Tim Jones is an Anglican Priest who in a sermon to the congregation at St Lawrence’s church in York suggested that there is an exception to the Eight Commandment, the one that says Thou Shalt Not Steal.
Apparently, according to Father Tim, as his flock calls him, it is alright to steal if one is poor, if one is stealing from a large, corporate owned store, and if one only engages in shoplifting. The idea is that God, for whom Father Tim Jones is evidently speaking for, so loves his people that he will exempt them from the Eighth Commandment if dire necessity requires it.
Liz Hunt, writing for the UK Telegraph, finds Father Tim rather amusing. “But how long before one of his competitors moves on from “Thou shalt not steal” to the rest of the Commandments, and we’re told that we shouldn’t bother honouring our father and mother if they vote Tory, or that it’s fine to worship idols as long as they’re managed by Simon Cowell? Happy Christmas!” Or, for that matter, that it’s alright to commit adultery if the other person involved is really hot.
There is also the issue of the slippery slope. If God loves the poor more than the rich, as Father Tim suggests, then why stop at shoplifting? Why not resort to armed robbery to pick up a little extra cash at the Valero or the Bank of America? If Thou Shalt Not Steal has some exceptions, then surely so does Thou Shalt Not Murder?
Most people who set themselves up as ministers of the Almighty suggest that people should exercise their faith in a practical way by helping out the poor and the distressed in some manner, not that the poverty stricken should help themselves to an iPod or a package of fillet mignon and risk spending Christmas in jail, subject to a judicial system that is a little less sympathetic to stealing than is Father Tim Jones.
Mind, it is easy to not be one’s brother’s (or sister’s) keeper when the government is confiscating half or more of one’s income ostensibly to help the poor, but actually to expand its control over everything. And panhandlers who beg on busy intersections who turn around and spend their baksheesh on drink or worse do not help.
Of course contributing to a food bank, kicking in a few extra dollars to ones favorite charity, or just helping out a friend in need are suggestions not likely to make one as (in)famous as Father Tim Jones’ admonition to larceny. But those are the sort of things that one does, not because a government or a church forces one to, but because human beings do those things out of generosity, love, or faith. One would think that the man, whom many believe was the incarnation of God, would agree with that sentiment.
Source:Father Tim Jones was helping himself, but not helping the poor, Liz Hunt, UK Telegraph, December 23rd, 2009