Anglican Priest's Wrong Choice of Words

Jim West has posted his latest “excoriation” of the Anglican Priest who suggested that it was okay to “shoplift” if need required.  Jim states:

I’m right firstly because there is NO biblical justification for theft.  None.  Not a passage nor a theologically undergirded interpretation of any passage permits theft.

And, that is true, in terms of “stealing,” this is one of those acts that we “shalt not” do.  That’s why I think the Anglican priest should have framed his suggestion not with the terminology “shoplifting,” but rather with the term “dispossession.”  If he had said that it was okay for his congregation to “dispossess” large chain stores of their merchandise, he would have had a great deal more Biblical warrant:

Hear, O Israel! You are about to cross the Jordan today, to go in and dispossess nations larger and mightier than you, great cities, fortified to the heavens, … (Deu 9:1 NRSV)

Know then today that the LORD your God is the one who crosses over before you as a devouring fire; he will defeat them and subdue them before you, so that you may dispossess and destroy them quickly, as the LORD has promised you (Deu 9:3 NRSV).

Anyone who has given the Old Testament a cursory reading knows of the texts where the Israelites are told to go in and dispossess the people of the land, and even further that God will help them dispossess the people of the land. Does this only apply to land though, and not items from large chain stores?  I don’t know.

Of course, I being a bit facetious here, maybe even trying to be a little bit humorous suggesting that this is simply a matter of framing (i.e. Lakoff).  I do this only to highlight the fact that if a person were to go to the Bible looking for a Biblical warrant for almost anything, they could probably find one if they were careful about how they framed the issue.  In my own mind, I think that the Anglican priest is wrong because he likely misunderstands large companies.  If someone steals from a large company, it may not take the loss and it may not raise our cost.  They may pass that loss along to their workers.  In this way, shoplifting does not hurt something nebulous like a corporation, but rather a real, concrete person like the one working the register.

Today’s Earlier Post:

“Prostitute,” “Harlot,” “Whore” – Does it Make a Difference?

1 Comment

  • As an employee of the most notorious retailer on the planet, I can tell you that shareholders get their dividends regardless of whether or not the hourly workers get bonuses. Of course, that is any company’s reason for existence. Companies exist to maximize profits (dividends) for the owners (shareholders).

    In short, theft may not take away basic salary, but it definitely helps cut out the extra incentives where I work, as do costs from accidents (frivolous and non frivolous lawsuits). That said, paper losses (bad business practices) far outweigh shoplifting losses. But the amount of loss to shoplifting is more enormous than most people think, also. It quite boggles the mind how much goes out the door, when first you learn of it.