Gene Raymond Townsley — Arrested in Church Theft
“Angry Pacoima Churchmen Nab Suspect – Irate church members armed with baseball bats, garden tools and lead pipes last night captured a former parishioner of the Mary Immaculate Church in Pacoima after the church poor box was robbed of $2.09.”
Two bucks. To the courthouse with the Jonathan Rhys-Meyers doppelganger. Pretty was no panacea.
The 1959 rules were:
Do not steal.
Doubly so from the church.
The poor box? Gimme that shovel.
This is what I saw on the way to Trader Joes yesterday. Do you think everyone in Northridge decided one day this was going to be the new normal? But there they are just the same.
When I worked on Lord Bezos’ Farm, in the gourmet department, street people would wander in and calmly load their backpacks with premium wine and liquor and walk out the door with impunity. They made no attempt to conceal their theft. If we caught them and the total value was under $950, which it always was (occasionally, daringly, it would kiss up to the prosecutorial red line) the shift manager would turn them loose to return another day.
This is not forgiveness but licentiousness. No one voted for two sets of books, one for the law abiding and another for the Free State of Jones and its profiteers, but this is the mockery of compassion we now must endure.
If you think this benevolence extends to you, try being $100 in arrears to the city as a commuter and taxpayer. Count the days before the late penalties turn into bench warrants.
You don’t know my name, said Jean Valjean. I’m a thief.
Of course I do, said the Bishop, your name is Brother.
You forgot your candlesticks. Use this silver to become an honest man.
God has raised you out of darkness, I have saved your soul for God.
The priest’s gesture was effective because he spared Jean from a return to prison for life. Remove the gendarmerie from the equation and there is no grace, only pointless indulgence. No redemption, no Marius, no Cosette, no wedding.
I wonder what became of Gene Raymond Townsley?
The Bishop of Digne painting by Darin Ashby
One thought on “Our Broken Window”
Churches are just people, and their people became morally lazy–why judge the man who steals from the poor box? By definition, they figure, if he is stealing from the poor box, he must be poor itself. Why shouldn’t we just leave the money to him?
The churches, both Christian and secular, no longer make that distinction; and there you are.
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