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Conservative Christians - extreme minority or mainstream?

Discussion in 'The OT' started by pjmrt, Apr 1, 2005.

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  1. Apr 3, 2005 #21 of 120
    Laverne

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    Well, since I jumped into this boat, I feel compelled to help paddle! ;)

    Where to start?

    To lazaruspup:
    I disagree. I don't think they would. I wouldn't. It's not my job and certainly not my right to condemn you. That's between you and Jesus. Whether or not you have accepted Him as your personal Savior is a separate issue from your lifestyle choices, just like everyone else. I can tell you what the Bible says about your lifestyle, but I wouldn't do it in an un-Christ-like manner. Casting stones is not my right. Now I might or might not want my kids spending a lot of time with you, but I believe you made that point yourself. I have the duty as a parent to point out to my kids the Biblical truths that show certain choices to be wrong, and also to point out the Biblical truths that show them the Way to Heaven. But it is NEVER my right to condemn you or anyone else to Hell.

    To Bogy:
    I, too, consider myself an "evangelical" Christian. (Not even sure what a "conservative fundamentalist Christian" is :confused: ) I agree the term has been thrown around here way too loosely without much knowledge of its meaning. I also agree with your quoted definition, except for this part:
    My Baptist brain considers this very VAGUE.

    To jonstad:
    Yes, I'm sure THAT discussion was beat to death LONG before I came here.
    I have to agree with you, but I haven't looked up the definition of "mandate" lately. If I remember right from Latin class, it has something to do with having something "handed" to you. I had to cringe every time they got on the news and bragged about having a mandate. Yes, "WE" won, but it still seemed a bit too proud. My point was merely that there were quite a few races and decisions that seemed to go the way of the Republicans and our values, instead of to the democrats. However, I couldn't help but bust out laughing every time I turned on the news the morning after and saw those :rolleyes: "news" anchors with the puzzled looks on their faces! !rolling

    [BTW, in case anybody cares, I've voted straight Republican ever since I was 18. Granted, I may oversimplify things, but I believe this party holds MOST of my values MOST of the time, and to vote for any less-prominent candidate is tantamount to giving a vote to "the other side". Case in point: H. Ross PEE-ROW. (Why did anybody vote for that little man?? He's annoying as hell!! I grew up in TX and couldn't stand him!!! :icon_stup )]

    I agree IN PART, BUT I think most Christians will agree that God has ALLOWED our nation to prosper (through hard work!) BECAUSE this nation was founded on Biblical (notice I didn't even say "Christian") principles (e.g., The Ten Commandments), and BECAUSE so many of us acknowledge Him and make our voices heard as a witness, BUT if we start to lay silent about our beliefs then He will ALLOW this nation to eventually dissolve, as so many others have. But I believe there are a lot of Christians who try to "share" their beliefs in an inappropriate manner.

    And to pjmr("Whatchu talkin' 'bout, fool?")t:
    I MUST respectfully request (POLITELY, as some of you may remember I promised I would ;) ;) ) that you go back and correct this capitalization error. I personally find it highly offensive, especially coming from someone I presume to be a Christian (even jonstad uses correct capitalization, thanks jonstad! ;) ), and therefore could not let it slide. :nono: Sorry! Thanks! :grin:
     
  2. Apr 3, 2005 #22 of 120
    RichW

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    MUST respectfully request (POLITELY, as some of you may remember I promised I would ) that you go back and correct this capitalization error. I personally find it highly offensive, especially coming from someone I presume to be a Christian

    Geez, we give women the right to vote and they become avid Capitalists! :)
     
  3. Apr 3, 2005 #23 of 120
    Bogy

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    Just take a look at pjmrt's definition of Evangelical. It is more a definition of a fundamentalist. The fundamentalists call themselves Evangelicals because it sounds better, and the media have accepted their appropriation of the label.
     
  4. Apr 3, 2005 #24 of 120
    Laverne

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    :confused: :confused: :confused: :confused: OK, now I'm REALLY confused. Except for this part: "accepted a creationist (rather than evolutionary) explanation for the origins of the universe, earth, and mankind", I really don't see much of a difference. (Does that make me an "evangelical" or a "fundamentalist"?) Are you saying you believe in evolution???
     
  5. Apr 3, 2005 #25 of 120
    jonstad

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    I have always believed, and I believe the founders did also, Jesus' statement about "rendering unto Caesar..." was the first clearly articulated admonition that the affairs of state and the affairs of faith should be separate. Also His references to His "kingdom not being of this Earth" can be interpreted in the same way.

    For the moment, I'm going to assume there is a God. I believe He/She/It would judge us and grant us favor as individuals, not as a group or collective organization such as a nation. Neither would God favor Nebraska over Oklahoma on a brisk Saturday afternoon in some open air cathedral dedicated to football, regardless of the relative intensity and sincerity of respective locker room prayers. We might as well wonder whether the Kiwanis or Lion's clubs are more "favored" by God. God would judge and/or favor us as individuals, not by our associations. Wasn't Jesus known for sometimes surrounding himself with beggars, thieves and prostitutes? What we do through our organizations and affiliations possibily may effect God's judgement of us as individuals, but the USA, the Oklahoma Sooners, nor the Kiwanis or Lion's clubs are not going to be present in heaven. It's all pretty silly if you ask me.

    As for the Ten Commandments-
    Which of the ten exactly were our nation "founded" on? I can think of three, possibly four, that could be interpreted as having been directly translated into our law.(and I should emphasize "interpreted") Those being the prohibitions on murder, theft, bearing false witness and adultry. And of these, I believe only one, bearing false witness, is directly addressed in the Constitution or Bill of Rights. For instance, murder as a "national" crime, unless under military law, is usually prosecuted as a violation of civil rights.

    If laws against adultry were strictly enforced, half our Presidents would have been impeached. If there were laws against disrespecting our parents, most of us would be in violation at some time in our lives. And if coveting were outlawed, the entire capitalist system would collapse, especially the advertising industry. (Hmmm? Maybe not such a bad idea after all.;)) There ARE countries that DO outlaw these activities and punish offenders harshly, but in general we don't view these as "free societies", or places we'd want to live, or systems we should emulate.

    Further, nearly all other religions and other societies have formulated codes of conduct similar to the Ten Commandments independently, some predating the Decalog by centuries and millenia. It can be argued the Commandments themselves evolved from Hammurabi's code and/or other previous "codes" of the region. Abraham, Moses and the Hebrews were hardly the first civilization or society of the eastern Mediterranian and they ALL had rules against murder, theft, false witness and sometimes adultry and coveting.

    But the colonizers of America came almost exclusively from Christian Europe. The Ten Commandments was the ancient "code" they were most familiar with. It is no surprise then, and I do not disagree, that the Commandments were probably more influential then other more obscure codes, many of whose historical, subliminal influence we were not even aware of at the time. Much is often made of representations of Moses and/or the stone tablets on the Supreme Court building. What is rarely mentioned is there is also representations of other "law-givers" like Confucius and Solon. The mere presense of Moses and the Decalog are not endorsements of them as the sole source of our laws. They are an homage to previous laws, codes and "law givers" who influenced by example the formulation of our own laws and codes, and the homages to Confucius, Solon and others likewise. We might as well say our laws are "based on" the sayings of Confucius.

    Nobody expects you not to "acknowledge Him and make our voices heard as a witness" or to "lay silent about our beliefs". But do we really want to live in a theocracy? As I pointed out in my previous post, Sometimes "Christian nations founded on Christian principles"(and this applies equally to other "state religions), even ones we consider as highly civilized or secular, do things we find abhorrent to our own sensibilities. Ain't there something in your Bible about "Judge not lest ye be judged"? I don't think the reference here is to murder or theft or even bearing false witness. These are societal determinations we make, human determinations. The judgement here is which individuals are worthy in the eyes of God(assuming again there is One:D). And that is a determination you and I cannot and should not make.
     
  6. Apr 3, 2005 #26 of 120
    pjmrt

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    Ok, Ok.... once more unto the breach....

    Perhaps you already know the history when you ask, perhaps not, but the Pilgrims were Puritans, who fled religeous persecution to establish a colony on the American continent based on Biblical teaching - emphasising reading of the Word, prayer, ... etc. Sorry, but that's history. And desiring freedom, they were English separatists and hence marked men and women by the English Crown. So they left for Holland. But eventually they left for America when the opportunity arose - they were not Dutch. They wanted to build a new world, and did so.

    But they weren't were they - I put to you the hypothesis, it would not have happened had they been Muslim or Hindu. Who sends missionaries to the world, Iran or America?

    You still don't quite get it I think. The foundation was to prevent a state run church of which one must believe and be a member of. But it was not to create an absence of religeous influence. NO ONE is required to attend any church, synygog, temple, ... etc. And thanks to the constitution, no one is prohitited from doing so. But, correct me if I'm wrong here, the founding fathers created this country to be OF the people, BY the people, and FOR the people. Now most every person I've ever met, talked to, or blog'd to, has a set of core beliefs. Christians are based on Jesus and the Bible. But we are also citizens, so as being part of the "people" of which government is (we are the government) we act, rule, make laws, ... according to these beliefs. You may not want to admit it, but aethism, humanism, ... any other isms one could think of - have a underlying philosophy (which could equally be termed a religeon) You have every right to vote and try to enact laws according to your beliefs. So what you in essence are arguing for is the sole right to do so. That does not sound democratic to me.

    It usually comes down to this - a small number of Christians speak out publicly about issues important to them, and from the perspective of their Faith. This is not something new, but goes back over 200 years. That is the foundation. The liberals, especially those in the press, bash these Christians as "extremists" or "the religious right". All the while, completely failing to note that these are simply the spokemen and spokeswomen of evangelical Christians. We have differences, but in general uphold basic doctrine in common. This also is the way its been for a very long time. This is orthodox Christianity. If any new or extremist view is on the scene, it is the liberal view - trying to chip away at basic doctrine. And the goal, it seems anyway, of bashing "religeous right" is to try and silence the opposition, even though their view is probably the majority view in Christianity, and is traceable to Biblical foundations - not subjective interpretations.

    Anyway, no one is compelling anyone to accept any faith. But as citizens, the founding fathers agreed, we have every right to enact laws according to the majority. Protecting any and every behaviour was not written into the constitution. If that is so, what about the laws we have on the books. Should we wipe out the drug laws? Why should local communities be allowed to prohibit bars, strip clubs, ... keeping them at least some distance from schools? Why have any laws at all? Because it is in the public good. And how do we know what is in the public good? Because of our core values. And where do the core values of the people come from? I think you know the answer to that one. A definition of right and wrong, for our founding fathers, came from Christianity. No one is forcing anyone to worship any god or join any church. But in the US, majority rules, and the definition of right and wrong is established. If one is unhappy with that limited amount of religeous intrusion on their lives, they have the same option as the Pilgrims - to leave in search of a place to build a nation according to their beliefs. Ours have preservered not because of hard work or good fortune, but because of the foundation on God.
     
  7. Apr 3, 2005 #27 of 120
    pjmrt

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    Be careful - you might be encroaching on Nick's territory now :)

    Depending on how late it is, I forget to press "spell check" - and otherwise, my fingers do not always do what my mind is telling them.
     
  8. Apr 3, 2005 #28 of 120
    pjmrt

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  9. Apr 4, 2005 #29 of 120
    RichW

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    But Sweden is an example of what liberals would like to do in the US.

    And just what is that? Manufacture safe cars?
     
  10. Apr 4, 2005 #30 of 120
    jonstad

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    Well now, hold on there a minute sonny!

    What the founding fathers "agreed" is the majority(or minority) "shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof." This is NOT "freedom of behavour", it is "freedom of belief". And along with speech and press freedom(BTW, none of the three can exist without the others), the freedom to express those beliefs.

    You and I and everyone else is entitled to hold any belief, and to express it through speech and/or the press. Now, Congress CAN "make laws" for the beliefs of auto emissions or higher or lower taxes, or the belief we should or shouldn't go to war. All that is permissible because it is not Constitutionally prohibited. But what you or I or anyone else is not entitled to is to have government express religious belief for us. What part of "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion" don't you understand?:hair:

    We have laws to protect our Constitutionally established rights and to insure the order, efficiency and safety of society. It has been common knowledge for some time you cannot "legislate morality". These are really separate topics, but despite harsh drug laws and an extremely high prison population by world standards, prisons literally overflowing with drug-related criminals, our 5% or so of the Earth's population consumes a whopping 60-80% of the Earth's illicit drugs. As far as "bars, strip clubs, ... keeping them at least some distance from schools", these are "feel-good laws", their efficacy questionable and constitutionality iffy. They may even be counterproductive. Over and over it's been shown prohibition breeds fascination(temptation if you will) and familiarity breeds contempt. I'm not advocating minors be admitted to such establishments. But I don't think it's ever been shown any child has become an alcoholic or sex-fiend from walking past one or several, even if it's close to a school.

    But again, these are really different subjects.

    I'm really at a loss on how to explain this to you. Perhaps a few "definition(s) of right and wrong, for our founding fathers" in regards Christianity will suffice. But I doubt it.
    And there are more. Many more. These are the "Christian foundations" of our nation, the "definition of right and wrong, for our founding fathers, came from Christianity!"

    In a less harsh tone, but still not particularly consonant with your defintion of "Christian" and certainly NOT "evangelical" or "fundamentalist".
    So, besides the founders NOT bothering to officially identify the USA as a "Christian nation", even though that would have been easy enough to do. And instead officially and specifically prohibiting "religious test for public office" and barring Congress from "making any law respecting an establishment of religion". In addition to all this, the USA in 1797, barely two decades from the Declaration of Independence, formulated a treaty, the measure of trust, honor and integrity between nations, with Tripoli, ("Authored by American diplomat Joel Barlow in 1796, the following treaty was sent to the floor of the Senate, June 7, 1797, where it was read aloud in its entirety and unanimously approved. John Adams, haven seen the treaty, signed it and proudly proclaimed it to the Nation.") reads in part-
    http://www.stephenjaygould.org/ctrl/treaty_tripoli.html

    If I can't convince you, perhaps the "founding fathers" can!!!
     
  11. Apr 4, 2005 #31 of 120
    Bogy

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    Here's pjmrt's definition:
    and mine:
    The first trait about scripture is similar, but not exactly the same. pjmrt's states that Holy Scripture is inerrant. That is a fundamentalist trait. The traditional Evangelical stand is that the Bible was inspired by God, and that it is the authority guiding our lives and faith. The traditional Evangelical stand was that our current English Bible is not necessarily without error, and that we still have more to learn.

    pjmrt's second trait is a current fundamentalist position, but was not the fundamentalist position a hundred years ago. At that time the written position of fundamentalist leaders was an acceptance of Darwin's theories and a belief that an old earth was not in conflict with the Bible. In my definition creation is not even an issue. It is not considered that important. Modern fundamentalists have made it a primary issue.

    The second and third traits in my definition, are contained in trait three of pjmrt's, and trait four is saying pretty much the same thing in different ways.

    What makes pjmrt's definition one of a fundamentalist is the emphasis on inerrancy and creation. Those are not required to be an Evangelical, but they are to be a modern fundamentalist.
     
  12. Apr 4, 2005 #32 of 120
    Bogy

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    pjmrt, those the press uses as spokes people representing "Christians" are those they know will make a radical statement. They hope someone like a Fallwell or Robertson will come out with a statement that the latest disaster is the fault of gays or liberals. Much better soundbite than a local pastor saying that terrible things happen and we usually don't know why. The people who are chosen as spokes people are not from mainstream Christianity, they are almost always far right and radical. Most mainstream Christians don't spend a lot of time thinking about SpongeBob's sexuality.

    You are unfortunately correct that a small number of far right Christians usually are the loudmouths who claim they are speaking for all Christians, as in the recent Terri Schiavo case. Just because they speak up does not make them right or the majority. They are identified as far right and radical because they are.
     
  13. Apr 4, 2005 #33 of 120
    pjmrt

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    First, you (like most liberals) never really "got" Dr. Dobson's remark w.r.t. Spongebob. It wasn't about his "sexuality" (do sponges have sex anyway???). It was over having to sign a "tolerance" statement, which includes terms contrary to the Bible - namely homosexuality, and over the organizations pro-homosexual agenda. Despite your views on homosexuality, surely you would recognize that it would be important for a minister of God to take a controversial stand rather than "play to the world" and accept/support something he believes is morally wrong. I've heard here conservative Christians referred to as "hypocrites" - this appears to be the direct opposite of hypocrite, and yet you continue to ridicule. Well, most of us understood the issue. :)

    And yes, there are some "wild hares" that say things that we may not agree with. But that is the exception, not the rule. I think we've seen the Terri Schiavo episode was NOT a far right or radical comments. People on all sides chimed in. As to Dobson and his remarks, I suspect most Christians support him on it. You can belittle him if you like, but most know he is an excellent example of how to live the Christian life - and he offers a whole lot more good advice for families and relationships in one sermon than I ever heard from the liberal side. :D
     
  14. Apr 4, 2005 #34 of 120
    Laverne

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    Well, I guess I have to consider myself more of a "fundamentalist", then.

    I do believe the earth (and everything else) was created by God in 6 days. Whether that's 6 ACTUAL days or 6 milleniums may be open for debate, but I believe He could actually do it in 6 days (or 6 milliseconds for that matter), and it doesn't usually affect my everyday decisions.

    I also believe that the Word of God is inerrant, IN ITS ORIGINAL FORM, Hebrew and Greek. I don't believe that some modern-day translations are completely accurate, e.g. The Good News Bible. However, I also do not believe that King James and his scholars had a monopoly on the interpretation. My FIL would disagree with me, but he's even more conservative than I am.

    The definitions presented here remind me of the differences and recent arguments between liberal Southern Baptists and conservative Southern Baptists. I, of course, being conservative. But I say that "in love", as one of my best friends since 6th grade would consider herself in the liberal category, by definition. (She has kept me out of a lot of trouble, and of course there's a lot more upon which we agree, rather than disagree.) I still consider the likes of Jerry Falwell and Pat Buchanan to be "quacks", for lack of a better word.

    HOWEVER>>>>>I'm reminded of what my youth director used to say......

    "THE MAIN THING........IS TO MAKE THE MAIN THING.........THE MAIN THING!"

    Jesus died (and rose again!) for my sins, and when I was 7 years old I decided on my own to accept Him as my personal Savior, and that's the only Way to get to Heaven, and I'm going there someday!

    Wow! No smilies! :)
     
  15. Apr 4, 2005 #35 of 120
    Bogy

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    That is your opinion. The group of "spokesmen" that always get trotted out when the media wants a comment from a religious leader, are fundamentalist, not evangelical, not mainstream.

    It was not far right, but it was the minority of American Christians. Very much the minority.

    Dobson has made some good points. He has also done a lot of harm on other points. I have a suspicion you have not actually listened to a lot of liberal sermons in order to make that judgment. :lol:
     
  16. Apr 4, 2005 #36 of 120
    pjmrt

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    Well as I've already posted, that's wrong. Evangelical, is not as generalized as you claim - and does not (and has not) represent liberal theology. Barna Research puts the definition as
    and the Princeton study
    and
    I'm sorry if you feel excluded by these definitions, but I didn't make them up.
    http://www.religioustolerance.org/evan_defn.htm
    http://www.religioustolerance.org/chr_divi3.htm for a comparison of my Southern Baptist beliefs, which we claim as evangelical.
    To be certain, other definitions may exist too. But generally, they at least include "infallable" - namely, (for example) there was a king named David, there was an exodus... Since Jesus Himself said the scriptures were from God, when he said the law came through Moses -- presupposing there was a Moses then I would expect. Anyway, if you prefer to label us Baptists, Methodists .... as fundamental instead of evangelical - go for it. As long as we aren't among the liberal sect - or is that modern day gnostics?

    Whatever the label, a majority of "conservative" denominations share basic core beliefs - beliefs which differ from liberal denominations. Yes, there are probably some commonality. But to include both under the title of "evangelical" is misleading. And more to the point, it is not what the press intends when they use the term.
     
  17. Apr 4, 2005 #37 of 120
    RichW

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    But Jesus IS a liberal!
     
  18. Apr 4, 2005 #38 of 120
    pjmrt

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    Wrong again. Minority of American Christians - from such diverse groups as Catholics and Protestants? Yes there was division, and division within individual churches about what is right. It was not a view of the "far right" - and one does not have to look hard to see that, with the statements of Jesse Jackson, someone you either convienently group into the far right (I bet he would had a good laugh on that one - then give you a good tongue thrashing :lol: ).

    from a story in Reuters...
    No, this was a battleground over two tough points of view and there were a mixture of people on both sides.

    Harm? Like what? And you'd probably be surprised at just how many different points of view I have listened to. And I can tell the difference between a good sermon and a speach of human philosophy.
     
  19. Apr 4, 2005 #39 of 120
    pjmrt

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    Really? - Based on what exactly? Anyway, to correct you, Jesus is The King, the Savior, and God in the flesh - part of the triune nature of God. I doubt he cares for labels you are anyone else comes up with. But if you're saying He's a liberal because you think incorrectly that He rejects the scriptures, then I suggest you haven't read what He said about them or how often He quoted them. His own words
    To paraphrase CS Lewis
     
  20. Apr 5, 2005 #40 of 120
    Bogy

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    Just where does this definition say anything about the Bible being inerrant? "Accurate in all it teaches?" That is not the same thing. Or that creation took six twentyfour hour days? That isn't what "Created the universe" says either. I have no problem with that statement and agree with it and feel it represents me as an Evangelical.

    And the researcher I quoted earlier has a still more inclusive definition of Evangelical than these.
    I have stated from the beginning that the problem was one of inaccurate definition, so quoting another on line dictionary hardly proves anything. I'm sorry if I keep disagreeing with your attempt to exclude me, but you still don't really have a handle on what I believe, and this discourse only serves to illustrate that. Such as somehow thinking that I don't believe in a King named David or in a leader called Moses.

    It is nice of you to acknowledge that "liberal" denominations might have "some" commonality with conservative denominations. I think there is more commonality than you are either willing to admit or realize. That or your experience with liberal Methodists and non-Missouri Synod Lutherans has been minimal at best. :lol:

    I really don't care what the press thinks when they use the term Evangelical. What I have expressed throughout this thread is a frustration that it is a term of deep and long standing tradition that fundamentalists have appropriated for themselves. One of the four primary root denominations that makes up the United Church of Christ was the Evangelical Synod of the United States, or the German Evangelical Church. Now we can't even use that historical term in describing ourselves, not because we are not Evangelical, but because we don't WANT to be identified as a fundamentalist church.

    Evangelical means to bring the good news. The Good News of Jesus Christ has nothing to do with how long it took God to create the universe or whether every scribe copied everything down faithfully. It describes the action of those who love God and share the message. Stop getting hung up on trivialities.
     
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