Monday, March 31, 2014

Gene Robinson, Tool of Persecutors

It will not surprise that I have never been a fan of Gene Robinson.  But I did not realize how genuinely evil this man is until I read his latest vomit opinion piece over the weekend.  (And, yes, I did sleep on this before posting as is my policy when I am really angry.)

His answer to the plight of those businesspeople who are being threatened with punitive fines and closure for refusing to participate in gay weddings is to deny that they are being victimized at all.  Attacks on freedom of religion?  What attacks on freedom of religion?  His words:

Then, as if to confirm their worst fears, photographers are being compelled to offer their services for gay couples’ weddings (New Mexico), bakers are being made to provide wedding cakes for gay wedding receptions (Colorado), and florists must provide flower arrangements to beautify gay wedding celebrations (Washington). It is important to point out that this is only true for weddings in states where a non-discrimination law is in effect to protect against discrimination based on sexual orientation—which, by the way, is only in 21 of the 50 states.

Appeals to the courts are being made for “relief” for this violation of the service providers’ “freedom of religion” and “religious liberty,” claiming that forced compliance with such anti-discrimination laws is a violation of the providers’ free practice of their religion. Indeed, the language used in defiance of these anti-discrimination laws takes on the language of victimization. These providers feel as though they are victims of discrimination themselves based on their religious beliefs.

But I have to ask: are religious conservatives confusing the pain of finding oneself “suddenly” in the minority with actually being a victim? Both feel uncomfortable, even painful, and are fraught with anxiety. But they’re very different.

And then he goes on with his usual prima donna act about how gays are sooo victimized today. (And some surely are.  But so also are straights, conservatives, those with large noses, those with large bellies, and those pasty white crackers.) But then he has the gall to deny that Christians who simply do not want to participate in gay weddings are being victimized or having their freedom of religion attacked at all.  He even uses scare quotes when referring to their “freedom of religion” and “religious liberty.”

Instead, he repeatedly states such are simply experiencing the discouragement of being in a minority now.  In fact, he concludes:

I do not mean to brush aside as inconsequential the feelings of those who find themselves in the minority, [ED – Yes you do.] whether it be around the topic of gender, race, or sexual orientation. But I do mean to question characterizing such feelings as discrimination, violation of religious freedom, and victimization. It’s time we called out our religious brothers and sisters for misunderstanding their recently-acquired status as members of a shrinking minority as victims.

In others words, “You homophobic Christians are the minority now.  Us gays are winning.  And now you have deal with it.  Nyah-nyah-nyah-nyah, nyah nyah.”

So those who are having their freedom of religion attacked are simply
“misunderstanding” their status.


The next thing you know, “Bishop” Gene will call for “re-education” of those who “misunderstand” their status.  I now would not put it past him.

Jeremiah Denton RIP

I have a lot on my plate this Monday morning, but I must note the passing of Jeremiah Denton last week* at age 89.  This man was hero to me during my college days as he became a U. S. Senator in 1980.

But he is more known for his conduct as a POW during the Vietnam War.  He was a special target of the North Vietnamese’ unspeakable tortures.  But not only did he not break, not only did he remain resolute in defiance of his Communist tormenters, it was he who cleverly alerted the World that the North Vietnamese were torturing POWs by blinking his eyes in Morse Code T-O-R-T-U-R-E during a televised interview the Communists had intended to use for propaganda.

He endured his worst torture session after the North Vietnamese became aware he had exposed them.

Jeremiah Denton was a man of deep Christian faith which sustained him during his torments and motivated him to both private and public service after his release.

May this great hero rest in peace and rise in glory.
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*NOTE: Please know that I would have posted earlier on this but I only became aware yesterday of Sen. Denton’s demise.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

BREAKING: World Vision Repents UPDATE: Or did they?

The Board of World Vision USA has reversed its decision to recognize same-sex “marriages” and asked for forgiveness from “trusted partners and Christian leaders who have come to us in the spirit of Matthew 18 to express your concern in love and conviction.”

This is quite a surprise and a pleasant one.  I suspect WVUSA is going to catch it from both sides now.  But reversing their decision was the right thing to do, and they are to be commended for that.


I am on a tight timetable at the moment.  If I have something to add, I’ll do so in the morning.

----

UPDATE:
As I mentioned, I posted in haste last night.  This morning, Christopher Johnson noticed a statement from World Vision USA President Richard Stearns I missed:

“I think every Christian organization will continue to deal with this sensitive issue,” he said. “The board will continue to talk about this issue for many board meetings to come. … We need to have a process to do further and wider consultation with key Christian leaders around the country, and we will be discussing how that can happen.”

Johnson thinks this statement “suggests that the board was taken completely by surprise by the resulting firestorm and tried to cover its ass while intending to continue to look for a way to slide this policy change in under the radar at some point in the future.”  And I cannot disagree.  Being Anglican, talk about continued “conversation” sounds alarm bells.  It too often means talking and meeting and pressuring (all very “prayerfully” of course) until libchurchers get their way.  And listening too much to so-called “key Christian leaders” helped get World Vision in this mess in the first place.


So which lesson did World Vision learn from this episode – to stick to Biblical authority and morality or to engage in “conversation” until you get to do what you wanted to do anyway?  We shall see in due time.

Housekeeping and a Dead Archbishop Imposter

I have procrastinated about it, but this morning I finally updated my links over on the right sidebar.  I deleted a few zombie blogs for one thing.  No offense to zombies or to the blog authors I hope.

More importantly, I’ve added what has become my favorite blog, Ace of Spades.  Be aware it is not a Christian blog nor claims to be one.  But it is so darn interesting, eclectic, funny, and on target most of the time.  And the “moron” commenters . . . wow, just wow.  If you can handle occasional naughty language, do check it out.  I’ve also added Instapundit, which is more restrained and but is also a favorite of mine and very informative.

But what goaded me to finally update my links was a certain one that cried out for deletion.  I will not even dignify it with a link in this post.  But a notorious imposter of the ashes of Thomas Cranmer did something Cranmer would never do.  He equated those who reject World Vision USA’s acceptance of gay “marriage” to those who passed by the wounded man in the parable of the Good Samaritan.  He even so smeared Justin Taylor (who has adopted orphans), Russell Moore, and Denny Burk by name.

This is a vicious smear indeed that chooses to overlook that these Christian gentlemen and those of like mind can and do help the poor through means other than World Vision.  (I’ve mentioned that ARDF is my favorite relief organization.)  I’ve disagreed with the ashes imposter before, but I could respect his boldness and thoughtfulness as I did so.  I do not know what has come over him now, but he has crossed the line.  I not only cannot recommend him any longer; I doubt I will be back at his blog with any frequency.  I felt removing him from the link list needed to be done post haste.


I hope this is not too unpleasant, but some wrongs need to be called out and countered immediately.  (And, yes, I did let him know of my displeasure and of my response in his comments.)

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

World Vision Proves Me Right (Again)

In my younger days, I supported World Vision.  Being na├»ve and idealistic, I was confident that this organization that all my young evangelical friends liked was surely all about feeding the hungry in Jesus’ name, and I was all about that. 

But then I noticed that there was a ministry philosophy about which held that effective ministry to the poor and hungry need not include a clear sharing of the good news about Jesus Christ.  So I looked closely at what World Vision said about their ministry, and I saw very little about actually sharing the Gospel.  Being a hard man even back then, I did not think assisting people in going to Hell well fed was particularly meritorious.  Therefore, sometime in the 1980’s, I decided to give my world relief donations elsewhere.  (The Anglican Relief and Development Fund is my favorite such organization now.)

Now some thirty years later, World Vision itself has proven me right in perceiving something was wrong in its DNA.  Its U.S. branch has decided to hire purported Christians in same-sex “marriages”.

The explanation given by World Vision President Richard Stearns is fatuous.  He claims World Vision is remaining neutral on the issue of same-sex “marriage”.  No, World Vision’s policy for employees was celibacy for singles and monogamy for the married.  By deciding that gay sex inside of same-sex “marriage” meets that requirement for employees, World Vision is most definitely taking sides.

He says, "This is also not about compromising the authority of Scripture."  Yeah, right.  Scripture is very clear about what God thinks about gay sex.  This decision has compromising the authority of Scripture all over it.

More from Stearns:

Stearns said World Vision's board has faced a new question in recent years: "What do we do about someone who applies for a job at World Vision who is in a legal same-sex marriage that may have been sanctioned and performed by their church? Do we deny them employment?

"Under our old conduct policy, that would have been a violation," said Stearns. "The new policy will not exclude someone from employment if they are in a legal same-sex marriage."

Stearns said the new policy reflects World Vision's parachurch and multi-denominational nature.

"Denominations disagree on many, many things: on divorce and remarriage, modes of baptism, women in leadership roles in the church, beliefs on evolution, etc.," he said. "So our practice has always been to defer to the authority and autonomy of local churches and denominational bodies on matters of doctrine that go beyond the Apostles' Creed and our statement of faith. We unite around our [Trinitarian beliefs], and we have always deferred to the local church on these other matters."

This is a cover for partnership with apostate denominations and letting them call the shots.  The United Church of Christ holds to the faith of the creeds?  Really?  As long as libchurchers can cross their fingers and mouth a creed, Stearns is just fine with partnering with them and letting them set, nay, abolish Christian moral standards for employees.  And that in the name of a unity which really destroys genuine Christian unity.

This serves as yet another object lesson for the orthodox.  Partnering with false teachers who claim to be Christian never ends well.  Unity-minded weak orthodox Christians greatly contributed to the downfall of most mainline denominations by such partnering, and now World Vision is and will be greatly weakened by partnering with apostates and the compromise that brings.

It is not for nothing that Scripture and the fathers again and again oppose partnering with false teachers who blaspheme by using the name of Christ as cover for their “doctrines of demons” (1 Timothy 4:1).  Partnering with them partners with their unfaithfulness and only leads to an increase in unfaithfulness. 


This sad World Vision news is not so much my being proven right as it is the Word of God being proven right yet again.

Monday, March 24, 2014

John 3:19

No, I did not out of a morning fog get that “6” up-side-down.  As I did yesterday with a youth group, I choose to talk about John 3:19.  It is odd this verse is not well known coming so soon after the famous John 3:16.  But you shall soon see why.

We’ll start with 3:16 (And I use the English Standard Version here.)

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.

Yay!  Oh sorry.  I got carried away with that verse being plastered everywhere, even (especially) at football games.  And we all love that verse. And it is good news we all desperately need.  So . . . YAY!

 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.

We do not hear that verse quite as often as verse 16, but we do hear it a lot.  And no wonder – it is very encouraging, too.  I am certainly glad Jesus came to save people, particularly your humble blogger.

18 Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God.

Now we do not hear that verse quite so often, do we?  Talking about non-believers being condemned does not make for a pleasant sermon or Sunday School lesson.  Aversion to such unpleasantness is not just a liberal affliction.  I’ve run in more orthodox church circles most of my life, and I’ve heard this verse much less than verses 16 and 17.

But people need to know that rejecting or ignoring Jesus has awful consequences, and that not because God is eager to condemn – the previous verses teach the opposite – but because the natural consequence of foolishly rejecting the Giver of life is death.

Now John gets even more unpleasant.

19 And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil. 20 For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his works should be exposed.

These verses are even more unpopular.  I have heard these verses taught before, but not often, even though these come so soon after John 3:16.  I am somewhat familiar with these verses anyway; yet, to be honest, a few days ago I was not aware that they came just after John 3:16.

I was made aware while reading John 3 during my daily office.  And one of the strengths of using a good lectionary, as I was, is that virtually the whole Bible gets read in context.  That is also a good reason to read whole books and the whole Bible through.  Both the context and the unpleasant bits are less likely to be overlooked.

The timing of my being made aware was providential as we have been reading John Stott’s Basic Christianity in the aforementioned youth group.  Stott wisely warns early in his book (where the group is now) against the response of most people to Christianity – to not seek the truth about Jesus and about the Christian faith at all.  And he notes that one reason many do not seek is that they are afraid that if they find, there will have to be changes in their lives.

It is interesting that that many non-Christians instinctively know that if they come to faith that there will indeed have to be change, particularly a rejection of pet sins.  They are correct!  Salvation is a package, and rejection of sin is part of the package.

Nonetheless the fact that many choose not to even seek the light and the truth because they do not want to give up their dark deeds is neither pleasant to hear nor to teach.  So I am very thankful that I was reminded of verses 19 and 20 so I could use them to teach this.  I’d rather St. John take the blame instead of grumpy Mark.

But is it not interesting that John 3:19-20 is heard so much less often than John 3:16 just three verses before.  Orthodox or not, we just do not want to hear or teach that our own attachment to sin can keep us from seeking Jesus.  Better to be more uplifting, not to mention polite.


But politeness neither saves nor sanctifies.

Friday, March 21, 2014

Ferndale Public Schools Back Down

Well.  Maybe more people cared about yesterday’s story than I thought.  Outrage over a contract mandating discrimination against Christians has pushed Ferndale (Michigan) Public Schools to back down.  They have promised to remove the offending clause from the contract.  And the teachers union in question has agreed.

The school district’s spokeswoman has stated the district did not even know the language giving preference to people “of the non-Christian faith” sic was in the contract.


I’ll leave it to readers to judge the credibility of that claim.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Discrimination Against Christians in Black and White

Those who scoff at discrimination against Christians in the United States can shut up now.  Said discrimination is now in black and white, namely in a contract between the Ferndale Public School District and the Michigan Education Association teachers union:

Special consideration [for hiring] shall be given to women and/or minority defined as: Native American, Asian American, Latino, African American and those of the non-Christian faith.

The contract reveals an enormous amount of ignorance.  Is there a such thing as “the non-Christian faith”?  Does the Constitution allow this sort of religious discrimination by government at all?  The contract does not speak well of those who teach public school children in Michigan.

But back to the main point.  The contract mandates discrimination against Christians, not to mention White men.


What’s worse is that many so-called Americans are fine with that or just do not care.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Fr. Marcus Kaiser: An Open letter to the Board of Trustees of Nashotah House

Fr. Marcus Kaiser has written a courageous letter that is very helpful in understanding what has happened at Nashotah House in recent weeks.  Stand Firm has posted it in its entirety.  Anyone concerned about Nashotah House should read it.

I hesitate to comment further because I view the Nashotah House situation from a distance.  And Kaiser’s thoughts obviously are of far more import than mine.  But with those caveats . . .

I think the change of Schori itinerary is a good one and acceptable.  Visiting the campus, engaging in “academic” discussion, and giving a eulogy do not present her as a teacher of The Faith the way preaching at a Eucharist would have.  At the same time, her status as the head of a denomination that has students at Nashotah is respected.

Nevertheless, the Dean, Bishop Salmon, still has a lot to answer for.  The letter indicates he went beyond the board’s consent in his original invitation to Schori to preach at chapel.  He greatly damaged trust and Nashotah’s standing with the orthodox.  Yet he has not yet issued an apology.

An apology is called for.  And trust must be restored even if that may require his resignation or dismissal. 

But that leads to another problem.  Fr. Kaiser’s letter reveals the Board of Trustees has serious issues, perhaps to the point of being dysfunctional.  Kaiser writes that Board dysfunction endangers both Nashotah’s accreditation and standing with ACNA.  And he is concerned Nashotah may be on the road to becoming a “TEC-only” seminary which would be disastrous.  Both the seminary and opportunities for orthodox candidates for Holy Orders would be greatly diminished.


The letter makes clear that the commendable change in Schori’s visit has not pulled Nashotah House out of its crisis.  As Fr. Kaiser concludes, prayer is indeed called for.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Misconduct Charges Filed Against Katharine Jefferts Schori

Can you say, “It’s about time”?  Misconduct charges have been filed against TEC Presiding “Bishop” Schori.

I’ve skimmed the charges, filed by the American Anglican Fellowship (AAF), and they look right on target.  But I’ll let readers read and make their own judgements.

Of course, there is a snowball’s chance of these charges going anywhere but the circular file.  But that does not absolve churchpeople from their responsibility to hold apostate and abusive clergy accountable for their predations.

And in case one thinks these charges were filed for publicity or propaganda purposes, look at the date in which they were filed – December 19th, 2013.  AAF has been quiet about this and is coming out with the charges now only because of a leak which necessitates setting the record straight.


So kudos to the American Anglican Fellowship for stepping up and doing what others should have done years ago.

Friday, March 14, 2014

College Diversity Event Excludes Pasty White Crackers

No, I am not making this up (although I took some liberties with the headline).  Invitations to a diversity “happy hour” at South Puget Sound Community College in Olympia, Washington made clear that honkeys people of whiteness were not welcome.  As one of the organizers said:

That space is not for white people. That space is for people of color.

Translation: “You crackers stay away so we can be diverse.”

Now, to its credit, the college cancelled the event and apologized.

But we are past 1984 now.  “Tolerance” means intolerance towards those who disagree with political correctness.  “Diversity” means excluding Mr. Whitey and putting him in his place.


But, heck, I don’t like crackers either.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Downfall XXI: Obama SINKing?

Mea culpa.  I committed the sin of gloating last night. 
For Republican David Jolly beat Democrat Alex Sink in the special election to fill Florida’s 13th Congressional seat, and the temptation to schadenfreude was too great.

I noticed not a little denial from Democrats last night.  Yes, a few got it that last night is not a good sign for them.  But others were so much in denial it got funny.

Yes, this was a special election.  And when conservatives are energized and angry, special election turnouts particularly favor them.

But Alex Sink is a past candidate for governor with high name ID.  She and allies outspent David Jolly.  And Jolly was not an especially attractive candidate and not the Republican’s first choice.  And this district voted for Obama twice.

This special election is not the earthquake Scott Brown’s Massachusetts victory was in 2010.  But it still confirms good signs for Republicans in the mid-term elections this year.

Ed Morrissey, in his particularly balanced analysis, points out that Obamacare was a weight around Sink’s neck and it . . . sank her. (Sorry, I couldn’t resist.)  It was the biggest issue of this race, and Jolly was rather jolly aggressive about it.  One of his ads ended thusly:

She supports Obamacare. I don’t. I’m David Jolly, and I approve this message because [we] need someone to look out for our interests, not President Obama’s.

No, not very subtle, but very successful.  Obamacare is that toxic.

As if the night wasn’t bad enough for Democrats, this morning’s NBC/WSJ poll, which has a history of being slanted towards Obama, has Obama’s approval down to a new low of 41%.  And in said poll, 65% think the nation is going in the wrong direction.

There have not been any reports of torches and pitchforks . . . yet.

I am including this post in my Downfall series because it is appearing more likely that Obama will become the lamest of lame ducks after the November elections.
-----

Downfall is an ongoing series anticipating and tracking what I expect will be the self-destruction of Obama.


The first post may be found here.  The series may be found here.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Tools

Two stories have come out in recent days that confirm that lefty “non-partisan” “think” tanks and the “mainstream” “news” media are willing tools of the Obama Administration.

First, a former Think Progress blogger has come out and said the Center of American Progress was very upset with him for an article critical of Obama’s Afghanistan policy.  For it created “daylight” between the CAP and Obama.  Supporting the Dear Leader is more important than actual thinking, don’tcha know.

Second, Sharyl Attkisson has resigned from CBS News.  The reasons are pretty much an open secret.  She had the temerity to do actual investigative reporting of the Obama Administration, particularly on Fast and Furious and on Benghazi.  And investigative reporting is not so appreciated at CBS now that the Dear Leader gloriously rules.  In fact, her stories dropped by about two-thirds in making the CBS Evening Propaganda News since Obama began his reign.

And, sure enough, one source has said, “It’s no secret that Sharyl has been unhappy about CBS’s lack of interest in investigative reporting, especially when it comes to stories about the Obama administration.”

She is working on a book now.  The tentative title? Stonewalled: One Reporter’s Fight for Truth in Obama’s Washington. 

I might have to buy that one.


But do not trust lib/left think tanks or the “mainstream” “news” media if you want anything approximating the truth about the Obama Administration.  Tools are not that interested in the truth.

Thursday, March 06, 2014

NPR Plays the Race Card With Hilarious Results

For National Public Radio, the defeat of Obama’s nomination of Debo Adegbile to head the Civil Rights Division of the Justice Department was not because he is a noxious radical and an apologist for an unrepentant cop killer.  No, it was because “a handful of Southern Democrats” voted to keep the Black Man down.

Well *ahem* here are those “Southern Democrats” who voted against the nomination of Debo Adegbile:
Chris Coons (DELAWARE)
Bob Casey (PENNSYLVANIA),
Mark Pryor (Arkansas),
Heidi Heitkamp (NORTH Dakota)
Joe Manchin (WEST VIRGINIA)
Joe Donnolly (INDIANA)
John Walsh (MONTANA)

By the way, your taxes pay for NPR and their Race Card playing.  And if you don’t like that, you must be RACIST.


I expect this vote may come back to haunt some of the Senators who voted for the nomination, particularly Shaheen, Warner, Hagan, and Landrieu . . . because of RACISM.

Wednesday, March 05, 2014

Prostrate on Ash Wednesday

No, I am not prostrate as I write this.  But I began the morning with a period of prostration.  And, yes, that out of bed in my private chapel, mind you.

I’ve mentioned the practice of prostration on Good Friday.  But it has recently come to my attention that it is (or was.  I am admittedly ignorant at this time about current catholic practices in this regard.) an Ash Wednesday practice as well.  The Sarum rite for Ash Wednesday began as follows:

After Sexts there may be a sermon to the people.  After which let the Clergy prostrate themselves in the choir and say the seven Penitential Psalms . . .

That is a long period of prostration!  And there was more prostration after that as well during Ash Wednesday services in pre-Reformation England.

I certainly did not remain face down on the floor that long, but is that not an appropriate way to begin the chief penitential season?


Whatever posture you assume, may you have a holy and edifying Ash Wednesday and Lent.

Monday, March 03, 2014

Straining at Gnats and Swallowing Camels

One of the many qualities shared by both political and religious liberals is their marvelous ability to strain at gnats and swallow camels.  Both can make such a big deal about the trivial but commit the most egregious outrages even as they so do.

Christopher Johnson illustrates this well.

The governing body of United Church of Christ congregations in the Mid-Atlantic is proposing that its members boycott Washington Redskins games and shun products bearing the team’s logo until the team changes its name and mascot. 

Of course, those with the least familiarity with the United Church of Christ know they are a profoundly apostate denomination that jettisoned the basics of the faith decades ago.  But boycotting the Redskins is oh-so-important. 

Now this Texan hates the Washington Redskins.  And just the thought of the 49ers or of the Steelers has me reaching for my imprecatory psalms.  But at least I have some sense of what’s important to the Christian faith.

Then there is this from Obama’s Feds:

For more than three decades the predominantly Aleut fishing community of King Cove has been fighting to build a one-lane,gravel track connecting the Cove to the nearby hamlet of Cold Bay. What they have gotten is 30 years of flat-out federal refusals or stall tactics. 

Cove residents say a road is necessary so they can reach an all-weather airport in Cold Bay that will transport them to Anchorage, about 625 miles away, for medical treatment. They say that in emergency situations, it’s a matter of life and death. 
Late last year, though, the Department of Interior announced it was rejecting plans for a proposed land swap that would allow the road to be built. The Dec. 23 decision cited the negative environmental impact on grizzly bears, caribou and water fowl like the Pacific black brant. . . .

According to local Aleutian elders, 19 people have died since 1980 as a result of the impossible-to-navigate weather conditions during emergency evacuations.
During an August visit to Alaska, Jewell was told that building a road that connects King Cove and Cold Bay was vital. But in December, Jewell rejected the road saying it would jeopardize waterfowl in the refuge.

“She stood up in the gymnasium and told those kids, ‘I’ve listened to your stories, now I have to listen to the animals,” Democratic state Rep. Bob Herron told a local television station. “You could have heard a pin drop in that gymnasium.”

The land required for the road is less than 1 percent of the total refuge.

Now I love waterfowl, too.  And God help those I catch trespassing on my duck pond.  But I am not going to endanger or even kill people to defend my ducks.

Now the liberal propensity to strain at gnats and swallow camels at least provides some amusement.  For example, I love this comment at the above link:

If the gravel road ended at an abortion clinic the Army Corps of Engineers would be air lifting bulldozers at near supersonic speed.


 Too true.  Yes, said propensity can be amusing . . . until people get hurt.