Justifiable theft?

I read this article a couple days ago after seeing it posted on the Drudge Report.

I’ll start off by saying that not too long ago, had I read this article, I would have been incensed. But when I read this article, my first reaction was “hmmm”.

Hmm because I obviously don’t blindly accept those in Pastoral positions giving the all clear for people to steal, but as I continued on reading the article, I understood exactly what he was talking about.

There is blatant theft going on at the government/financial level in the United States, as well as in other nations all over the world. This theft that was secretly enriching those powerful elite, who then SHOULD have gone bankrupt because of their poor decisions and the poor decisions of government, but didn’t, because the government decided that they would continue down the path of rewarding incompetence and destroying those who have little to no power outside of their “vote” once every couple of years.

But even without these things occurring, I believe that the Pastor is on to something.

Serious poverty leads to serious moral failures. Things that you wouldn’t otherwise participate in become your only options, some of those with consequences that lead to more poverty, more desperation, and death. Prostitution, selling drugs, joining gangs, etc are often times not what people WANT to do, but what they feel like they must do. Shoplifting is one of those things, but lets be honest, that is the least destructive to a human being. And being guided not to do so without abandon, but to take only what you need to survive and only in a situation where you have needs that you cannot meet otherwise, and to do so not from a small company that can barely survive but from a large corporate company who budgets theft, and writes off the losses on their taxes, it seems that the least immoral (and most just resolution of unjust situations) is clear.

So I agree with the Pastor. If you are unable to meet basic needs due to circumstances beyond your control, disciplined theft from large corporate stores of just what you need and nothing more, seems to me to be the right decision.


7 responses to “Justifiable theft?

  1. And when you get caught — which is very likely — you will be fined and/or jailed, and then your kids/family are in worse shape for it.

  2. Justin, people don’t need permission to steal such as you are giving them. You need an attitude adjustment.

  3. So, let me get this straight…the same guy who at one time said if his family was getting raped and killed right in front of him he wouldn’t do anything because Jesus was against violence is now telling me it’s ok to steal?

    Glad I stopped back in for a good laugh.

    Justin, I love how you class sins. Stealing from a large company is ok but not from a small company.

  4. Roland

    your sophomoric understanding of nonviolence aside, I’d like to know how you define sin. Please give me a good, thought out definition as it is pertinant to this discussion (I’ll withold mine until you lay yours out there).

    And if you re read what I wrote, I don’t think I ever said that it was not wrong, but that it’s less wrong. When you have nothing, and your only options for survival are to prostitute or sell drugs, or steal just enough together by from a company that gets tax breaks from the government so they don’t lose anything in the transaction, you’re saying you’d prefer people prostitute and sell drugs?

    And seriously, you’re gonna have to grow up a bit if youreninterested in discussion. You know full well that I’ve never said I would sit and do nothig while my family is being harmed. Though, god did sit and do nothing when his son was killed…. But that probably doesn’t mean anything to a good church of America member such as yourself.

  5. No, that is what you said Justin. You said you would pray for that person but you would not use violence against them. Wish I could find that discussion.

    Anyway, what you are doing is justifying sin. Stealing, my friend, is a sin. Even a poor person who steals to live is stealing. It’s a sin. Would God forgive someone for that? If God would forgive someone for killing His only son I am sure he would forgive that as well. Is it still stealing? Sure is.

    Concerning violence, a friend of mine pointed out that Jesus used a whip, instructed his dicisples to carry swords and Paul even called for armed bodyguards to protect him. True, these were for self-defense but the Bible does not, in anyway, instruct us to be doormats.

    Sorry..sorta off the subject.

    Oh, and sin is a direct afront to God. It is a direct violation of his word. God does not class sin (unless you take the “unforgivable sin” but that is the exception, not the rule). A five year old stealing an eraser from the store and a 45 year old cheating on his taxes are both sins. Both fall short of the glory of God.

  6. I
    I would love for you to find where I said that. I honestly don’t remember that direct quote. As I learned about nonviolence, and its place in the gospel, my opinions have deepened and become more nuanced. I very well may have said it, but if you’re gonna level an accusation of a quote of mine, especially it being a strawman defense that I would certainly never use now (and I imagine we have had more than one conversation about this for you to quote from) because nonviolence is not passivism. Its not doing nothing. Its responding to violence in creative ways in attempt to reach towards the humanity inside the person acting unhuman, trusting God to intervene in a situation, and realizing that by responding violently, you are using the same methods of domination that you’re fighting against. Nonviolence is about loving your enemies, so much, you would die for them… as a radical witness to the God you serve who you trust to raise you from the dead one day.

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