Christianity, Democracy, And Human Rights

Discussion in 'Political Science' started by Anansi the Spider, Sep 15, 2012.

  1. Anansi the Spider

    Anansi the Spider Well-Known Member

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    History often seems just a long record of oppression. Fortunately many Christians have defended the people from tyranny.

    A few heroes of liberty, many of whom were Christian:

    1787 - 1863 Richard Whately
    1775 - 1863 Lyman Beecher
    1767 - 1835 K. Wilhelm Freiherr von Humboldt
    1767 - 1832 Jean-Baptiste Say
    1767 - 1830 Benjamin Constant
    1759 - 1833 William Wilberforce
    1758 - 1808 Fisher Ames
    1758 - 1843 Noah Webster
    1751 - 1836 James Madison
    1745 - 1807 Oliver Ellsworth
    1743 - 1826 Thomas Jefferson
    1737 - 1832 Charles Carroll of Carrollton
    1731 - 1806 Benjamin Banneker
    1729 - 1803 Anders Chydenius
    1729 - 1797 Edmund Burke
    1728 - 1787 Ferdinando Galiani
    1727 - 1781 Anne Robert Jacques Turgot
    1725 - 1783 Samuel Cooper
    1724 - 1806 Isaac Backus
    1723 - 1790 Adam Smith
    1723 - 1794 John Witherspoon
    1694 - 1746 Francis Hutcheson
    1672 - 1719 Joseph Addison
    1644 - 1718 William Penn
    1632 - 1694 Samuel von Pufendorf
    1632 - 1704 John Locke
    1613 - 1662 Sir Henry Vane
    1608 - 1674 John Milton
    1583 - 1660 Juan de Lugo
    1583 - 1645 Hugo Grotius
    1558 - 1602 William Perkins
    1557 - 1638 Johannes Althusius
    1548 - 1617 Francisco Suarez
    1535 - 1600 Luis de Molina
    1516 - 1590 Girolamo Zanchi
    1499 - 1563 Francisco Marroquín
    1474 - 1566 Bartholomew de Las Casas
    1469 - 1534 Tommaso de Cajetan
    1380 - 1444 St. Bernardino of Siena
    1380 - 1444 St. Bernardino of Siena
    1332 - 1406 Ibn Khaldun
    1225 - 1274 Saint Thomas Aquinas
    1096 - 1141 Hugh of St. Victor

    Check out the website: A History of Liberty
     
  2. Anansi the Spider

    Anansi the Spider Well-Known Member

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    Here’s Jürgen Habermas‎, one of the world’s most influential philosophers: Christianity has functioned for the normative self-understanding of modernity as more than a mere precursor or a catalyst. Egalitarian universalism, from which sprang the ideas of freedom and social solidarity, of an antonomous conduct of life and emancipation, of the individual morality of conscience, human rights, and democracy, is the direct heir to the Judaic ethic of justice and the Christian ethic of love. This legacy, substantially unchanged, has been the object of continual critical appropriation and reinterpretation. To this day, there is no alternative to it. And in the light of the current challenges of a postnational constellation, we continue to draw on the substance of this heritage. Everything else is just idle postmodern talk.

    LINK
     
  3. Anansi the Spider

    Anansi the Spider Well-Known Member

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    Christians have opposed gladitorial combat: Telemachus: The Monk Who Ended the Coliseum Games

    fought slavery: The Abolitionists
    Despised and often attacked, they courageously carried the slaves' cause for thirty years. Why have these inescapably Christian men and women been forgotten?

    William Wilberforce

    demanded rights for Native Americans: Theodore Frelinghuysen

    fought discrimination: Southern Christian Leadership Conference

    supported rights for women: Woman's Christian Temperance Union

    called for peace during World War I: Pope Benedict XV's Peace Note of 1 August 1917

    combated the Nazis: Christian Opposition to Nazi Anti-Semitism

    combated Communism: Emotional Walesa Thanks Pope For His Support Of Solidarity

    Remembering Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn

    fought for human rights in East Timor: 2 accept Nobel Peace Prize for East Timor work

    called for peace in the Mideast: Time to move on Mideast peace
    Desmond Tutu and Jimmy Carter reflect on the stalled efforts to achieve peace in the Middle East in USA Today.

    opposed infanticide/abortion: Priests for Life
     
  4. Anansi the Spider

    Anansi the Spider Well-Known Member

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  5. Shiva_TD

    Shiva_TD Progressive Libertarian Past Donor

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    They defended people from tyranny in spite of their religious beliefs and several, such as Thomas Jefferson, were deists and not Christians as they didn't believe in a personal god.

    Shall we list all of the Christians that were unquestionably tyrannical such as those that lead the Spanish inquisition, the conquest of the Americas, the Crusades and the Salem Witch Trials?
     
  6. Anansi the Spider

    Anansi the Spider Well-Known Member

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    At the heart of Jesus' message is treating others with respect. Of course this influenced many Christians to oppose tyranny!

    Jefferson would disagree.

    quote: The practice of morality being necessary for the well being of society, He [God] has taken care to impress its precepts so indelibly on our hearts that they shall not be effaced by the subtleties of our brain. We all agree in the obligation of the moral principles of Jesus and nowhere will they be found delivered in greater purity than in His discourses.

    quote: I am a Christian in the only sense in which He wished anyone to be: sincerely attached to His doctrines in preference to all others.

    quote: I am a real Christian – that is to say, a disciple of the doctrines of Jesus Christ.

    LINK

    quote: I concur with the author in considering the moral precepts of Jesus as more pure, correct, and sublime than those of ancient philosophers.

    LINK

    quote from Jefferson's 1785 Notes on the State of Virginia: "Can the liberties of a nation be thought secure when we have removed their only firm basis, a conviction in the minds of the people that these liberties are of the gift of God? That they are not to be violated but with his wrath? Indeed, I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just; that his justice cannot sleep forever; that considering numbers, nature and natural means only, a revolution of the wheel of fortune, an exchange of situation is among possible events; that it may become probable by supernatural interference! The Almighty has no attribute which can take side with us in such a contest."

    Those who follow Jesus' teachings should oppose tyranny.

    Myths about the Spanish Inquisition are mostly based on anti-Hispanic bigotry.

    The Real Inquisition
    Investigating the popular myth.

    Many of the Crusades were entirely defensive!
     
  7. Anansi the Spider

    Anansi the Spider Well-Known Member

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    What about non-Christianity, democracy, and human rights...

    *Can atheism provide a widely-accepted, firmly-established ethical system as a basis for democracy and human rights?

    *Is the diminished view of man found amongst materialists a useful prop for tyrants? If men are just sacks of chemicals why do they deserve rights?

    *Has deontological ethics failed?

    Alasdair MacIntyre in After Virtue: "Kant himself tries to show that such maxims as 'Always tell the truth', 'Always keep promises', 'Be benevolent to those in need' and 'Do not commit suicide' pass his test, while such maxims as 'Only keep promises when it is convenient to you' fail. In fact however, even to approach a semblance of showing this, he has to use notoriously bad arguments"

    According to MacIntyre these non-moral maxims can be universalized and therefore pass Kant's test.

    *Is Ayn Rand sinister?

    *Are Utilitarians even more dangerous? Influential Utilitarian philosopher Peter Singer thinks it is okay to kill handicapped babies.

    The case against Peter Singer

    *Were Lenin and Trotsky mass-murderers who hated freedom?

    *Can science deliver ethical principles?

    Science And Morality: You Can’t Derive 'Ought' From 'Is'

    *Has there ever been a stable, enduring democracy that was non-Christian? Modern secular Europeans might offer an example if they weren't rapidly going extinct.

    Secular thinkers from Machiavelli to Mussolini to the Marquis de Sade have failed to uphold human dignity.
     
  8. HonestJoe

    HonestJoe Well-Known Member Past Donor

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    No, but then neither can theism. It would be possible to establish such a system without a basis in a divine being though.

    It can be but then so can religion.

    Had to look that up to be honest but I don't really think so. I'm not convinced any form of ethics has failed but human beings have failed pretty much every form of ethics.

    Don't know, don't really care. I don't see the significance of any one individual in this.

    Not especially I don't think. Plenty of individuals in pretty much any group you care to think of have said or done bad things.

    Probably grossly simplistic reviews but I'm sure they're not entirely inaccurate. I guess all Russians are evil.

    Not directly, but it isn't meant to. Neither can football, chocolate or trees but that doesn't make them bad things.

    That rather depends on your definitions and criteria but Ancient Greece and periods of Ancient Roman are classic examples and a number of European countries, Canada and Australia are modern ones.

    So have religious thinkers. So have a whole load of unthinking people. In fact, there is only one common factor in the failure. It's why we're both failing here too.
     
  9. Shiva_TD

    Shiva_TD Progressive Libertarian Past Donor

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    This is fundamentally true but it should be pointed out that religion itself is completely unnecessary in addressing the inalienable Rights of the Individual and the opposition to tyranny which violates those Rights. What we have are many Christians that endorse a purely secular philosophy that the purpose of government is to protect the inalienable Rights of the People which results in an opposition to tyranny.

    We also have millions of Christians that, based upon their religious beliefs, support tyranny as well and that is a sad fact that cannot be ignored. It isn't the religion that's the problem or the solution but instead it's the basic understanding of inalienable Rights and that the purpose of government is to protect those Rights of the Individual.
     
  10. Anansi the Spider

    Anansi the Spider Well-Known Member

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    Did the Romans free their slaves? Or did the Romans enjoy watching slaves hack each other to death? Did the Romans offer freedom of speech? Athens was probably the most democratic Greek city state, but it was a flawed democracy and rather unstable. Slaves, metics, and women were never given the vote.

    During the Middle Ages slavery decreased.

    Consider St. Anselm, who called "a national church council. In 1102 they meet in London on the small island of Thorney, where the abbey of Edward the Confessor stands. At the Council of Westminster the British clergy condemn slavery as contrary to Christ's teaching and declare, "Let no one hereafter presume to engage in that nefarious trade in which hitherto in England men were usually sold like brute animals."

    LINK
     
  11. Anansi the Spider

    Anansi the Spider Well-Known Member

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    I guess that you can gamble that atheists' personal preferences will just happen to coincide with the same principles championed by Christian philosophers like John Locke: God, Locke and Equality: Christian Foundations of Locke's Political Thought

    quote: Locke contemplates the consequences for mankind if there were no God and no divine law. The result would be moral anarchy. Every individual “could have no law but his own will, no end but himself. He would be a god to himself, and the satisfaction of his own will the sole measure and end of all his actions”.

    Please note the bolded part: We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

    I don't know why you call this a "purely secular philosophy".

    For example?
     
  12. HonestJoe

    HonestJoe Well-Known Member Past Donor

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    As I said, it depends on your criteria. I'm sure a lot of religious (or religiously dominated) democracies can be challenged on similar grounds.

    Decreased from what? "Middle Ages" has a huge and somewhat fuzzy scope and if you include serfdom as a form of slavery, it could be said to have been widespread. Regardless, that has little to do with religious belief or democracy.

    Nice words but it didn't actually achieve anything did it? For hundreds of years after that slaves were taken and held by the British, both Christian and not, through true monarchy and early democracy.

    Maybe religion and democracy are the automatically pinnacles of virtue your imply they are.
     
  13. Anansi the Spider

    Anansi the Spider Well-Known Member

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    Serfs were not slaves, they had rights.

    quote: The life of medieval serfs, he insisted, 'had nothing in common with slavery' Serfs were not chattels; they had rights and a substantial degree of control over their lives. They married whom they wished and their families were not subject to sale or dispersal. They paid rent and therefore could determine the hours and the pace of their work.

    LINK

    I don't know why you think those who opposed slavery were not inspired by their faith.

    St. Eligius: Redemption of Slaves, c. 630

    Who Killed Slavery?

    Roman Catholic Church Teaching on Slavery

    Slavery diminished throughout the Middle Ages.
     
  14. HonestJoe

    HonestJoe Well-Known Member Past Donor

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    Not fully slaves but serfdom shares some aspects with slavery. They certainly weren't free and, getting vaguely back on your topic, they didn't have any democracy, even when their lords were "good" Christians.

    I never said anything of the sort. Some opponents of slavery were inspired by their faith. Some opponents of slavery were regardless of their faith. Equally though, some people have used faith or religion to support slavery.

    My point is that religion in general and Christianity in particular doesn't automatically inspire good governance and non-Christians can be perfectly capable of providing it.

    Again, "Middle Ages" is too wide and unspecific a term to make such definitive statements. I encompasses hundreds of years and a third of the globe. Like pretty much everything else, the practice of slavery will have varied hugely on both scales. And again, religion will not automatically correlate with the positive.
     
  15. Shiva_TD

    Shiva_TD Progressive Libertarian Past Donor

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    I believe that the real point is that there are people, regardless of any other criteria, that oppose tyranny. It's certainly not related to religion or Christianity as most Southern Christians in the Confederacy believed that slavery was supported by Christianity for example. Racists today in America often associate themselves with Christianity.

    The opposition of tyranny, whether by government or individuals, is opposed universally by hundreds of millions of people where that is really their only common trait. There are socialists that oppose tyranny just as there are capitalists that oppose tyranny. The devout religious believer and the athiest can both oppose tyranny. There are Hindus, Buddhists, Muslims, Christians and Jews that oppose tyranny. There are those of every nationality, race and ethnic background that oppose tyranny. The only common trait is the opposition of tyranny between many of these groups.
     
  16. Anansi the Spider

    Anansi the Spider Well-Known Member

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    More likely to see the anti-religious as racists. The best way to disempower minorities is to reduce their numbers. The abortion industry, often associated with irreligion, has decimated minority communities.

    Black Genocide

    Communists, who are of course fanatic atheists, have taken delight in abortion in China, Russia, Vietnam and many other countries. In 1920 the Soviet Union became the first country to legalize abortion.

    Vietnam Abortion Rates Very High, One Woman Dies Every Five Days

    Margaret Sanger and Bernard Nathanson were central figures in the pro-abortion movement. Both were atheists.

    Nathanson later turned against abortion and atheism: Dr Bernard Nathanson: abortion activist and historian
     
  17. Shiva_TD

    Shiva_TD Progressive Libertarian Past Donor

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    http://news.usc.edu/#!/article/26776/Study-Links-Religious-Groups-and-Racial-Bias

    It might be a hard pill to swollow for many Christians but the fact is that racism is more closely associated with those holding religious beliefs than those that don't.

    We also see religious organizations that are willing to violate the right to equal protection under the law related to the legal institution of marriage, which has absolutely nothing to do with the religious institution of marriage, and abortion where the right of the woman over the sovereignty of her own body is compromised by laws that attack that Right of sovereignty. This small segment of extremist Christians refuse to accept that there is no historical precedent for ever believing that the preborn, prior to the "quickening" (viabililty), have ever been considered anything but the human tissue of the woman. They condemn the US Supreme Court decision in Roe v Wade but have never been able to present any arguments as to how it is possibly flawed.

    If Christians supported the inalienable Rights of the Individual then they would be for same-sex marriage and pro-choice and many actually are. If "Christianity" as a religion supported the inalienable Rights of the Individual there would not be Christains that support laws that infringe upon those Rights but many Christians do oppose those Rights.
     
  18. Strasser

    Strasser Banned

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    This can't be determined from the study, and of course it defines Christians as white, which isn't the case, nor does it point out that whites aren't the only racists, or even the worst racists in history. They've been pretty bad at all this 'genocide' they've allegedly inflicted on a hapless, peaceful planet for centuries, considering Christian countries are the most racially mixed and diverse countries. This has to do with the built-in self-correcting ideals in Christianity, not atheism, which has no premise other than non-belief, and hence no social and political catalysts for anything but non-belief.

    Conflating issues like homosexual marriage, merely a fashionable farce, and opposition to abortions of convenience aren't exclusively opposed by Christians.

    These sort of hyperbolic essays usually proceed to endorse denying Christians' rights and demonizing them with cognitively dissonant rubbish.
     
  19. Anansi the Spider

    Anansi the Spider Well-Known Member

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    Wow another self-serving study showing how superior white upper class liberals are to everyone else. Sorry but feelings of religious solidarity are not necessarily sinister. Maybe the non-religious are good at providing the "right" PC answers to survey questions, but how much care do they provide for their fellow man?

    quote: Finally, the single biggest predictor of whether someone will be charitable is their religious participation.
    Religious people are more likely to give to charity, and when they give, they give more money: four times as much. And Arthur Brooks told me that giving goes beyond their own religious organization:
    "Actually, the truth is that they're giving to more than their churches," he says. "The religious Americans are more likely to give to every kind of cause and charity, including explicitly non-religious charities."

    LINK

    Do you think a brother has the right to marry his sister?

    It is the abortion industry that discards the rights of unborn babies over the sovereignty of their own bodies.

    What ignorance! Of course unborn babies are separate humans.

    Ten Legal Reasons to Reject Roe
     
  20. Anansi the Spider

    Anansi the Spider Well-Known Member

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    Atheism in the West is a lily white, upper class, mostly male phenomenon. So many within the atheist leadership impose ugly stereotypes on religious folks, non-whites - the great majority of the human race. The goal is to dehumanize the poor in preparation for their disempowerment and even extermination.

    Atheists Margaret Sanger, Slobodan Milosevic, Bill Maher (who was given an award by an important atheist organization) - all devoted to bigotry.

    Atheist apologist Richard Lynn and prominent atheist James Watson are also enthusiastic bigots.

    And here's the leaders of the "new atheism":

    Atheist Christopher Hitchens has condemned Moslems because they have sinned against secularism. He demonizes religious folk to justify their murder. He aches to kill even without provocation.

    quote: It is impossible to compromise with the proponents of sacrificial killings of civilians, the disseminators of anti-Semitic filth, the violators of women and the cheerful murderers of children.
    It is also impossible to compromise with the stone-faced propagandists for Bronze Age morality: morons and philistines who hate Darwin and Einstein and managed, during their brief rule in Afghanistan, to ban and erase music and art while cultivating the skills of germ warfare. If they could do that to Afghans, what might they not have in mind for us? In confronting such people, the crucial thing is to be willing and able, if not in fact eager, to kill them without pity before they get started.

    LINK

    Sam Harris has called for a nuclear first strike against the Islamic world.

    quote: Harris, echoing the blood lust of Hitchens, calls, in his book The End of Faith, for a nuclear first strike against the Islamic world. He defends torture as a logical form of interrogation. He, like all utopians, has reduced millions of human beings and cultures he knows nothing about to primitive impediments to his vision of a better world.
    "What will we do if an Islamist regime, which grows dewy-eyed at the mere mention of paradise, ever acquires long-range nuclear weaponry?" Harris asks. "If history is any guide, we will not be sure about where the offending warheads are or what their state of readiness is, and so we will be unable to rely on targeted, conventional weapons to destroy them. In such a situation, the only thing likely to ensure our survival may be a nuclear first strike of our own.

    LINK

    And let's not forget these nuts: Creativity
     
  21. Shiva_TD

    Shiva_TD Progressive Libertarian Past Donor

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    The study was conducted in the United States and would only be applicable to the United States although we can demonstrate historically that religions in general have very often been the cause behind tyranny.

    We would also have to look at other known facts related to racism in America such as the FBI statistics on racially motivated hate crimes where an African-American is 22-times more likely to be the victim of a racial hate crime than a white person. This only relates to hate crimes though and not to racial discrimination which denies equality of opportunity, a violation of the inalienable Rigths of the Person, and there are other studies and statistics that support this non-criminal violation of a person's inalienable Rgithss. For example African-Americans have well over double the unemployment rates when compared to whites in America. They're looking for the same jobs but are denied employment based upon the color of their skin which leads to this higher unemployment rate. Addtionally, even when an African-American has superior qualifications, such as an MBA degree, they earn less than the average white male with any four-year colledge degree.

    In short numerous studies have shown that the typical racists is more likely to be white, a Christian, and hold conservative political beliefs in the United States. This does not imply that white Christian conservatives are racists but another study indicates that 51% of the American People have racial prejudice which is a shocking statistic and if we were to profile racists in American today they would more often than not be white Christian conservatives. Not all but certainly most.
     
  22. Anansi the Spider

    Anansi the Spider Well-Known Member

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    Communist atheists in only 80 years killed about 94 million! And the number of deaths caused by atheism is much higher. An atheist, Stalin, along with his fellow Christian-hater Hitler started the worst war in human history. And don't forget all the deaths caused by right wing atheists like Mussolini, who was in part inspired by another blood-thirsty atheist Nietzsche. And don't forget the Armenian genocide, committed by secular fanatics: the Young Turks.

    Please also remember that the austere atheist philosophy has never attracted a large number of believers. Under 3% of the world population is atheist. So a small number of atheists are responsible for a tremendous amount of carnage. On a per capita basis atheists are by far the worst murderers in human history.

    Recent examples of atheist intolerance and brutality: Chinese Police Proudly Record Their Torture of Christians

    New Reports Tell of Executions, Torture of Christians in North Korea
    New reports from former North Korean eye-witnesses indicate that the totalitarian government tortures, executes Christians and people related to the faith.

    50,000 Christians tortured and abused in North Korean prisons

    Interesting because African Americans are far more religious than white people.

    And wouldn't you agree the (devoutly secular) media elite is eager to fan the flames of racism.
     
  23. Anansi the Spider

    Anansi the Spider Well-Known Member

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  24. Anansi the Spider

    Anansi the Spider Well-Known Member

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  25. Charlatan2

    Charlatan2 New Member

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    Yes, there is money in racism, where people are divided there is power to be had too. How can you say the church is fanning flames of racism? does this get them money? if the church was to be racist, they would have to cover it up, and, with your sources, they have not done so. it appears that the church is racist, but why? there must be a motive? if it gives them power, what good is power over a agitated people? do they want to see war? i doubt that the church wants to play war games! if they wanted a war, they would say bad things through the media about their 'enemies,' and then there would be a mud slinging match going on.

    Has anyone taken on the church? has anyone of note said bad things about the church? if you look to the near east, everything chiristian is wrong, you could say, as they do not like america getting rich off their backs. this is political, and where there is people, there is religion.

    Religion is a good thing. it is good because the people in charge will try to make a good image for themselves and those under them int he church, to get good publicity and more money. this is a hand washing a hand sort of thing, and, the church will try to do it as bes they can.

    If some person in the church wants to 'fan flames' of racism, then they won't last long.
     

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