Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Priest advises congregation to shoplift rather than turn to 'mugging or prostitution'

A priest has advised his congregation to shoplift in the run-up to a Christmas hit by the affects of recession, rather than turn to 'mugging or prostitution.' Father Tim Jones also suggested it would be better to steal from large chain stores rather than pick small family-run businesses as they would be worse affected.

Mr Jones, 42, broke off from his traditional annual sermon on Sunday to claim stealing from large national chains was sometimes the best option open to vulnerable people.

He insisted his unusual advice did not break the Bible commandment "You shall not steal" because God's love for the poor outweighed his love for the rich - but he has been slammed by police and a local MP as "highly irresponsible."

Delivering his festive lesson at St Lawrence C of E Church in York, Mr Jones told the congregation: "My advice, as a Christian priest, is to shoplift. I do not offer such advice because I think that stealing is a good thing, or because I think it is harmless, for it is neither.

"I would ask that they do not steal from small family businesses, but from large national businesses, knowing that the costs are ultimately passed on to the rest of us in the form of higher prices.

"I would ask them not to take any more than they need, for any longer than they need. I offer the advice with a heavy heart and wish society would recognise that bureaucratic ineptitude and systematic delay has created an invitation and incentive to crime for people struggling to cope." He added that he felt society had failed the needy, and said it was far better they shoplift than turn to more degrading or violent options such as prostitution, mugging or burglary.

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