What are the rules on religious symbols?

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I am no lawyer, but I do have a genuine curiosity about controversial questions of our day, and try to learn as much as I can whenever I can.

That said, will somebody, preferably with legal analysis, please help me understand why evangelicals and/or governments are taken to court when a Nativity scene is displayed on government property, but the Jewish menorah can be placed on police cars, fire trucks and other government vehicles while parading down Washington Road, such as at Interstate 20 at 5:35 p.m. Dec. 1 during rush hour traffic.

Pardon the fun use of wording, but does the Jewish community get a "free ride" from the First Amendment? Or are only evangelicals and Muslims subject to litigation?

Although I enjoy the clever finesse through which this was done, who made the decision that allowed a religious group to use government property for the display of religious symbols on the above-said date, time and location, and is there a legal difference between government property that is stationary and government property that rolls?

Please help me understand.

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Jackson
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Jackson 12/10/10 - 06:34 am
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Beats me man. The freedom

Beats me man. The freedom from religion group seems to only target Christians. Maybe they feel the Jewish folks have been through enough oppresion, which they have.
I always thought Christmas was a Christian holiday. Tell me something all you government folks. How is a Nativity scene on government property hurting anyone? Some folks have taken the church and state thing way too far. I guess they're just bored and need to flex their egos.
By the way it's not "Happy Holidays" It's MERRY CHRISTMAS! Dig?

Fundamental_Arminian
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Fundamental_Arminian 12/10/10 - 07:05 am
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We must wait to see if

We must wait to see if someone with standing (that is, someone allegedly harmed) will file a lawsuit about the Jewish symbols on government property. Then the courts will decide whether the Constitution was violated.

Christians, it seems, have been more tolerant of other religious groups than those groups have been of Christians.

Jackson
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Jackson 12/10/10 - 07:54 am
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Retired Army you make a good

Retired Army you make a good point.

dani
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dani 12/10/10 - 08:33 am
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It doesn't sound like much of

It doesn't sound like much of a problem to me, but then, I am Christian and Jewish folks are important to me.

aladienfadel
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aladienfadel 12/10/10 - 09:12 am
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I am not a Christian. I am

I am not a Christian. I am not offended if any one wishes me a merry Christmas. We share happiness and sadness with our friends and neighbours. This is a happy occasion and all of us should enjoy it. All greatings from Christians, Jews and Muslims provide a positive amicable attitude. Whether you say merry Christmas, Ashalumu Alaykhum or Assalam Alaykum (Peace for you in Hebrew and Arabic) you are meaning well. God bless you all with kindness and forgiveness in the pursuit of happiness and for the love of God.

Robertson
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Robertson 12/10/10 - 09:44 am
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You start with a legitimate

You start with a legitimate question but then go off into a rant.
Legally: A menorah is not a sacred item; it is similar to the Christmas tree. Other religious symbols are different. That’s the legal definition as defined by the Supreme Court and as I understand it. The argument that the Christmas tree is a secular symbol is absurd.
Personally I am not bothered by a nativity scene. But I hope that you would treat other groups the same way. After all the Constitution is very clear that the US government should not endorse one religion over another.
The rest of your post I won’t comment on now…

stillamazed
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stillamazed 12/10/10 - 09:48 am
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It is only an issue of it is

It is only an issue of it is a Christian symbol, all others can do as they please. No one to blame but ourselves because those of us who are Christians have sat back and allowed it to happen without putting up enough of a fight. I am not nor have ever been bothered by other religious sysmbols, it doesn't even bother me when I meet an atheist, to each his own but don't try to disrespect me beliefs either, show me the same respect that I show to you.

aladienfadel
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aladienfadel 12/10/10 - 10:42 am
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Let us take this opportunity

Let us take this opportunity to improve our understanding. When I see the nativity scene reminding us of the birth of Jesus during the persecution of Jews under the Roman empire, I remeber the birth of Moses during the persecution of Jews under the Egyptian Pharoah. I remeber Moses as a baby in a floating basket in the Nile River to be picked up and raised by the Pahraoh himself. It is the same God who carried out His plans. Mutual respect for all religions is the way to go with or without constitutional rights.

MajorPaul
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MajorPaul 12/10/10 - 12:10 pm
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The "rules" set forth by the

The "rules" set forth by the US Supreme Court say that if an agency or group takes any federal money, they can not make anyone give honor to, mention, cause anyone to give credence to, or in any other way acknowledge a deity. This ruling was passed and the Court's opinion issued over a young lady in Utah singing in the school choir and being "made" to sing songs referring to Jesus and God.
However, there is a much larger scope to this ruling, and you can help get it overturned if you want to. The use of the week day and month day names are forbidden by this ruling, since the majority of them are naming and by default, giving honor to several pagan deities.
So if this bothers you to see any religious symbolism on a federally paid for entity, go for it! The lower court would have to abide by the precedent set by the supreme court, and since it likely would end up back in the supreme court, they would have to either reverse their decision, or word it in a way that only includes religious symbols they do not like. By the way, you can also file a suit against the American Eagle, since an eagle is a Native American religious symbol.
Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good life!

howcanweknow
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howcanweknow 12/10/10 - 04:06 pm
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Aladienfadel, I doubt you

Aladienfadel, I doubt you really believe we worship the same God. You do not believe that the baby in the manger was born of a virgin; nor do you believe that baby Jesus (pbuh) was God incarnate -- which is the very foundation of Christianity. You also do not believe that Christ was crucified (despite historical verification from non-Christian sources). Christians worship Christ as our God. You do not, and consider that a horrible blasphemy of Allah. Yes, we can have mutual respect for religions. I agree 100%. But, you can't honestly try to smooth over the important and irreconcilable differences between these faiths. There are some minor things in common, but the major tenets of the faiths cannot and will never mix. Simple logic dictates that we do not worship the same God. Not at all.

mable8
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mable8 12/10/10 - 06:04 pm
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Legislators and sue-happy

Legislators and sue-happy mongrels have gone overboard in rendering the First Amendment deficient in man's quest to neuter religion. The US Constitution does NOT forbid having a Nativity or any other 'Christian' icon placed on government property; nor does the Constitution forbid saying prayer in schools or in government buildings. The ONLY thing that the Constitution says is that the government may NOT ESTABLISH any religion or forbid the free exercise of that religion. The nutbags that have used their interpretation of the law as noted in the First Amendment have been misrepresenting it far too long. Decorating for the holidays, saying Merry Christmas or Happy Easter, and singing relevant songs for the occasion do not constitute the establishment of any religion. For the government to establish a religion, this would mean that the government has designated a particular religion to be nationalized (as in the case of the Evangelical Church of England or Islam in the Middle East) for all to follow. Any other religious group would be penalized in some fashion. Now, everyone, stand up and shout: POLITICAL CORRECTNESS IS DEAD, THANK YOU GOD!

mable8
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mable8 12/10/10 - 06:05 pm
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Oh! and Have a Merry, Merry

Oh! and Have a Merry, Merry Christmas.

gustagirl
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gustagirl 12/10/10 - 11:23 pm
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Nobody gets a free ride. Put

Nobody gets a free ride. Put up any symbol that you want on your property, don't worry about what others do; it leads to a lot of stress. Remember the reason for the season and enjoy yourself. Merry Christmas and God bless you.

paulbaughman28
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paulbaughman28 12/11/10 - 06:34 am
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howwecanknow, that is where

howwecanknow, that is where you are VERY mistaken. It cites in the Quran the birth of Bin Issa, which translates as (son of Joseph), who is to be the Messiah. Even though Muslims do not believe as Jesus being God incarnate, they do, in fact, believe that he was sent here to prohesy and die to absolve all sins of true believers. Contrary to the beliefs of people who would rather just assume they know everything, no where in any scripture that I have read states that God decided to become man. Even if I overlooked that, even the Quran states "all things through God are possible." At the very BEGINNING of the Quran, it states "why do you deny what you know in your heart to be true? People of the Book (Jews, Christians, and Muslims), Islam is not here to change what has been brought about before, but to confirm that what you have said to be true." So how about you stop bashing others' religious if you don't know anything about it.

howcanweknow
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howcanweknow 12/11/10 - 07:15 am
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Paul, I'm no expert in the

Paul, I'm no expert in the Quran, I admit, but I am familiar with the foundational tenets of that belief system. I do know for a fact that Muslims deny Jesus was crucified. That's in the Quran. You state that, "nowhere in any scripture that I have read states that God decided to become man." Well, obviously, you've not read much of the Bible. In fact, if you read the Dead Sea Scrolls, you'll see that Isaiah tells us the Messiah's name will be "Immanuel", which means "God with us". That one word is something a Muslim could never accept. And, there are so many New Testament references to Jesus being God incarnate that there's not enough room here to even start. Again, worshiping Jesus is horrible blasphemy to any Muslim. They considered Jesus a great prophet, but that's all. He's just a second-rate prophet compared to Muhammad. To consider Jesus as part of the Christian Trinity is anathema to Islam.

Like others, you would sacrifice truth on the alter of tolerance and political correctness. You've been taken in by half-truths and well-wishing, and have not really examined the facts. That's OK. I'd challenge you to take a deeper look at the blatant contradictions between Islam and Christianity. You'll notice that Aladienfadal did not dispute what I said earlier, and I reckon he knows a lot more about the Quran than you do. He knows I'm correct. If you would do a little more study and a lot less pontificating about things you're really not clear about, then you know that Islam and Christian, at the core, are very, very different indeed and cannot be reconciled.

paulbaughman28
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paulbaughman28 12/11/10 - 07:48 am
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Once again, you are VERY

Once again, you are VERY mistaken. I have, in fact, examined the contradictions between Islam and Christianity. There really are not that many. At no point did I say they can be reconciled. I'm not saying everyone should convert, just if you don't know what you are talking about, which you don't, don't speak on the subject. Were you there in 32 A.D. when Jesus was crucified? Were you there in the 6th Century A.D. when Islam was formed? Have you ever sat down with an Imam and asked questions of him to get a better understanding? No? Then close your mouth on the subject and stop thinking that your beliefs are the truth. If you were there, then I have questions of you. If you have sat down with an Imam, as I have, you should have asked these questions. The Imams that I have spoke with all state that a belif in Islam, as with Christianity, as I have stated above, is that Jesus was martyred for the sins of all mankind. The recognize him as the messiah. The only question that I have asked and cannot get a straight answer to is why they don't eat pork. As far as me being taken in by half-truths and being politically correct.....I find that VERY ironical. I am the LEAST politically correct person on here and am constantly searching for the light of truth. The difference is... I don't assume a single thing. If I don't know I can only offer an OPINION. Which is what everyone does...the differrence in that is I know mine is not the only one.

unitedwelive
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unitedwelive 12/11/10 - 07:53 am
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Mr. Howcanweknow. Can you

Mr. Howcanweknow.
Can you tell me how can we know which Christianity is right? Some say
Jesus is God, others say Jesus is son of God, and other group say it is trinity- Father, son, holy spirit- and I met some Christians in Ohio they said Jesus is the Messenger of God and they gave the list of their churches nation wide and visited another one in Arkansas, they cote me that from the bible when Jesus said: I'm a farmer, I'm a son of a man. Please if we as Christian didn't agree at this issue why do you expect others to agree with it, at least the Muslims all of them agree on the same stories of the all Prophets, just to let you know that they do believe Jesus is the Messiah.

unitedwelive
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unitedwelive 12/11/10 - 08:01 am
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Mr. Howcanweknow. If you

Mr. Howcanweknow.
If you couldn't answer me, that is enough proof that you are wrong and it is better to take the advice of Mr. Paulbaughman28 and do what he asked to do to your mouth.

unitedwelive
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unitedwelive 12/11/10 - 08:09 am
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I'm still waiting. This is

I'm still waiting. This is the question that one Muslim asked me one day that I couldn't answer, he agreed to convert to Christianity when I get him the answer, twenty one years passed and I'm still looking for an answer that I couldn't get.

batya
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batya 12/11/10 - 08:22 am
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unitedwelive.....don't take

unitedwelive.....don't take ANY man's word for it, go directly to the source itself. The Holy Bible is legally available to anyone in this country.

btw...were you there to see the Revolutionary War, the inauguration of Abraham Lincoln, or the bombing of Pearl Harbor? Do you really believe these things happened?

(And before you attack me for not responding within your time frame you think I should....I will not be in front of my computer all day long.) Merry Christmas!

paulbaughman28
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paulbaughman28 12/11/10 - 09:02 am
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batya, if that was directed

batya, if that was directed at me, then I can answer truthfully that, yes, I do believe those things happened. The point that I was getting at is that I do not and will not assume any detail about anything. I'm not going to say that Lincoln used a blue Bible when he swore in... just that he swore in. Just like I'm not saying that Jesus was or was not the literal God incarnate, just that he was martyred for our sins to be forgiven. And Happy Christmas to you as well.

ZenoElia
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ZenoElia 12/11/10 - 10:23 am
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"Faith is the substance of

"Faith is the substance of things hoped for and the evidence of things not seen"....apply that definition and you'll understand why the sons of Abraham have been feuding for these many centuries...yes, Isaac and Ishmael are the forefathers of Judaism and Islam....now go do some reading...please, before you embarrass more of your respective faiths.

howcanweknow
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howcanweknow 12/11/10 - 03:55 pm
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Paul, here's the crux of the

Paul, here's the crux of the issue that no one can deny. In Islam, ONLY Allah is God. That's it. Jesus was NOT God. Moses was NOT God. Not even Muhammad was God. Only Allah. Any and all Muslims know that. One of the Pillars of Islam is that only Allah is God, and Muhammad is his prophet. Agree?

Now, Christianity teaches that God (not Allah) came to earth in the form of the man called "Jesus Christ". Born of a virgin (which I'm 99% sure is denied by Islam). Died on the cross (which is know for a fact is denied by Islam). And resurrected 3 days later (which, obviously is denied by Islam). The very central teaching of Christianity is that Christ was God incarnate (i.e., in the flesh), who became the savior of all mankind -- and therefore, is the ONLY way to God. Not Mohammad. (In fact, Christianity considers Muhammad to be a FALSE prophet. Tell your Imam that!)

Now, can you reconcile those diametrically opposed differences? Tell me how, if you can?

In a nutshell, Christians worship Christ as God, a part of the Trinity. That is the ULTIMATE BLASPHEMY for any Muslim. If you profess that Christ is God, you can be killed in some Muslim nations today.

Islam and Christianity do share some peripheral, casual things, but when you get down to the important, core beliefs, Islam and Christianity are oil and water -- and never will they ever mix or be compatible.

If I am wrong, please enlighten me. Maybe you press your Imam on the REAL issues, and not let him try to gloss over the real truth of the matter. Ask him directly if the Imam worships Christ as GOD. Ask him that directly. I dare you..... Then, see what he says.

howcanweknow
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howcanweknow 12/11/10 - 11:36 am
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The Koran says that Christ

The Koran says that Christ was NOT crucified. The Bible testifies that he was. OK, both can't be correct. Let's examine contemporary, secular (non-religious) historical writings and see who they agree with...

The Roman historian Tacitus writes that Christ was crucified in Jerusalem under Pilate. Sound familiar?

Suetonius, the great Roman historian, speaks of Jesus and his crucifixion.

The Jewish historian Philo says the same.

Greek historian Lucian of Samosata verifies Christ's existence and death.

OK..... Roman, Greek, Jewish historian all confirm that Christ lived in Palestine during the Roman occupation, and was crucified under Pontius Pilate.

The Bible agrees.

The Koran denies all that, and insists it has the truth -- despite the fact that it was written about 600 years later. Yeah, right.

So, if you were trying to decide whether Jesus was crucified, what do you believe?

howcanweknow
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howcanweknow 12/11/10 - 11:57 am
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United, again, it's difficult

United, again, it's difficult to understand what you write, but I'll try to answer what I believe you're asking.

How do we know Christianity is true? How do you know anything from history is true? About all you can do is read the writings of contemporary accounts, and compare them. In general, the closer the author was to the actual event, the more accuracy you can attribute to the writings. The apostles who wrote most of the New Testament knew Jesus. Other authors (like Luke and Mark) were closely associated with apostles. So, you're looking at accounts from eyewitnesses or 2nd-hand accounts.

The Quran was written about 600 years later by no one who ever knew or saw Jesus. It claims to be the truth about Jesus, despite the fact that it disagrees with the Bible accounts in many ways. As noted above, very importantly regarding Christ's crucifixion which secular historians also verify.

So, historical evidence supports the Bible. To my knowledge, there is not a shred of historical evidence that the Quran is right about the crucifixion.

Both the Bible and the Koran claim to be the "word of God". History verifies the Bible. The Quran conflicts with history.

So, I ask you: If you were deciding whether the Bible or the Koran was the truth, which one would you choose?

ZenoElia
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ZenoElia 12/11/10 - 03:11 pm
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How you can know....we are

How you can know....we are justified by faith, saved by grace through faith, and without faith it is impossible to please God (not Allah)...so I choose today to serve Christ Jesus, the ONLY savior of this doomed planet of lost souls....today is the day, believe and confess unto salvation for the day of His return is drawing close.

howcanweknow
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howcanweknow 12/11/10 - 03:53 pm
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Absolutely, Zeno. What more

Absolutely, Zeno. What more needs to be said?

paulbaughman28
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paulbaughman28 12/12/10 - 02:58 am
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Wow... brilliantly written

Wow... brilliantly written and swaying...except for the factr that you're wrong about a lot of things. Our God, the Christian God, goes by many names, here are a few; Yaweh, Jehova, Allah. These are all words in different languages that mean the same thing: GOD. To deny that there are many languages on Earth and there is only one word to call Him and that it HAS to be an English word is utter and complete ignorance. No the basis of Christianity is not that Jesus was crucified. There were many people crucified and if that was all that was needed to base a religion off of then my cousin could be the messiah, according to YOUR analysis of the religion. The basis of Christianity is the message of peace that the Christ taught to mankind and that he was martyred for that message ikn order to cleanse the world of their sins. If you hate a religion, that's on you...not everyone does. I'm not telling you to love Islam or convert, I am a Christian myself with no thoughts of conversion anywhere in my head. The point that I have been getting at is instead of sitting there hating because others told you to, research for yourself and see if it is even WORTH hating.

paulbaughman28
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paulbaughman28 12/12/10 - 03:05 am
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Oh, and here's a fun fact

Oh, and here's a fun fact about the Cristian Bible as well.... stories from different tribes (even Islamic tribes) were collected under Alexander, years after the fact I might add, were copied down, translated over and over and over and over again. The stories that Alexander didn't like, he cut out and burned. The parts he did like "made the cut," so to speak. He the appointed a council of MEN to vote on whether the Christ should be considered Holy and, if so, divine. Are you so blind as to believe that the Bible was written in English? Are you naive enough to think that mistakes were not made in translation? Again, believe what you want, but reserve judgement for One that is better than you.

howcanweknow
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howcanweknow 12/12/10 - 01:01 pm
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Paul, You're saying that

Paul, You're saying that Alexander the Great lived after Christ? Did I misunderstand you?

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