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.