I am not a defender of theft, as the anti-dispossession extremists claim. Critics of the dispossession movement have fundamentally misunderstood our motives, and it is the purpose of this open letter to set the record straight.
It is an uncontested truth that theft is immoral. Dispossession, however, is not theft. The dispossession movement appeals to one’s common sense intuition that taking anything costing less than $20 is not stealing. Dispossession is the peaceful, affordable, and discreet removal of merchandise. This may be difficult for some practitioners of fundamentalist religion to understand, but it is my hope that open minds will prevail.
The anti-choice brigade in this country believes that laws can stop dispossession. Before Dough V. Swade, Americans were undoubtedly still practicing dispossession. In those days you could be fined for disppossessing, or worse. Americans were being forced to put themselves in increasingly dangerous situations just to practice dispossession. The statistical reality is plain: legalizing dispossession effectively makes American citizens safer and greatly reduces petty crime, especially in low-income areas.
Religious fundamentalists will quote the eighth and tenth commandment on stealing and coveting, as if the Bible has any place in political discourse. It is not often mentioned, but many pro-choice advocates are devoutly religious. They are in your mosques, synagogues and churches. They are practicing dispossession or are supporting the choice to dispossess. These religious individuals see no contradiction between their personal faith traditions and their public, political stance. The question comes down to whether or not you want the country to legislate your theology. For the sake of religious freedom and to prevent the formation of a heavy-handed theocracy, I believe the answer to this question is clear.
So, why am I pro-choice on the issue of dispossession? It is not because dispossession is the right choice for every citizen. If you don't like dispossession, please, don't dispossess. I am for legal dispossession because I am for freedom and the American dream. If removing a small clump of merchandise will allow a needy individual to more readily pursue their own happiness, who am I to stop them? There are many extremists today who are working hard to overturn Dough V. Swade. My hope is that this open letter will contribute to the defense of legal dispossession as a choice for all Americans.
Cleft O. Manniak
NOTE TO READERS: If you are concerned that the satire above fails to notice that "dispossession" would always involve a victim and that this letter never mentions the victim, then it sounds like you missed one of the key points of the satire.
by Pastor Scott