God's Politics

God's Politics


Rose Marie Berger: Dr. King’s “Beyond Vietnam” Speech 40 Years Later

posted by gp_intern

On April 4, 1967, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. gave one of the most important speeches in American history at Riverside Church in New York City. In it he decisively and prophetically extended his public ministry beyond narrowly defined civil rights by calling for an end to the U.S. war in Vietnam. “‘A time comes when silence is betrayal,'” preached King. “That time has come for us in relation to Vietnam.”

The Riverside speech (variously called “Beyond Vietnam” or “Breaking the Silence”) names the sickness eating the American soul as “the giant triplets of racism, extreme materialism, and militarism.” It was a watershed moment in American history. A year later – to the day – Dr. King was assassinated.

King’s address was drafted for him by his friend, and historian, Dr. Vincent G. Harding. King made minor changes, but essentially he delivered Harding’s original text. “I think it’s important to know that for about as long as the war was going on Martin was raising questions about it,” Harding, a retired professor at the Iliff School of Theology in Denver, said in a recent interview. Harding and his wife Rosemarie often attended Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta when King was preaching. “It was clear that Martin was opposing the war,” Harding explained, “and that he was opposing it from a deeply Christian perspective.”

In smaller venues King linked the issues of civil rights, economic justice, and peace, but he had never united the three is such a powerful and public way. He had never dissected the history of U.S. military imperialism with such thoroughness. But most strikingly, King launched a prophetic attack on the ” royal consciousness” (as theologian Walter Brueggemann calls it in The Prophetic Imagination) of America. “Prophecy,” writes Brueggemann, “is born precisely in that moment when the emergence of social political reality is so radical and inexplicable that it has nothing less than a theological cause.” No longer was King only holding America accountable to the ideals of her founding documents. Now King was addressing the mechanisms of empire – not just its strange fruits – and holding America accountable to God.

In his reflection “Breaking the Silence of Despair” theologian Bill Wylie-Kellermann writes: “In Christian theology it is often asked, ‘Why did Jesus die?’ but seldom wondered, ‘Why was Jesus killed?’ If we ask that of Dr. King, the answer would have to pass through his public opposition to the war in Vietnam. It would need to be traced in part to his speech at Riverside Church, forty year ago this holy week, exactly one year before his death.”

Dr. Harding recalled that in deciding to make the “Beyond Vietnam” speech, King in a sense “caught up with some of the more radical folks within the freedom movement, like the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee [SNCC]. Because SNCC had been coming out openly opposed to the war especially out of the context of their gallant work in the grassroots southern rural communities and their coming into touch early with the boys who were coming back dead from their being drafted into that war. SNCC was encouraging others to raise real questions about what it meant for these young men to be sent to supposedly fight to protect democracy in Southeast Asia when there was no democracy for them in Southwest Georgia. Stokely [Carmichael] was very, very glad when he understood that Martin was going to lift this up to another level.”

The prescient thing about King’s “Beyond Vietnam” speech is that you can replace the word “Vietnam” with “Iraq” and hear an indictment that still shakes us as Americans to the core of our soul. At the Christian Peace Witness for Iraq at the Washington National Cathedral in D.C. two weeks ago, I heard Rev. Dr. Raphael G. Warnock, senior pastor of Ebenezer Baptist Church, Atlanta, the “spiritual home” of the late Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., preach a sermon that sent shivers down my spine.

“[President Bush] is pushing forward with his surge of troops, deepening our involvement in the morass of an unnecessary war. Ignoring public sentiment clearly expressed in this past November’s elections, ignoring the advice of his much trumpeted bi-partisan Iraq Study Group, and ignoring the counsel of his own generals, he insists that this is the way to go. And, the Congress, by its actions or lack of action this week, has proven thus far to be too morally inept to intervene, too politically compromised to act with real courage and conviction … On both sides of the aisle, the controlling concern is that America may lose the war, and so the question being asked is, ‘What are we going to do to keep from losing the war.’ I submit that as people of faith, we must re-frame the question and help others to understand that the danger confronting America is not that we may lose the war. The real danger is that America may well lose its soul. We must re-frame the question.”

“We must tap into the best of our respective faith traditions in order to redeem the soul of America. I remember my own crucified people who endured the cross of slavery and segregation. They identified with Jesus because existentially they knew what crucifixion was all about. In the spiritual, they asked, ‘Were you there when they crucified my Lord?’ And, during the era of Jim Crow segregation, they identified with this Jesus hung on a tree because they knew what lynching was all about. Billy Holiday used to sing about it. ‘Southern trees bear strange fruit. Blood on the leaves, blood at the root. Black bodies swinging in the southern breeze. Strange fruit hanging from the poplar trees.’ His own ruthless brutality notwithstanding, I could not help but hear that haunting song as I watched Saddam Hussein hang at our behest. I thought to myself, ‘Surely, we’re better than that!’ And before that the violent carnival and absurd human cruelty of Abu Ghraib (photos). Surely, we’re better than that! And then to witness the neglect of our own soldiers at Walter Reed! Surely, we’re better than that! We need a surge of troops in the nonviolent army of the Lord. We need to lift high the cross as ‘an eternal symbol of the extent to which God is willing to go to restore broken communities.’ We need a surge in conscience. A surge in truth telling and activism. We need a surge in the nonviolent army of the Lord.”

“‘A time comes when silence is betrayal,'” preached King. That time has come for us in relation to Iraq. How will you lift high the cross this Holy Week? How will you follow the Lord through the streets of American cities and the streets of Baghdad and Basra? Will you help carry the cross? Will you let your hearts be broken and converted? Will you shout that death has no dominion in the cross and resurrection of Christ? Will you proclaim that we are “better than this”? We, “the whole multitude of Jesus’ disciples” must “praise God aloud with joy for all the mighty deeds” we have seen (Luke 19:37). We must shout out that the Prince of Peace is sovereign: “Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord. Peace in heaven and glory in the highest” (Luke 19:38). If we don’t do this—or if we are prevented from doing this—Jesus says: “I tell you, if they keep silent, the stones will cry out!” (Luke 19:40).

Rose Marie Berger, an Associate Editor of Sojourners, is a Catholic peace activist and poet.



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kevin s.

posted April 4, 2007 at 4:23 pm


Good to know that MLK’s “spiritual home” has become the “Ebenezer house o’ Democratic talking points”. Did he really compare the hanging of Saddam Hussein to lynchings in the south? Wow…



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Jeff

posted April 4, 2007 at 4:39 pm


MLK was for immediate pullout of Vietnam. We pulled out. 100 of thousands were murdered by the communists. MLK was right on many things, on Vietnam he was tragically wrong.



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Wolverine

posted April 4, 2007 at 5:03 pm


Gotta love the irony of the title: “Beyond Vietnam”. Sojourners, like much of the left, cannot get “beyond Vietnam”. A thought occurs to me: assuming there’s a point in any of this, you might make it more effectively if you could find some other war to compare Iraq to — even if it’s one where some country other than the US is the aggressor. As it is, you guys are trying to wring a general principle out of a single event. And as long as that’s the case, it’s easy to dismiss everything you’re saying by considering Vietnam a one-off event — for which a case can be made, by the way. Plus you come off as America-centric as any GOP jingo, only now America is the nexus of all evil, rather than the font of all blessings. Aging hippies may get all misty eyed with remembrances of the Vietnam-era peace movment, but the rest us of would be more likely to see a pattern if you showed us more than one dot. Yes, it truly is time for Sojourners to move “Beyond Vietnam” if they want to make their case and be effective. Wolverine



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Rick Nowlin

posted April 4, 2007 at 5:23 pm


We pulled out. 100 of thousands were murdered by the communists. MLK was right on many things, on Vietnam he was tragically wrong. So, what would you have suggested? Stay in Vietnam until the job was done, especially since it would never have been “done”? I just read something in the Washington Post that suggested that our simplistic strategy of eliminating the “bad guys” ensured that we could never win, and that’s the parallel. Yes, it truly is time for Sojourners to move “Beyond Vietnam” if they want to make their case and be effective. You know the saying: “Those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it.” The right hasn’t learned that yet, at least in this case.



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Jeff

posted April 4, 2007 at 5:34 pm


I really don’t care what the Washington Post or NY Times says. They are one click below the National Enquirer when it comes to credibility.



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Rick Nowlin

posted April 4, 2007 at 5:49 pm


I really don’t care what the Washington Post or NY Times says. They are one click below the National Enquirer when it comes to credibility. You’re dead wrong about that, and as someone who reads both papers regularly, I DO care. Like it or not, they do represent some of the best pure journalism out there. Anyway, I was referring to an op-ed piece that detailed why we failed in Vietnam and why we will do so in Iraq — we’re using the same strategy of pure “force” without trying to outfox the enemy by knowing how it operates and win the populace to our side. That’s a legitimate and sensible strategy in my book.



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Wolverine

posted April 4, 2007 at 6:27 pm


Kevin S. wrote: Did he really compare the hanging of Saddam Hussein to lynchings in the south? Wow… Actually, I think he went one better: he compared the hanging of Saddam Hussein to the Crucifixion of our Lord. Wolverine



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Carl Copas

posted April 4, 2007 at 6:37 pm


A powerful column. Thank you Rose Marie. As for Saddamn’s hanging, I have no wish to plead that the brute’s life should have been spared. But the way that thing was carried out, in particular the taunting of Saddam, accomplished the nearly-impossible task of making the guy look dignified and courageous.



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splinterlog

posted April 4, 2007 at 6:54 pm


Wolverine – sure. Let’s talk about the 50 year civil war stalemate in Kashmir. On one side there is a “freedom struggle” against an invading foreign state on the other side there is a “protective mission” against a military/Islamic extremism. 50 years on, there hasn’t been much progress. Let’s hope Iraq doesn’t turn out to be the same way – I mean that would really put a damper on “Mission Accomplished”. Jeff – answer for the thousands in Vietnam that your government tortured and killed. The Vietnamese people will speak for their own!



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kevin s.

posted April 4, 2007 at 6:58 pm


“Actually, I think he went one better: he compared the hanging of Saddam Hussein to the Crucifixion of our Lord.” Good point, and this is what happens when we turn the Crucifixion into a political deal, wherein Christ was killed for standing up to (insert whatever term is politically convenient).If Jesus were a brutal dictator, as opposed to a sinless man who gave his life for us, we wouldn’t be talking about him today.



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kevin s.

posted April 4, 2007 at 7:00 pm


“You’re dead wrong about that, and as someone who reads both papers regularly, I DO care. Like it or not, they do represent some of the best pure journalism out there.” But what you are talking about is an editorial, and the editorials are not considered to be pure journalism. They are opinion, and the opinion pages of both papers you cite tilt (rather strongly) to the left. Which is fine, but simply referring to them as a resevoir of absolute truth is ridiculous.



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splinterlog

posted April 4, 2007 at 7:10 pm


I think the point that’s been missed on all of you geniuses is the way in which the scandal of the cross subverts our understanding of justice. We may think that by executing a criminal we have restored justice to the world. But we haven’t. Jesus’ resurrection demonstrates how the power of God makes foolishness out of our judgement. It is God who judges and not men. So yes the execution of Jesus whom the Temple authorities viewed as a danger to the state is analogous to the execution of a criminal because to us that is what Jesus became for our salvation – but that’s where the analogy ends!



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Wolverine

posted April 4, 2007 at 7:55 pm


As an aside, here’s a crazy question: what if the surge worked? I only ask because early indications are it just might: http://abcnews.go.com/Video/playerIndex?id=3001578 Note to Rick Nowlin: the link is to ABC News, not FOX, so you know it’s got to be true. Wolverine



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squeaky

posted April 4, 2007 at 8:07 pm


If the surge works, I will eat my words and be thankful that it did. However, I will also be wary that the terrorists might just be laying low and waiting for us to leave. The truth is, though, I don’t care whose idea works, as long as someone’s does, and if it does, and it was a Republican idea, I will be happy that we are finally seeing some success there. That won’t, however, change my mind about whether we should have gone there in the first place.



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kevin s.

posted April 4, 2007 at 8:12 pm


” So yes the execution of Jesus whom the Temple authorities viewed as a danger to the state is analogous to the execution of a criminal because to us that is what Jesus became for our salvation – but that’s where the analogy ends!” Jesus never became a criminal, so your point is rendered moot. Niether was he executed because he was a danger to the state.



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Rick Nowlin

posted April 4, 2007 at 8:28 pm


But what you are talking about is an editorial, and the editorials are not considered to be pure journalism. They are opinion, and the opinion pages of both papers you cite tilt (rather strongly) to the left. Which is fine, but simply referring to them as a resevoir of absolute truth is ridiculous. Granted, but this put forth a reasonable argument based on pure journalism. Conservative media, on the other hand (and even in its news converage), start with a premise, often flawed, and work backwards without regard to basic facts that nearly anyone can find if he/she looks hard enough. Just because something is in a “left-wing” publication doesn’t mean it isn’t true — in fact, I would trust it more.



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tovart

posted April 4, 2007 at 8:29 pm


So that does lead us to the question then “Why was Jesus killed?”



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kevin s.

posted April 4, 2007 at 9:15 pm


” Just because something is in a “left-wing” publication doesn’t mean it isn’t true — in fact, I would trust it more.” Of course you would. You’re politics coincide with left-wing publications.



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splinterlog

posted April 4, 2007 at 9:22 pm


Well I’m curious now Kevin. Why was Jesus executed? So do you believe that the entry into Jerusalem and the overturning of tables in the Temple didn’t happen? Or is it that you believe these things happened, but amazingly, that these subversive acts had no beearing on the desire of the state to execute Jesus? Was it not the Chief Priests and Herod who interrogated him? Was it not Pilate who executed him? He wasn’t murdered by someone in the street – he was executed by the political and religious authorities of his day who saw him as a threat.Ok theological point – by being a criminal, I mean something like what Paul said when he says that Christ became sin for us (2 Corinthians 5:21). I think what Paul is saying is far more scandalous than what I am saying, because he’s talking at the ontological level. All I am saying is that Jesus was scorned, spat upon and executed as a common criminal. C’mon now, I learned that my teacher in Fundamentalist Sunday School so I don’t know why you should have a problem with it.



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nad2

posted April 4, 2007 at 9:46 pm


jesus was not a criminal or a danger to the state? you are kidding right? roman crucifixion was the sentence for insurrection and other crimes against the empire. you can take his death & resurrection in whatever theological direction you want, but the fact remains jesus was killed for a very political message. as for king, i don’t think you can seperate his opposition to vietnam from his opposition to war in general, nor his opposition to war in general from his overall message – his devotion to jesus’ vision of the kindgom of god on earth. king was a modern-day prophet and a passionate follower of christ, one of the few in recent times to truly take up his cross and follow jesus even into death. with racism, materialism, and militarism, king had the courage to say ‘god has a greater plan for us than all of these.’ thanks to him, race relations have made marked improvement, but his sentiments on materialism and militarism (and yes, still racism) are apropos for holy week 2007. give the beyond vietnam speech a read, it is wonderful.



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js

posted April 4, 2007 at 9:52 pm


nad2, Thank you! Finally someone sane who gets it. Thanks for your commment, and thanks also to Rose for the post.



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kevin s.

posted April 4, 2007 at 10:11 pm


“roman crucifixion was the sentence for insurrection and other crimes against the empire. you can take his death & resurrection in whatever theological direction you want, but the fact remains jesus was killed for a very political message.” No, he was killed for a crime he didn’t commit, and Pontius Pilate washed his hands (literally) of the whole deal. ” Was it not the Chief Priests and Herod who interrogated him? ” The chief priests did not represent the state. Christ was treated as the criminal he was not, which is the point. He committed no crime.



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Rick Nowlin

posted April 4, 2007 at 10:14 pm


Of course you would. You’re politics coincide with left-wing publications. I’m actually more conservative than you believe. But I know when I’m being lied to.



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Wolverine

posted April 4, 2007 at 10:16 pm


Splinterlog wrote: He wasn’t murdered by someone in the street – he was executed by the political and religious authorities of his day who saw him as a threat. The religious authorities clearly saw him as a threat. Rome’s opinion of Jesus was more complicated: All four gospels make it clear that Pontius Pilate’s opinion was that Jesus himself wasn’t much of a threat to Rome. Pilate’s first reaction to Jesus was that he saw no fault in him, and even after interviewing Jesus (and asking Jesus if he is a king) Pilate is very reluctant to have him put to death. That’s what the whole “hand washing” bit was about. (It never seems to occur to some people that a Roman, for all the other faults of the empire, might be able to see the difference between a political ruler and a spiritual one.) Not that Pilate is innocent, it’s quite clear that he is responsible for a gross injustice, but it’s also pretty clear that Pilate has Jesus executed not because Jesus himself is a particular threat to Rome, but to appease the religious leaders in Jerusalem. Wolverine



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nad2

posted April 4, 2007 at 10:41 pm


kevin, you are mixing theology with history here. we can disagree about matters of opinion, but to say the chief priests did not represent the state – you are wrong. you cannot seperate rome and the chief priests at the time of jesus death – the chief priests were appointed by Rome! it is a historical fact. the jewish religious leaders were in effect agents of the state during jesus’ time & that was at the heart of much of holy week, that was a big problem for jesus, he spoke out about it & it ultimately got him killed. a threat to rome’s appointed chief priestly power was a threat to roman power. you have to hear the story w/ the knowledge a 1st century jew would have had, and unfortunately (from laziness or for theological reasons) we never do.



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Rick Nowlin

posted April 4, 2007 at 10:47 pm


Rome’s opinion of Jesus was more complicated: All four gospels make it clear that Pontius Pilate’s opinion was that Jesus himself wasn’t much of a threat to Rome. Pilate’s first reaction to Jesus was that he saw no fault in him, and even after interviewing Jesus (and asking Jesus if he is a king) Pilate is very reluctant to have him put to death. That’s what the whole “hand washing” bit was about. But that doesn’t account for a couple of things: 1) The Jewish leaders’ insistance that “We have no king but Caesar” when such a statement meant idolatry in that context. 2) The crucifixion. The Jewish leaders had cut a deal with Rome to forbid capital punishment for religious crimes in exchange for some autonomy. (Jewish contempt for Rome was probably more political than religious, and it could be that the people resented the leaders for being in cahoots with Rome, which might explain Jesus’ “triumphal entry” into Jerusalem.) 3) The emergence of the church. The early Christians were fed to the lions only for not saying “Caesar is Lord,” proclaiming that “Jesus is LORD.”



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Wolverine

posted April 4, 2007 at 11:04 pm


Nad2, Do you have any documentation for your claim that the religious leaders were appointed by Rome? Rick, Points one and two are easily explained as the result of political expediency among Jewish leaders, who viewed Jesus as a severe threat to their religious authority. Because they do not have the authority to execute, they must turn to Rome. Your third point is interesting, but I think that reflects a change in the character of the Roman state more than a political agenda that can be attributed to Jesus. Roman emperors were supposed to be divine. Some emperors took this more seriously than others, but when this was enforced the persecutions became severe. But the bottom line is Christians were executed not because they were unwilling to recognize Rome as a civilian authority, but because they were unwilling to recognize the emperor as divine. Wolverine



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nad2

posted April 4, 2007 at 11:33 pm


wolverine, as i lifetime student of history i know it well and can point you in the direction of many books on the roman empire or on the study of the historical jesus. a wonderful account detailing the precarious nature of the role of a chief priest under roman rule is in borg & crossan’s ‘the last week’ which i would commend to anyone during holy week or anytime. you can also search for yourself online if you trust such sources. attached is an article i found by warren carter. he cites his sources, plus i would go w/ him as a phd on the new testament from princeton theological seminary, a professor & an ordained elder of the united methodist church. it is an interesting article that i think is relevent to this back & forth discussion of jesus’ death beyond just the discussion of rome & the chief priests (caiaphas ‘the fox’ had quite a long run compared to others around his time – he knew what he had to do to keep his job). i warn you though, actually reading the history behind the christian story may be like taking the red pill in the matrix, but it is necessary if we are to truly understand and take seriously our most wonderful faith.http://www.bibleinterp.com/articles/Carter-Pontius_Pilate_Roman_Governor.htm let me know your thoughts on it if you are so inclined. normally i am against such off topic jaunts, but it being holy week & all, i think it is entirely appropriate.



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Rick Nowlin

posted April 4, 2007 at 11:37 pm


Your third point is interesting, but I think that reflects a change in the character of the Roman state more than a political agenda that can be attributed to Jesus. Roman emperors were supposed to be divine. Some emperors took this more seriously than others, but when this was enforced the persecutions became severe. It is certainly true that Jesus brought no political agenda per se, which is why I have problems with his being married to either the right (generally the case over the past couple of decades) or the left (increasingly more recently). This does not mean, however, that His Gospel did not have political implications, and it’s just what this blog is about.



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Doug7504

posted April 5, 2007 at 12:42 am


Jesus’ life and teachings transcended politics-why can’t we do the same? Left, right, liberal, conservative…He didn’t care. His message was to all who would listen, and all who would embrace Him as their Savior. Dr. King was not divine, only a man with many faults, as we all have. But his message was inspired by Jesus’ life and work. Too bad that forty years later, we’re still arguing over the same issues, instead of taking action. We read the words, but don’t heed the message…and Jesus is watching. Peace.



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Payshun

posted April 5, 2007 at 4:22 am


I think we are transcending something. i am just not sure what. I guess when King get’s quoted there is so much that is ignored or weakened. That was not one of those times.Rose did a very good job in using his speach to convey her point for peace. I think that’s what we need to talk about. What about peace? p



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kevin s.

posted April 5, 2007 at 5:02 am


“i warn you though, actually reading the history behind the christian story may be like taking the red pill in the matrix,” Well, so long as you swallow it. I am aware of writing regarding the “historical Jesus”, but I am also aware that they essentially presuppose that Christ could not have been the Son of God. As such, their version of history tends to fudge a few things (not the least of which the creation of an entire theoretical Gospel out of whole cloth). The idea that the Roman empire sought to snuff out Christ by way of the high priests just doesn’t hold water, and essentially requires you to understand Jesus not as the son of God sent to die for our sins, but rather as a cultural curiosity. Do so at your own peril.



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butch

posted April 5, 2007 at 6:04 am


“As for Saddamn’s hanging” Now we will never learn what may have led to this crazy conflict.



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butch

posted April 5, 2007 at 6:07 am


” Good to know that MLK’s “spiritual home” has become the “Ebenezer house o’ Democratic talking points”.” Kevin S. I like my talking point; “Waht part of George W lied don’t you understand?”



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Rachel

posted April 5, 2007 at 6:28 am


I hope you all will consider joining in the conversation over at http://www.justiceandcompassion.com



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Stephen Davidson

posted April 5, 2007 at 3:21 pm


How silent have Christians been to the horrors comitted non-stop for centuries by Muslims? Christians stopped fighting Islam centuries ago, but Islam never stopped fighting Christians and everyone else.



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Stephen Davidson

posted April 5, 2007 at 3:23 pm


Believe it or not, Reverend Martin Luther King could have been wrong on many things. The bodies of those millions of people murdered after the U.S pulled out of the Vietnam war serve. as a reminder to just how tragic and deadly, Democrat and Liberal/Progressive apathy IS. Why is it that Liberals care nothing for the lives of non-Westerners? Except of course, those that hate America.



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squeaky

posted April 5, 2007 at 3:46 pm


Stephen, Was it because of apathy that we pulled out of Vietnam? If you really believe that, you have a pretty simplistic view of the world.



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nad2

posted April 5, 2007 at 3:55 pm


kevin, you may be ‘aware’ of the fact that writing exists on the historical jesus (and about how rome handled its imperial business) but you are obviously not aware via firsthand knowledge of what those writings entail because it has nothing to do with presupposing jesus was not the son of god. i’m sure some people who write about the historical jesus may take that view but it is by far not a majority, nor are they out to make any statements about whether or not jesus was the son of god when they in earnest try to know about jesus in his own context. again you are confusing history and theology. you can stick your head in the sand at the historical data about the collaboration of the chief priests and the romans (about which there is no dispute) but then it is ultimately you who is fudging things about history to conform to your theology. the fact that jesus was KILLED by a collaborative effort between rome and the jewish authorities, CRUCIFIED no less, a crime for insurrection or treason, all because of his indictment and/or subversion of roman and jewish authority, ALL historical facts, has absolutely nothing to do with whether or not he was the son of god, or for that matter one’s belief that he died for your sins. anything that does not conform to your theology, you have had no problems calling heretical. your message of embrace historical consensus ‘at your own peril’ has nothing to do w/ faith but much much more to do with intentional delusion.



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nad2

posted April 5, 2007 at 4:00 pm


and to follow up, i very much see jesus as the son of god and the fact that he challenged/subverted the jewish/roman authority for being, among other things, ‘a den of theives’ rather than being about the business of doing god’s will, to the point they killed him for it, makes the case all the more compelling that he was one with god.



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Rick Nowlin

posted April 5, 2007 at 4:09 pm


The bodies of those millions of people murdered after the U.S pulled out of the Vietnam war serve. as a reminder to just how tragic and deadly, Democrat and Liberal/Progressive apathy IS. They would have died anyway.



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Stephen Davidson

posted April 5, 2007 at 4:18 pm


Rick, Spoken like a perfect representative of godless-hippy-humanism now known as the Progressive. I like it when you guys are honest about who and what you truly are. It all stared with the cheapening of the human baby. Once they can be slaughtered for sexual freedom (typical hippy behavior), the desire to fight violent-communism must have died a long time ago in those kinds of minds. But then again, those kinds of people, their minds would have died anyway.



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nad2

posted April 5, 2007 at 4:28 pm


stephen, it is clear you have lost the ability to think for yourself if you truly believe the libelous statements you have made above. stop drinking the kool aid & for goodness sake, stop offering it to the rest of us.



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Stephen Davidson

posted April 5, 2007 at 4:40 pm


Libelous? The same people (those still alive) are railing against this war as did the Vietnam war. They were hippy leftists in the sixties then, and if you color the hair of the ladies and put long hair wigs on the old guys, they are the same hippies. Some went on to make money, becuase hey, capitaism IS cool after all, but, if it still quacks like a duck (though creeky), walks like a duck (although slower) and marches up and down comfy American and European city streets (now wearing Birkenstocks instaed of Ho Chin Mihn sandals) like a duck . . .I’ll have nothing to fear of your charges. Hippies are now Progressives. Just with the little purple pill on their nightstands instead of speed. Same ol’ same ol’.



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Rick Nowlin

posted April 5, 2007 at 5:13 pm


Spoken like a perfect representative of godless-hippy-humanism now known as the Progressive. That demonstrates your extreme general arrogance and ignorance. I am not and never was or will be anything of the sort; if anything, I’m a flaming evangelical who nevertheless knows what his Bible says. It all stared with the cheapening of the human baby. Once they can be slaughtered for sexual freedom (typical hippy behavior), the desire to fight violent-communism must have died a long time ago in those kinds of minds. FWIW, abortion was nearly as common at the end of the 19th Century as it is today. And besides, King understood that you cannot fight Communism on its terms and win — Hitler is proof of that. (Now, would you have supported Hitler? Because he opposed Communism.)



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splinterlog

posted April 5, 2007 at 5:16 pm


Hey Stephen – you sound a bit like our resident comedian Donny. Btw, about the abortion issue, maybe you should go read some history and turn off your television. Turns out, your Evangelical/Fundamentalist friends were mostly for the “freedom” and “safety” offered by voluntary abortions until the govt. pulled the plug on some of their funding and they took up abortion as a Trojan horse issue to get back at them with. I don’t think Machiavelli could have done much better!



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Carl Copas

posted April 5, 2007 at 5:39 pm


Stephen has to be Donny in disguise



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Rick Nowlin

posted April 5, 2007 at 5:39 pm


splinterlog — Not quite. Donny ain’t funny! :-)



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squeaky

posted April 5, 2007 at 5:57 pm


Stephen,I’ll ask you again and expect an answer this time. Was it because of apathy that we pulled out of Vietnam? Or could it be that we cared about what the war was doing to our service men and women and the devastating effect that war was having on our nation? You are saying by extension, that those of us who want the US out of Iraq just don’t care. What, exactly, don’t we care about? Be specific. It is much easier to just label it all as apathy than it is to try and understand where the other side is coming from. Just try to understand. It won’t hurt too much.



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squeaky

posted April 5, 2007 at 6:11 pm


Kevin S. “No, he was killed for a crime he didn’t commit, and Pontius Pilate washed his hands (literally) of the whole deal.””Christ was treated as the criminal he was not, which is the point. He committed no crime.” Kevin S.–while it is true in our 20th century eyes that Jesus committed no crime, in the eyes of the leadership of the day, that wasn’t true. I’m not sure why the historical context that Nad2 gives you threatens your theology. It shouldn’t. Jesus challenged every authority of His day. Why else did they hate Him and fear Him so? It was that hate and fear that pushed them to kill Him. He wasn’t killed because they just felt like crucifying someone that day. And, as others have pointed out, there was a reason He challenged every authority and ideology. He was showing us the way of the Kingdom. Just as you thought He was on your side, you saw Him eating with and healing the child of your sworn enemy. Think what He would be like on Earth today! Who do you think He would spend the most time with? Who do you think would be mad that He wasn’t hanging out with them?



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neuro_nurse

posted April 5, 2007 at 6:34 pm


Stephen has to be Donny in disguise Carl Copas The scapegoating of liberals is the same, but Stephen’s spelling & grammar are better, and he may have just a hint of a capability for abstraction. Do people actually believe that after 16 years, the U.S. could have won the Viet Nam war if we d just stuck it out a little longer? Deontological ethics, the theory of duty or moral obligation implicates that a person s behavior can be wrong even if it results in the best possible outcome. Teleological ethics, or consequentialism claims that the ends justify the means.The Catholic Church, and as I understand it, most Christian churches categorically oppose teleological ethics. (Catechism of the Catholic Church 1749-1761).



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neuro_nurse

posted April 5, 2007 at 6:40 pm


splinterlog “Turns out, your Evangelical/Fundamentalist friends were mostly for the “freedom” and “safety” offered by voluntary abortions” That’s interesting, but would you please cite your source. Thanks,



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splinterlog

posted April 5, 2007 at 9:18 pm


Neuro, please see the book excerpt at – http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=5502785 (scroll down)



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neuro_nurse

posted April 5, 2007 at 10:55 pm


splinterlog It was not my intention to challenge the veracity of your statement, I m sure there are others who will take issue with it. I m no fan of the so-called religious right and try to keep a mental catalogue of their hypocrisy so I appreciate the reference. I rarely take things at face value, and believe that if you re going to make a statement that contradicts conventional wisdom, you should be prepared to support it with evidence. ( conventional wisdom isn t always based on fact anyway) Thanks



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Wolverine

posted April 5, 2007 at 11:37 pm


A few responses to Balmer: 1. This is a tough one to answer because parts of this story are at least plausible: Bob Jones University did have a no interracial dating rule, and their fight with the IRS over their tax-exampt status was a big deal among some fundamentalists. My recollection of my (unhappy) experience in a fundy church was that the BoJo controversy did predate the abortion issue. 2. But I don’t think that Ballmer’s case is as strong as he thinks it is, even if we accept his account of the meeting as Gospel. Remember that Jerry Falwell jumped the shark as a conservative leader before the end of the Reagan administration. 3. It’s also true that, whatever the initial stimulus might have been, it wasn’t until several years later, in the 1980 elections, that the “religious right” had any significant impact, by which time the abortion issue had become a full part of the agenda and the Bob Jones issue had become less important. 4. Not to say that Bob Jones didn’t matter, or that the Christian Right was a big supporter of civil rights, but during the eighties there was a shift away from fundamentalism. A big part of this was a sense of embarassment over the stark racism of Bob Jones. 5. I know this will be hard to believe, but since the middle of the Reagan administration the role of Jerry Falwell as a leader in the Christian Conservative movement has been debatable. I know a lot of Christians who admire him, but I also know more who consider him something of an embarassment. 6. I think a lot of people would question Ballmer’s capacity for fairness to conservative Christians based on his handling of the torture issue, on which he interpreted the responses of conservative groups in a very uncharitable manner. 7. But I’ll lay that aside because there’s another way to explain this: Bob Jones might have been the issue that motivated a handful of key leaders, but the folks in the pews, in the end, just weren’t willing to go all out to defend the prerogatives of a bunch of bigots. In terms of creating a larger movement abortion really was much more important. Wolverine



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nad2

posted April 6, 2007 at 12:58 am


wolverine, a well-reasoned response to an article posted (devoid of the rhetoric of your first post), and firsthand insight into the rise of the rel right movement i appreciated – i commend your post. as this post originally started out about king, i reiterate my encouragement for everyone to read the speech this post is about. i can think of no better articulation of the heart of the christian anti-war movement, which simply cannot be dismissed without calling seriously into question the foundations of our faith & jesus’ teachings. but the speech does get ‘beyond vietnam’ and war as well, and is so phophetic in character that for me it is very moving. folks of all stripes owe it to ourselves to take a little while and read this inspired text. i am off to maundy thursday service, i wish everyone a blessed easter season, full of the power, defiance and hope of the resurrection!



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neuro_nurse

posted April 6, 2007 at 1:20 am


splinterlog I did a little Googling to find out what secondary sources I could find to the claims made by Randall Balmer about the SBC and abortion and found the following, from Baptist sources, no less: A brief timeline of W.A. Criswell’s life and ministry 1968: Elected president of the Southern Baptist Convention, serving two one-year terms. 1973: Affirmed the Supreme Court’s Roe vs. Wade decision permitting abortion. Religious News Service quoted Criswell as saying, “I have always felt that it was only after a child was born and had life separate from the mother that it became an individual person, and it always has, therefore, seemed to me that what is best for the mother and for the future should be allowed.” Criswell later changed his position on abortion, becoming a staunch opponent of the procedure. http://www.baptiststandard.com/2002/1_14/pages/criswell_timeline.html SBC Resolutions Resolution On Abortion June 1971WHEREAS, Christians in the American society today are faced with difficult decisions about abortion; and WHEREAS, Some advocate that there be no abortion legislation, thus making the decision a purely private matter between a woman and her doctor; and WHEREAS, Others advocate no legal abortion, or would permit abortion only if the life of the mother is threatened; Therefore, be it RESOLVED, that this Convention express the belief that society has a responsibility to affirm through the laws of the state a high view of the sanctity of human life, including fetal life, in order to protect those who cannot protect themselves; and Be it further RESOLVED, That we call upon Southern Baptists to work for legislation that will allow the possibility of abortion under such conditions as rape, incest, clear evidence of severe fetal deformity, and carefully ascertained evidence of the likelihood of damage to the emotional, mental, and physical health of the mother http://www.sbc.net/resolutions/amResolution.asp?ID=13 Thanks for the tip



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splinterlog

posted April 6, 2007 at 6:27 am


Neuronurse – oh sorry I didn’t mean to be curt. I was busy at work and only had time to fire off a quick note. Sorry if I sounded that way.Meanwhile – what an interesting source you’ve found there! I must direct the attention of our blogtrolls to that the next time they get on their “abortionmills” soapbox!



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evden eve nakliyat

posted April 6, 2007 at 2:48 pm


evden eve nakliyat



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Wolverine

posted April 6, 2007 at 8:49 pm


I read over the statement from the SBC and while it’s interesting, it’s not as exciting as its been made out to be: 1. Timing — this resolution predated Roe v. Wade by a couple years. At that point is wasn’t well known how far the court was likely to go. 2. The general priciple is pro-life: society has a responsibility to affirm through the laws of the state a high view of the sanctity of human life, including fetal life, in order to protect those who cannot protect themselves 3. Most of the exceptions listed are the sort that pro-lifers, at least among protestants, are willing to accept: rape, incest, and damage to the physical health of the mother. 4. The exceptions that they list that most pro-lifers would have trouple with are severe fetal abnormalities and danger to the mental or emotional health of the mother. Of these, case law subsequent to Roe has expanded the criteria of mental and emotional health of the mother to the point where abortion is nearly beyond state regulation. But this also could not have been anticipated in 1971. 5. As it is, the SBC conditions these exceptions on “clear evidence” of severe fetal deformities, and “carefully ascertained evidence” of a risk to the mother’s health. 6. In the current political environment, a politician that took this position would probably be shunned by NARAL, but would have a reasonably good chance of being accepted by most pro-lifers. This is certainly not a statement of support for “on-demand” abortion. My guess would be that this is a tougher stance on abortion than more Sojourners staff could support. Wolverine



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Mike Hayes

posted April 6, 2007 at 10:54 pm


“When Presidents Lie” by Eric Alterman compares the lies that were told about Yalta, the Cuban missle crisis, the Gulf of Tonkin, and the presence of biological and chemical weapons in Iraq. Persons who support the values in “God’s Politics” would see value in the book… others will not…



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Paul

posted April 7, 2007 at 4:20 pm


Rick Nowlin, “Conservative media, on the other hand (and even in its news converage), start with a premise, often flawed, and work backwards without regard to basic facts that nearly anyone can find if he/she looks hard enough. Just because something is in a “left-wing” publication doesn’t mean it isn’t true — in fact, I would trust it more.” This sort of bigotry is why journalists are held in such low regard. You should look up the notion of projection. cheers, Paul



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Paul

posted April 7, 2007 at 8:40 pm


For a useful review of “When Presidents Lie” see: http://www.logosjournal.com/issue_5.2/schuessler_alterman.htm cheers, Paul



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Paul

posted April 7, 2007 at 8:47 pm

Rick Nowlin

posted April 8, 2007 at 8:19 pm


This sort of bigotry is why journalists are held in such low regard. You should look up the notion of projection. That’s not bigotry — that’s gospel truth, and I don’t care what anyone says in rebuttal. I suggest two books by David Brock, former conservative journalist who knows this first-hand: “Blinded by the Right: The Conscience of an Ex-Conservative,” which is a first-person account of Hillary Clinton’s “vast right-wing conspiracy” — in fact, he was the one who told her about it; and “The Republican Noise Machine: Right-Wing Media and How it Corrupts Democracy.” He founded Media Matters for America because he knows from experience just how they work. No conservative will criticize his findings openly because they know darn well he’s telling the truth.



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neuro_nurse

posted April 9, 2007 at 3:12 am


splinterlog I didn’t feel that you came off as curt – I was afraid I did! Peace



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Wolverine

posted April 9, 2007 at 4:33 pm


Speaking of David Brock, Rick Nowlin wrote: No conservative will criticize his findings openly because they know darn well he’s telling the truth. Here’s Byron York of National Review: Finally, the creation of Brock’s new organization happens to coincide with his drive to publicize his new book, The Republican Noise Machine: Right-Wing Media and How It Corrupts Democracy. The book purports to tell Americans that the “verbal brownshirts” of the Right are far more dangerous than many believe. In Brock’s telling, conservatism is close to an all-powerful political movement, while liberalism, once formidable, now “seems a fringe dispensation of a few aging professors and Hollywood celebrities.” The right wing is so dominant, Brock writes, that even if Democrats win the presidency this year “they still face the prospect of being brutally slammed and systematically slandered in such a way that will make governing exceedingly difficult.” The brutal conservative noise machine will keep going, Brock warns, “until its capacities to spread filth are somehow eradicated.”Hyperbole aside, it should be said that some of Brock’s supporters genuinely believe such things. But at least so far, their faith in Brock does not appear to be shared by the mainstream press. Other than a friendly interview by the Today show’s Katie Couric, Brock has received far less attention for his new project than he received in 2002 when he published “Blinded by the Right”, the book in which he confessed to having lied in some of the stories he wrote for conservative publications in the 1990s. The book did what many even those on the left who share Brock’s contempt for conservatives consider fatal damage to Brock’s credibility. When Blinded by the Right appeared, Timothy Noah, the liberal “Chatterbox” columnist for Slate, wrote that “Chatterbox yields to no one in his eagerness to believe the awful things Brock is now saying about himself and the conservative movement in America. But the more Brock insists that he has lied, and lied, and then lied again, the more one begins to suspect Brock of being, well, a liar.” Even when he was “one of us” Brock was always known as a bit sketchy. Brock was the guy who specialized in Clinton sleaze; if memory serves his main contribution to journalism prior to “Blinded by the Right” was the Arkansas State Trooper story. His credibility among conservatives wasn’t all that high when he was at American Spectator and now that he’s flipped, well, I guess you’re welcome to him. Wolverine



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Rick Nowlin

posted April 9, 2007 at 5:15 pm


Even when he was “one of us” Brock was always known as a bit sketchy. Brock was the guy who specialized in Clinton sleaze; if memory serves his main contribution to journalism prior to “Blinded by the Right” was the Arkansas State Trooper story. His credibility among conservatives wasn’t all that high when he was at American Spectator and now that he’s flipped, well, I guess you’re welcome to him. He also was as well-known for savaging Anita Hill, BTW. Anyway, your take sounds convincing enough except for one thing: When Brock wrote for the right wing he admits he never used corroboration, which is crucial in legitimate journalism (the “two-source” rule) and which he will tell you conservative media don’t use even today, which is part of the premise of “The Republican Noise Machine.” And besides that (there’s a good piece in today’s New York Times to this effect), the goal wasn’t really to prove anything but simply to make Clinton look bad. On the other hand, when Brock finally came clean about what was going on, the media originally were very skeptical (understandably, because he had lied so repeatedly) but after they checked other, independent sources they realized he was telling the truth. A result was that the guy who financed the “Arkansas Project” for the Spectator — who actually lives in my city — was hauled into Federal court in Arkansas and questioned about witness tampering right before the impeachment.



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Rick Nowlin

posted April 9, 2007 at 5:42 pm


Wolverine — I forgot to mention this, but Brock also fingered National Review in “Blinded by the Right.” York’s review thus says much of nothing; it’s little more than damage control.



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Wolverine

posted April 9, 2007 at 6:00 pm


Rick Nowlin, If I read it right, what you’re saying is: David Brock is critical of National Review, therefore National Review should not be taken seriously. To which I respond: National Review criticized David Brock, therefore anything that David Brock says about National Review should not be given any weight because “it’s little more than damage control”. So there. Wolverine



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Rick Nowlin

posted April 9, 2007 at 6:18 pm


David Brock is critical of National Review, therefore National Review should not be taken seriously. More specifically, Brock exposed the dirt on National Review’s hands, so anything it says about Brock should be taken with a grain of salt. And, as I said, not one conservative could question the accuracy of “Blinded by the Right” because everything he said was true — so conservatives attacked him personally.



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Paul

posted April 12, 2007 at 6:17 pm


Rick Nowlin, “That’s not bigotry — that’s gospel truth, and I don’t care what anyone says in rebuttal.” And any position, such as yours, which makes itself immune from rebuttal is by definition, irrational, and by definition bigotry. cheers, Paul



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