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I'm new, but I'm going to jump right in with a new topic. I just found this website and love the content and mission. But I'm looking in vain for an opportunity for direct action as part of a unified effort. I was just talking to a friend who is also tired of the religious right having appropriated the Bible and God and Christianity generally in support of a constitutional amendment to discriminate against homosexuals. The other side buys full-page ads. I heard Ray Suarez say the other day that if the Christian Left were to organize, we would do so ineptly and apologetically, calling ourselves "A Christian Coalition" rather than "The Christian Coalition." Who's organizing the e-mail lists and ad campaigns on our side? We're ready to stuff envelopes.

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LawProfsr:

Welcome!

I am an active member of the Natural Law Party. Our goals are to create a U.S.Peace Government, dedicated to the idea of peace breaking out in the world, instead of war all the time. We are on the way to replacing one or both of the dominant parties in this democracy with a party dedicated to proven methods of Conflict Resolution, and attitude change inimical to the use of brute force all the time.There is a better way-through Natural Law- to turn win-lose into win-win solutions. The reality of God is all around us if we could but see it.Thomas 113.There is a third side, and I am convinced that Christianity is on that side, with a host of others of like mind.

 

Jeep

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Here are some "Liberal" Religious political organizations to know about:

 

1. The Interfaith Alliance - The Interfaith Alliance (www.interfaithalliance.org)

 

2. Here's another progressive Christian resource to check out. It's a brand new interfaith and ecumenical organization called Clergy Leadership Network. They are based in D.C. and seem similar to the Interfaith Alliance.

 

Clergy Leadership Network (www.clnnlc.org)

 

3. Also, check out The Call to Renewal network sponsored by the Sojourner's Community - Sojo.net (www.sojo.net)

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Dear LawProfsr,

 

I don't have real answers, but I just wanted to state that I concur with your observations and feel a kindred spirit. I am so tired of being bombarded with "The Christian" political positition. They don't represent my views or beliefs. I suppose it has something to do with money--I'm amazed at the amount of money these organizations are able to raise. For the record--I'm up for envelope stuffing anytime! You raise a provacative and important observation.

 

Sophia

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[/b]

 

Watchdog Group Seeks Action From Federal Tax Agency Against Westover Hills Church Of Christ

 

The Internal Revenue Service should investigate an Austin church that allowed a Republican rally and fund-raiser in its sanctuary, says Americans United for Separation of Church and State.

 

In a formal complaint to the Internal Revenue Service today, Americans United asserted that the Westover Hills Church of Christ engaged in illegal partisan politicking by allowing Legacy PAC to hold a Feb. 5 "Call to Victory" event at the church. The meeting featured state Republican Party officials and GOP candidates, and during the event, the PAC collected money for Republican campaigns.

 

Federal tax law prohibits 501©(3) tax-exempt organizations, including churches, from intervening in political campaigns on behalf of candidates for public office.

 

The partisan character of the event at the Austin church was confirmed by William O. Pate, a local university student who attended "Call to Victory" and drafted a written summary of the meeting. The student's report of the event and documents about it from Legacy PAC's website were submitted to the IRS by Americans United.

 

Two officials with the Texas Republican Party spoke at the event - party Chair Tina J. Benkiser and Treasurer Susan Howard Chrane. During their remarks, Benkiser and Chrane promoted Republican candidates, including President George W. Bush. Republican candidates also distributed literature and sought votes at the event, which opened with a prayer led by a church elder.

 

During the meeting, an official with the Legacy PAC announced that he intended to collect $5,000 for Republican candidates in the church that night. Church collection plates were then passed through the pews.

 

Said the Rev. Barry W. Lynn, Americans United executive director, "I am shocked that politicians and clergy would convert a church sanctuary into a smoke-filled back room. Houses of worship are supposed to focus on winning souls, not winning elections."

 

In a March 12 complaint to the IRS, Lynn wrote, "Church support of this partisan event appears to violate the IRS Code, which prohibits intervention by tax-exempt organizations in political campaigns on behalf of candidates for public office. The church not only allowed its facilities to be used by Republican candidates seeking office, but also permitted a political action committee to fund-raise for Republican candidates in the church sanctuary. This appears to be a clear violation of federal tax law."

 

Section 501©(3) of the IRS Code prohibits tax-exempt organizations, including churches, from intervening in political campaigns on behalf of or in opposition to candidates for public office.

 

The IRS has a "zero tolerance" policy for violations. In 1995, the federal agency revoked the tax exemption of the Church at Pierce Creek in upstate New York after the church paid for newspaper advertisements against presidential candidate Bill Clinton in 1992. The IRS investigation was sparked by a formal complaint filed by Americans United. The federal courts later upheld the revocation.

 

Americans United sponsors a special non-partisan effort called "Project Fair Play" that seeks to educate houses of worship about the requirements of federal tax law relating to politics. In cases where the facts warrant, AU reports incidents to the IRS.

 

"We are always reluctant to take the step of asking the IRS to investigate a church," said Lynn, "but in some cases, the apparent disregard of federal law is so flagrant and egregious that there is no other choice."

 

Americans United is a religious liberty watchdog group based in Washington, D.C. Founded in 1947, the organization educates Americans about the importance of church-state separation in safeguarding religious freedom.

 

If you received this message from a friend, sign up for AU email alerts. If you are a member of Americans United, thank you. To help Americans United by funding our work, please join AU or renew your membership today by visiting our secure online gift center. Update your profile to receive information on church-state activity in your state.

 

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Beth Corbin

National Grassroots Organizer

 

Americans United for Separation of Church and State

518 C Street, NE

Washington, DC 20002 202-466-3234 telephone 202-466-2587 fax

corbin@au.org AUcorbin@aol.com

 

for more information please visit Americans United (www.au.org)

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Wow! Thanks for all the great responses. The Interfaith Alliance site looks helpful and hopeful. Maybe my church can do a voter registration project.

 

I do have an issue, though. While my theology tells me that all religious traditions can be valid paths to spiritual fulfillment--to God--the ex-political hack in me says that the public message that's lacking is that Christians in particular can be liberal. And not just weakly identified, nominal, cultural Christians, but passionate, strongly commited Christians. The issues of religious tolerance or the separation of church and state don't address this. Not to get too partisan, but it seems to me that a "Christians for Kerry" sign at a rally would send an interesting message that a "One Nation, Many Faiths" sign does not. But does this exacerbate intolerance towards non-Christians?

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I'd say no, a "Christians for Kerry" sign wouldn't imply any religious intolerance. It 1) doesn't imply that all Christians are for Kerry - merely that there is a group of Christians who back him; and 2) it doesn't preclude other groups from making their own signs - e.g. "Jews for Kerry" "Muslims for Kerry" "Hindus for Kerry" etc.

Frankly, a Christians for Kerry sign has a nice ring to it - in part because both Christians and Kerry begin with the same "kuh" sound. I say let's send 'em to press!

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Something to act QUICKLY on if it interests you!

 

Let Your Voice Be Heard!

 

Join Our Forum On

Religion In The 2004 Elections

 

Dear Interfaith Alliance Supporter:

 

As you may know, The Interfaith Alliance is hosting a National Issue Forum on March 17th in Washington, DC talking about the role of religion in the 2004 elections.

 

As you can guess, a good numbers of our supporters/activists live outside of The Beltway and cannot attend. However, we wanted to offer all of our supporters the opportunity to let your voice to be heard. Here’s how:

 

Email us a question that you’d really like one of our panelists (see below) to answer regarding the use and abuse of religion in the 2004 elections. You can address the question directly to a panelist OR to the group as a whole. Keep your question to a 150-words, include your first and last name and your city. We’ll ask as many questions as time permits and then post the answers on our website. Email your question to kbaldwin@interfaithalliance.orgCLICK HERE to learn more about this forum

 

Thanks for your help in making this event such a success and to helping get the issues we care about in to civic dialogue.

 

PANELISTS

Dr. Diana Eck, Director,

The Pluralism Project, Harvard University

 

Rev. Dr. James Forbes, Jr., Senior Minister,

The Riverside Church, New York City

 

Mr. Clarence Page, Syndicated Columnist,

The Chicago Tribune

 

Mr. Paul M. Weyrich, Chairman and CEO,

The Free Congress Foundation

 

Mr. John Zogby, President and CEO,

Zogby International

 

THANK YOU FOR YOUR CONTINUED SUPPORT!

THE INTERFAITH ALLIANCE

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Sojourners on the election issues

 

We've assembled our best coverage of the issues ranked highest on national polls of voter concerns, including:

 

Economy/jobs

National security/Terrorism/War with Iraq

Healthcare

Education

Taxes

Environment

Trade/globalization

Abortion

Gay rights

Immigration

 

Go to our special election issues page at: Sojourner's Election Issues

 

See how these issues rank in national polls at: PollingReport

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As you can see, the Call to Renewal and Sojourners tend are more in the evangelical than the progressive Christian camp, however they're "our" kind of evangelicals!! : )

 

Taking Jesus to the Voting Booth,

by Beth Kearney.

 

As a sophomore in college, I was convinced that

being an evangelical Christian translated into

voting a straight Republican ticket. Three years

later, I am discovering that my faith precludes a

blanket endorsement of any political party. Hot-

button legislative issues such as gay marriage,

abortion, and school prayer should not monopolize

the Christian citizen's voting agenda. As followers

of Jesus, issues affecting people in the margins -

the unborn, the aged, the orphaned, the disabled,

the poor, the oppressed - should always predominate

as factors in our personal and political choices.

 

My spiritual and political transformation occurred

during a summer in college when I simulated the

urban poverty experience in Tampa, Florida, with

InterVarsity Christian Fellowship. Here, I

encountered a neighbor whose two part-time jobs were

never enough to make ends meet after her husband of

10 years left her family. I met children hardened by

life in housing projects; each could name a friend

or family member killed by violence or drugs.

 

I also met a Christ who champions the cause of the

browbeaten and the beleaguered throughout the book

of Luke, continually charging listeners to seek

justice and care for poor people. After witnessing

these desperate situations, I decided that

Christians should combat poverty on every flank -

through our churches, community service

organizations, and our public policies.

 

As I prepare to vote now, I evaluate candidates

largely by how their priorities and legislation in

the past have either empowered or injured people

living in America's margins. I calculate the

benefits and weaknesses of new initiatives based on

their effects on citizens who truly struggle to make

ends meet. The prophet Isaiah supplies us with a

vision of a polity where homelessness and hunger are

unknown, where "no more shall there be an infant

that lives but a few days, or an old person who does

not live out a lifetime." These are the principles

on which we should operate as Christians; this is

the type of commonwealth we should pursue.

 

(Beth Kearney is a public policy intern at Call to

Renewal [http://www.calltorenewal.org], a national

network of churches, faith-based organizations, and

individuals working to overcome poverty in America.

Through local and national partnerships with groups

from across the theological and political spectrum,

they convene the broadest table of Christians

focused on anti-poverty efforts.)

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  • 2 weeks later...
I'm new, but I'm going to jump right in with a new topic. I just found this website and love the content and mission. But I'm looking in vain for an opportunity for direct action as part of a unified effort. I was just talking to a friend who is also tired of the religious right having appropriated the Bible and God and Christianity generally in support of a constitutional amendment to discriminate against homosexuals. The other side buys full-page ads. I heard Ray Suarez say the other day that if the Christian Left were to organize, we would do so ineptly and apologetically, calling ourselves "A Christian Coalition" rather than "The Christian Coalition." Who's organizing the e-mail lists and ad campaigns on our side? We're ready to stuff envelopes.

Here here. Sign me up!!!

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Check-out the following linkd for more info on that recent forum on the Role of Religion in the Upcoming Elections:

http://www.interfaithalliance.org/Election2004/Election2004.cfm?ID=5304

 

(copy & paste that address into your address bar)

 

Very powerful and eye-opening info addressed by that panel!

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  • 3 weeks later...

Carter's Crusade

Jimmy Carter explains how the Christian right isn't Christian at all.

By Ayelish McGarvey

Web Exclusive: 04.05.04

 

Former President Jimmy Carter, America's first evangelical Christian president, still teaches Sunday school at his Baptist church in Plains, Georgia, and he and his wife, Rosalynn, continue their human-rights work in developing nations through the Carter Center at Emory University. In recent months, the Carters toured Togo, Ghana, and Mali to raise awareness of the public-health needs of those nations. In February, Carter spoke about the role of evangelical Christianity in democratic politics with Prospect writing fellow Ayelish McGarvey.

 

Republicans have been extremely successful at connecting religion and values to issues like the fight against terrorism, abortion, and gay rights. Democrats have been far less adept at infusing our issues -- compassion, help for the poor, social justice -- with any sense of religious commitment or moral imperative. Why do you think that is?

 

When I was younger, almost all Baptists were strongly committed on a theological basis to the separation of church and state. It was only 25 years ago when there began to be a melding of the Republican Party with fundamentalist Christianity, particularly with the Southern Baptist Convention. This is a fairly new development, and I think it was brought about by the abandonment of some of the basic principles of Christianity.

 

..............For rest of article... click here:

 

prospect.org article

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Hey everyone :-) Good thread! I would like to second the recommendations of Sojourners, Call to Renewal, and The Interfaith Alliance.

 

There is also Progressive Christians Uniting in California.

 

And the Jewish/Interfaith Tikkun Community.

 

And national advocacy groups of Quakers and the ELCA and I'm sure many more mainline denominations - please add your own denominations!

 

And Soulforce, a GLBT-supporting nonviolent network.

 

Keep the links coming! :-)

 

~ Lib

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  • 3 weeks later...

I agree wholeheartedly with what's been said here. I too am tired of being told I'm 'not a proper Christian'. One of the reasons I still call myself a Christian is because it's my faith and I won't have it hi-jacked and misrepresented for political ends by fundamentalists.

 

 

But I see a problem faced by a 'Christian Left'. Most right-wingers would probably sympathise with the aims of right-wing religious fundies, but many onthe Left politically are also opposed to religion generally. Thisnis a problem I face when putting forward left-wing Christian views on discussion boards. many of the people who might sympathise politically say 'all religion is deception' etc. So it's an uphill struggle.

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PBS program Thursday night focuses on

"The Jesus Factor," President Bush

 

 

Thursday, April 29, at 9 P.M., the Rev. Dr. C. Welton Gaddy, president of The Interfaith Alliance, will be one of the featured sources on FRONTLINE®, the award-winning investigative program of the Public Broadcasting Service. Dr. Gaddy was interviewed by PBS in the chapel at the New York Avenue Presbyterian Church in Washington, D.C., across the street from the offices of The Interfaith Alliance. Excerpts of that interview are used in the program and he is highlighted in the press release from FRONTLINE®.

 

According to a news release from PBS:

“How George W. Bush became a born-again Christian--and the impact that decision has had on his political career--is the focus of the FRONTLINE® report “The Jesus Factor,” airing Thursday, April 29, at 9 P.M. on PBS (check local listings).

 

"In 'The Jesus Factor,' viewers hear from numerous evangelical Christians who say President Bush understands the 'heart and soul' of their beliefs and that his post-9/11 speeches comforted a grieving nation. FRONTLINE also speaks to those who feel the president has taken his rhetoric--and his religion--too far.

 

"If we turn religion into a tool for advancing political strategy, we treat it as anything other than a sacred part of life from which we draw values and strength," says Rev. Dr. C. Welton Gaddy, president of The Interfaith Alliance. "Any time that religion has identified itself with a particular political movement or a particular government, religion has been harmed by that."

 

To Check Local Listings

Read the complete press release

visit Interfaith Alliance

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  • 4 weeks later...

I have to agree that the Right Wing has long held the church hostage and we here on the left have let them do so. But I wonder what would happen if we got carried away. Would you want a group of Right Winger’s outside your lib. church on Sunday’s with signs that say ‘God hates Fag’s’, or would you want a violent group of agitated Baptist plotting the demise of some of our leaders. I think not.

While I think that we do need to take more action in our communities, I also think that we should not use the same tactics that our lost friends, the Right Wing, use. There are lots of ways that we can show what it really means to be a Christian and not deal in the same sludge that the right wallows in. I for one think that the sites that have been posted on here are great and that many of their slogans and sayings should be hanging on our bumpers. But never forget that when we hang one sign, or when we protest another thing, there will always be a large group of Evangelicals and ultra conservatives that are just waiting to point out how out of touch we are with the ‘real church’.

I say just be forbearing and we will see that the right wing of the church will die of its own insignificance. It reminds me of a visit my mother and step-father made to me a about a month ago. It was nice to visit with them, they came to my home to see my girlfriend and me. We talked for awhile and then decided to show them around a bit. I showed them the baby’s room, she is due June 8th, and then our bedroom. Of course sitting next to my bed was a Bible.

It didn’t take long for my step-dad to rummage through the pages and inform me of how I was living in sin and that if I didn’t get into a ‘local independent fundament Baptist’ church I would never really find my way. You see I go to the evil Episcopal church. You know, the one with the Gay bishop. Well, I couldn’t get a word in edgewise, but I did tell them that in light of all the research and all the study, I could never ever go back to being a fundamentalist. I told them that would be like walking backwards down a highway. I told them that they were more worried about my lake of faith in the Bible than about their own lack of knowledge of the real world. Of course, no matter what I had to say, they had a verse to back up what they had to say. You just can’t win against someone who thinks they can talk to God. You just can’t.

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  • 1 month later...

I agree that organization is the first key to taking back some influence and power from the religious right! I am excited about what the Kerry campaign just rolled out...a People of Faith section on their web site. On the site you can register and identify yourself as a Person of Faith. The possibilities to organize around a campaign have so much potential! And I believe that potential is just beginning to being tapped into. Check out the website: People of Faith for Kerry/Edwards

 

Another exciting thing that is coming out of the campaign is a grassroots movement to organize People of Faith for Kerry/Edwards Service Teams. It is a way to demonstrate how Progressives live out their faith...we don't just spew empty and pious words....Faith must be put to action.

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  • 1 month later...

Just received the following in an email from www.sojo.net:

 

  HEARTS & MINDS

Take back the faith

by Jim Wallis

 

Many of us feel that our faith has been stolen, and it's time to take it back. An enormous public misrepresentation of Christianity has taken place. Many people around the world now think Christian faith stands for political commitments that are almost the opposite of its true meaning. How did the faith of Jesus come to be known as pro-rich, pro-war, and pro-American? And how do we get back to a historic, biblical, and genuinely evangelical faith rescued from its contemporary distortions?

 

That rescue operation is even more crucial today, in the face of a social crisis that cries out for prophetic religion. The problem is clear in the political arena, where strident voices claim to represent Christians, when they clearly don't speak for most of us. We hear politicians who love to say how religious they are but utterly fail to apply the values of faith to their public leadership and political policies. It's time to take back our faith in the public square, especially in a time when a more authentic social witness is desperately needed.

 

When we do, we discover that faith challenges the powers that be to do justice for the poor, instead of preaching a "prosperity gospel" and supporting politicians that further enrich the wealthy. We remember that faith hates violence and tries to reduce it, and exerts a fundamental presumption against war, instead of justifying it in God's name. We see that faith creates community from racial, class, and gender divisions and prefers international community over nationalist religion, and we see that "God bless America" is found nowhere in the Bible. And we are reminded that faith regards matters such as the sacredness of life and family bonds as so important that they should never be used as ideological symbols or mere political pawns in partisan warfare.

 

The media likes to say, "Oh, then you must be the Religious Left." No, and the very question is the problem. Just because a Religious Right has fashioned itself in one predictable ideological guise does not mean that those who question this political seduction must be their opposite political counterpart. The best public contribution of religion is precisely not to be ideologically predictable nor a loyal partisan. To raise the moral issues of human rights, for example, will challenge both left- and right-wing governments who put power above principles. And religious action is rooted in a much deeper place than "rights" - that being the image of God in every human being.

 

Similarly, when the poor are defended on moral or religious grounds, it is not "class warfare" but rather a direct response to the overwhelming focus in the scriptures that claims the poor are regularly neglected, exploited, and oppressed by wealthy elites, political rulers, and indifferent affluent populations. Those scriptures don't simply endorse the social programs of liberals or conservatives, but make clear that poverty is indeed a religious issue and that the failure of political leaders to help uplift those in poverty will be judged a moral failing.

 

It is precisely because religion takes the problem of evil so seriously that it must always be suspicious of concentrated power - politically and economically - either in totalitarian regimes or in huge multinational corporations, which now have more wealth and power than many governments. It is indeed our theology of evil that makes us strong proponents of both political and economic democracy - not because people are so good, but because they often are not and need clear safeguards and strong systems of checks and balances to avoid the dangerous accumulations of power and wealth.

 

It's why we doubt the goodness of all superpowers and the righteousness of empires in any era, especially when their claims of inspiration and success invoke theology and the name of God. Given human tendencies for self-delusion and deception, is it any wonder that hardly a religious body in the world regards unilateral and pre-emptive war as "just?" Religious wisdom suggests that the more overwhelming the military might, the more dangerous its capacity for self- and public deception.

 

The loss of religion's prophetic vocation is terribly dangerous for any society. Who will uphold the dignity of economic and political outcasts? Who will question the self-righteousness of nations and their leaders? Who will question the recourse to violence and the rush to wars long before any last resort has been unequivocally proven? Who will not allow God's name to be used to simply justify ourselves, instead of calling us to accountability?

 

In an election year, the particular religiosity of a candidate, or even how devout they might be, is less important than how their religious and/or moral commitments and values shape their political vision and their policy commitments. Understanding the moral compass they bring to their public

lives and how their convictions shape their political priorities is the true litmus test.

 

This commentary originally appeared in the September issue of Sojourners, and in The Boston Globe on July 13

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God is not a Republican - Or a Democrat.

 

Jerry Falwell, Pat Robertson, and others on the Religious Right claim that God has taken a side in this election, and that Christians should only vote for George W. Bush. The Bush-Cheney campaign even told volunteers it was their "duty" to make church directories available to the campaign.

 

How has the love of Jesus, the Prince of Peace - and his good news to the poor - been distorted by the pro-war, pro-rich political agenda of the Religious Right? Our faith has been hijacked, and it's time to take it back!

 

Click below to sign our petition and send a message to America that God is not a Republican or a Democrat, and that the Religious Right does not speak for you. Remind America that Jesus taught us to be peacemakers, advocates for the poor, and defenders of justice.

 

www.takebackourfaith.org

 

With your help, Sojourners will also place a full-page advertisement in The New York Times, followed by local newspaper and online ads across the United States.

 

Please forward this e-mail to your family and friends. Tell faithful citizens to make their voices heard.

 

Sign the petition, support the campaign, and spread the word. Together we can take back our faith!

 

takebackourfaith.org

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'Evangelical Christianity Has Been Hijacked':

An Interview with Tony Campolo

Speaking out on gays, women and more, a progressive evangelical says 'We ought to get out of the judging business.'

Interview by Laura Sheahen

 

beliefnet.com

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