governments of Nations continue looking for a answer to what they can’t think anymore. Stalemate and checkmate, around and they start again.. Something forward but the answers not there a few steps have been missed but no answer is found and thought begins again. No wonder a priest say such , it is alright to steal. No one has a mind of their own to be good and care for those they can care for. The governments made for the healing of a people don’t do it so they don’t either. What you can say what can’t say. What you can think what you can’t think. Mind control of one nation against the other has humanity feeble and insane.

  155. December 23, 2009 at 10:06

    i think the priest is right by saying “go for the big shops”. But it is not that easy to enter the big shops knowing the security measures they have. I don’t believe because of ones small daily bread one should be apprehended by the law.
    if we as humans know what is good we should help the poor and vulnerable in society. In doing this, i believe we can leave our homes and shops opened without the fear of been harassed by a hungry fellow. we should always remember food is LIFE.

  156. 200 EMMA OLUPOT
    December 23, 2009 at 10:28

    Its a well documented fact that we humans cannot give life to a dead person. Why then dont we preserve the existing life. In most African communities (Idont know much about other continents) people are adored at their mourning ceremonies! All your good acts are presented at your burial. Get on guys, take the advice but try to honestly ask first before stealing. I’ve always been told that fear kills people not hunger. Some of us in need are proud to ask or help!

  157. 201 emma olupot in dar es salaam
    December 23, 2009 at 10:33

    The advice is pardonable but what befalls those who are caught may be unbearable given that big shops can afford ‘big’ reprimands!

  158. 202 guykaks
    December 23, 2009 at 10:41

    Good idea by Pastor,but does not hold water..I see this a very wrong idea!But on the contrary shoplifting has made some people rich and opulent.so how do you comment on this?I know of pastors in jor’berg who have riches from stealing?

  159. December 23, 2009 at 11:07

    yet,the fact is that no sin is justified….and yet still,we also need to know how to act to someone we have caught shoplifting or any other crime and also the time at which the crime has been carried out and also how it has been carried out too.

    TV(tambua village,jebrock),HAMISI,VIHIGA,KENYA.

  160. 204 Jerry Harp
    December 23, 2009 at 12:13

    There is a tradition of thought within which Father Tim Jones’s comments might be better understood. The Catholic theologian Thomas Aquinas (1225-1274), in his Summa Theologiae, maintained that because God bequeathed the earth to the stewardship of all, our fundamental relationship to the earth is one of common ownership. Although there is indeed a right to private property, this right exists only in a secondary sense and for the sake of expediency. Private property allows us to make legitimate use of the world’s goods, but the right to it is not absolute. As Pope John Paul II put it in his encyclical On Human Work, the “principle of the common use of goods” is the “first principle of the whole ethical and social order.”

    Given that the earth and its goods belong fundamentally to all, it can be legitimate–in a state of dire need, for the sake of survival, and as a last resort–to “steal” what one needs. This principle is far from a license to take whatever one wants, for it only permits one to do what is necessary to secure survival. Nor is this principle, if understood correctly, likely to lead to wanton breaking of the law. When I was in six or seventh grade in a Catholic school here in the United States, we had a class discussion on precisely this principle, and our teacher explained it well. A major part of this memory is the powerful impression that the discussion made on me concerning the pain and struggle that some of my sisters and brothers in the world must endure. I believe that Father Jones was making precisely this point.

  161. 205 Warthog
    December 23, 2009 at 14:52

    I believe that many of us in the UK have built up a combination of anger, disillusionment & near contempt for the leading supermarket(s). Many of us are manipulated into believing that we are given a choice & that every little helps. In reality, who would have thought the day would arrive when a grocer wields such immense power over both producers & consumers & whose profits runs into billions (an amount/number not even contemplated or even understood until recently – how many zeros?)
    As they encourage us to over indulge more than ever, with their ‘Buy One Get One Free’ & ‘Buy Twp For..’ deals, do we really think it wrong to deprive them of a handful of groceries.
    Why not donate your ‘…Get One Free’ to a homeless shelter or similar

  162. 206 A R Shams
    December 23, 2009 at 16:58

    A crime small or big is a crime. Stealing small or big by the poor or the rich is obviously a crime.

    The British priest’s point of view may be that rich people shop in big shops and if their shopped things are stolen or the big shop items are stolen neither the rich buyers nor the big shop owner would suffer too much.

    Whereas, as and when a poor man’s shopped articles or the small shop’s things are stolen, both these fellows have to suffer more than much.

    Whereas, the crime of stealing remains the crime in any way.

  163. December 24, 2009 at 13:07

    The sad thing that has been shown me is that I can say that evil is being worshiped and called a God instead of Satan. I can write the truth but moderators or any institution will stay the old hat and purger the means of a persons words. That is what money does, purposes to give someone other than the author a unjustified right to rewrite someone else’s own word to sustain a hierarchy who are the rich who take from the poor.

    I see that one standard should be in place. One lifetime is not greater than another. If one is greater, it only exist because it is given that from another. They are not any greater and would not exist if not for another.

    The poor support the rich, not the rich support the poor!

  164. 208 Chris
    December 24, 2009 at 17:16

    The large supermarket chains throw out tons of perfectly edible food each day when, even in a rich country with a welfare system like the UK, there are still those that need food but can’t afford it. If these supermarkets want to stop the needy stealing food from them, perhaps they should make all this food they throw away because of cosmetic imperfection, damaged packaging, or that has reached its sell-by date freely avilable to those that need it.

    Does the person or corporation that throws away perfectly good food when there are those that need it somehow more morally justified than thise who shoplift so that their children can eat?

  165. 209 Iain
    December 24, 2009 at 17:38

    I commend the priest for his sermon.

    He did not say stealing was alright, he did say he would rather if someone was pushed to that level, that they shoplifted from a national store rather than a) from a small owner business b) reverted to mugging, c) prostitution, or other crimes.

    Would those calling him irresponsible prefer the people he was talking about reverted to mugging, or other violent crimes to feed themselves and their family.

    There are people starving in the UK, a prosperous society, yet we walk on by, do nothing, leave it to the authorities. The authorities are inefficient and cannot reach these people, they make mistakes and cannot feed these people, as we still walk by.

    Shame on us, and praise to the priest who raised this issue in this manner.

  166. 210 Ronald Almeida
    December 26, 2009 at 06:58

    Yes people tend to be blind to the reality of others as long as they are not in the same boat.

  167. 211 Vijay Pillai
    December 26, 2009 at 09:34

    impression one get is that tons of food ,good for consumption are thrown daily for not meeting standared so much so food mountians thrown from supermarkets are more than enough to feed the poor. so organise poor’s life so that atleast they are able to get them instead of going to waste dumps to be used as fertilizer or other ways for biomass energy production.if the country make sure poor are fed, i dont see reason to steal and one wonder he was doing it himself beofore becoming a priest? I was given the impression that if a man had fun with lot of girls in his younger days , confess to a priest ,then forgiven and can become a priest without any problem? I am not a christian so i dont know if that is possible?

  168. 212 Crystal Ball
    December 26, 2009 at 14:44

    And who exactly is it that decides what is needed against what is wanted and how much is enough?
    Should I understand that one shouldn’t take from individuals but it’s ok to take from commercial enterprises? Does that include the church because I would like some new wooden benches!

  169. 213 Mariappan
    December 26, 2009 at 15:56

    Matthew 15:14 Let them alone: they be blind leaders of the blind. And if the blind lead the blind, both shall fall into the ditch.

  170. 214 theostein
    December 26, 2009 at 18:13

    suffice to say:

    Ephesians 4:28 Let him that stole steal no more: but rather let him labour, working with his hands the thing which is good, that he may have to give to him that needeth.

    Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God. (1 Corinthians 6:9-11)


  171. 215 Tom K in Mpls
    December 26, 2009 at 19:01

    Survival does not justify anything. What we do to survive, or to help others to survive, is what defines our society. There is no definitive right or wrong, simply the norm as established by our current society and how the individual fits in the society.

    I do have a problem with a religious leader promoting actions against the teachings of the faith, it is simple hypocrisy. There are always other options and they need to be promoted instead.

  172. 216 Ronald Almeida
    December 29, 2009 at 01:19

    Isn’t he making a point about the faith itself?

    I’ve had friends who were conscientious objectors who instead of going to prison joined the army and then created problems from within. It is also a form of protest, often more successful.

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