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Priest OKs shoplifting from big box retailers

by Brad A. Greenberg

December 23, 2009 | 7:14 pm

Remember that episode of “The Simpsons” where Bart, Fat Tony’s young apprentice, learns his master’s business?

Bart: Uh, say, are you guys crooks?
Fat Tony: Bart, is it wrong to steal a loaf of bread to feed your starving family?

Bart: No.
Fat Tony: Well, suppose you got a large starving family. Is it wrong to steal a truckload of bread to feed them?

Bart: Uh uh.
Fat Tony: And, what if your family don’t like bread? They like… cigarettes?

Bart: I guess that’s okay.
Fat Tony: Now, what if instead of giving them away, you sold them at a price that was practically giving them away. Would that be a crime, Bart?

Bart: Hell, no.

Well, what if instead of cigarettes it was a new pair of pants from Wal-Mart? And what instead of it not being a crime it wasn’t a sin? Well, I wonder then what the Rev. Time Jones might think. Here’s how the priest in the Church of England made international news:

For a priest in northern England, the commandment that dictates “thou shalt not steal” isn’t exactly written in stone.

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

Jones’ Robin Hood-like sermon drew rebukes Tuesday from fellow clergy, shop owners and police.

From his pulpit at the Church of St. Lawrence in York, about 220 miles north of London, Jones said in his sermon Sunday that shoplifting can be justified if a person in real need is not greedy and does not take more than he or she really needs to get by.

One of Jones’ colleagues responded with displeasure here.

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Since launching the blog in 2007, I’ve referred to myself as “a God-fearing Christian with devilishly good Jewish looks.” The description, I’d say, is an accurate one,...

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