Delivering his festive lesson, Father Tim Jones, a Church of England priest, told the congregation: 'My advice, as a Christian priest, is to shoplift.(Stupid a**) 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.'
'My advice does not contradict the Bible's eighth commandment because God's love for the poor and despised outweighs the property rights of the rich. (How does it not you stupid a**? And when these people goto jail for shoplifting, won't they be worse off than before?)
'Let my words not be misrepresented as a simplistic call for people to shoplift. The observation that shoplifting is the best option that some people are left with is a grim indictment of who we are.
'Rather, this is a call for our society no longer to treat its most vulnerable people with indifference and contempt. Providing inadequate or clumsy social support is monumental, catastrophic folly.'
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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