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Child Sacrifice is More Common Than You Think

posted by Brad Hirschfield

Of course, child sacrifice should horrify us. But the fact that it still exists, and is making headlines in a number of states, should not really surprise us. After all, the notion of using the life of one’s child to prove the depth of one’s faith and commitment is present in virtually all of the world’s religious and political traditions. The followers of all three Abrahamic faiths flirt with this tradition in numerous ways including the foundational stories of the “binding of Isaac” in Genesis, Abraham’s willingness to sacrifice Ishmael in the Qur’an, and the entire story of Jesus which celebrates a “father” who offers “his only begotten son” on the cross.
Similar stories can be found in other religious traditions as well, and writing this on Memorial Day reminds me that politics is just as effective as religion in mobilizing nations to prove their commitment to a cause by sacrificing young men and women to implement the policies of their elders.
Since I believe that some wars do need to be fought, I can accept this. But we should not pretend that the impulse to celebrate the loss of children “who made the ultimate sacrifice” is foreign to any of us. In fact, our distancing ourselves from this question actually empowers and protects those who respond to it in the most grotesque ways. The real question is what do we do with that impulse, the impulse to offer those people we love most for the ideas we love most?
Clearly, the parents of children like Leilani Neumann and Daniel Hauser have decided that murdering their children to honor their faith is the way to go. But they are just the tip of the iceberg. From coast to coast, thousands of kids are in danger because of the fanatical faith of their parents.


In Oregon for example, there is a cemetery filled with the graves of 80 youngsters whose families decided to let them die because their faith forbids modern medicine. It’s going on all over the country and there is a word for it, murder.
Parents are murdering their kids and the really disturbing part is not so much that they are doing it, but that they are getting away with it. Why? Because we let them. That’s right, us. And our culpability is the real story here.
It’s easy to go on about how sick and wicked these parents are, but the real story here is how nice people like you and me tolerate a situation in which, according to the law in as many as 45 states (the statute is debatable in a few) parents who withhold standard-of-care medical treatment for curable illnesses from their kids are not criminally culpable in the deaths of those children. Talk about freedom of religion having run amok!
Freedom of religion does not include parents’ rights to make irreversible decisions which contradict the best medical information that we possess, about the lives of their children. I agree that the last thing we need is government regulation of our spiritual lives. But when we are dealing with kids who can not make decisions for themselves, the government does have a role in assuring these children a safe passage into adulthood, when they can do so.
Better laws alone, will not end the phenomenon of parents murdering their kids for God. But assuming our full measure of responsibility for having a legal system which holds such parents fully accountable will help. Most importantly, it will move us from a culture of complaint about “those people” to a culture of activism on behalf of the young victims of fanatical faith. And if this really is about our genuine concern for these children, nothing could be more important.



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Henrietta22

posted May 29, 2009 at 11:36 am


You’ve made some interesting points Rabbi Hirshfield about extreme religious faith and how it is affecting children and our whole society in America. There seems to be more cases coming closer together all the time. Our laws need to work with this and stop it.



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Z.Beeblebrox

posted May 29, 2009 at 1:03 pm


It is a very small step from removing the rights of parents to decide on medical treatment for their children from serious diseases to to what is in the child’s best interest for “mental health.” If the state decides that people who take their faith seriously (read: fundamentalists) are disturbed for holding a belief that their faith is the only true faith, the state could then use the assumed indoctrination of the children into these “dangerous” beliefs as a pretext for removing the children from their homes.
For those who do not share the beliefs of the groups who abhor modern medicine, the deaths of those children are tragic. The real question is how much authority do we really want to give the government in overriding parental rights. In a perfect world where the government operates as a neutral arbiter, this might be an acceptable solution. In the real world, where governmental policies are often driven by wildly differing worldviews from the majority of the populaiton, giving the government the power to override the decisions of parents can be nothing but a slippery slope which will result in the government eventually taking complete responsibility and authority over children’s (and most parents’) lives, especially those who disagree with the government’s policies.
So, while I weep for the children who may needlessly die when modern medical treatment is withheld, I am not willing to give up my freedoms as a parent in trade.
“They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety.” – Benjamin Franklin



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Your Name

posted May 29, 2009 at 2:15 pm


I suppose, Z, I would have to ask…
what if the treatment the parents had chosen was starvation? Perhaps they think that by starving the child, the evil spirits will leave?
Do parents have the right to do that?
On to mental illness, what if the child was suicidally depressed, or even schitzophrenic? Perhaps the parents might decide to just keep praying until the child hurts themself or someone else?
I will grant you that in the case of mental illness, it may get a little grey given that for serious situations, there is often no perfect cure, but when a child is deathly ill, and there is a cure which will almost definitely work, then the parents are OBLIGATED to get that help just like they are obligated to feed the child.
But, that brings up a point. Are parents obligated to feed a child? What if they think that, by starving the child, they will teach them self-reliance?
If the government shouldn’t interfere when a child’s life is in danger due to illness, why should it be allowed to interfere in any parental decisions no matter how disasterous?
What if the parents are beating the child? Feeding the child poison?
All of these might be easily written off using the ‘get out of jail free card’ that religion seems to expect.



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moleboy

posted May 29, 2009 at 2:16 pm


(my apologies for posting twice…something odd happened with captcha)



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Robert

posted May 29, 2009 at 7:31 pm


I had cancer when I was 10. Fortunately, I had a tumor that was caught very early and could be surgically removed. I had the surgery, and my parents made (with me, although I was more told than asked for consent) a decision to forego radiation and chemotherapy. There was a risk of the cancer returning, but a certainty I would stop growing and spend the rest of my life in a 10-year-old’s body. No radiation or chemo for me, over the objection “but you can’t be sure he got it all.”
And they couldn’t. But more than 40 years later, here I am–6 feet tall and burly.
My point is, every decision to forego medical intervention is not based on fear or religion. Sometimes parents make decisions outisde conventional medical advice and the decisions are sensible and right.



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Your Name

posted May 30, 2009 at 5:35 am


In this country we don’t “send our children to war.” In this country our military is a voluntary, professional force…but I get your point about elsewhere.
Does the state have the right to remove life-support from a disabled adult, against the parents’ desires, as in Terry Schiavo?
Is abortion Constitutionally protected child sacrafice?



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Your Name

posted May 30, 2009 at 5:37 am


above: oops, I meant “sacrifice”



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Bev M

posted May 30, 2009 at 1:16 pm


My, my, how depressing to really stop & think of the ways we find to sacrifice, abuse [and punish] our children – ourselves – and each other! At this time, with 1 out of 100 Americans spending time in prison, I do not think more laws to send people to prison is the answer to much of anything! Regarding medical treatment (which includes abortion), I believe those decisions are best left to doctors and the people who must undergo treatments. If a woman chooses abortion, she is the one who lives with all the consequences of that decision. I personally lean towards making most decisions from an intuitive guidance – after investigation of facts, thinking and praying. A doctor may recommend – but I know my own body in a way that no outsider does! Maybe we could seek to provide patient, caring counsel to parents – rather than get so judgmental and authoritarian! There could be a type of arbitration system set up to explore issues? Hmmm? You know what absolutely kills me about our society – is that in every area we absolutely neglect prevention, education, training and counsel – and then we jump on the judgmental punishing bandwagon very quickly! Watch that in drug addiction – no prevention – no easy access to treatment – but boy let’s throw the addicts in prison – and still offer no treatment or medical help! Let’s all stop to consider our underlying assumptions!



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Guamar

posted May 30, 2009 at 1:47 pm


Bev, just a word about abortion. A woman should never be given the right to murder her baby. This is an outrage! The worst part of it is that, in this country, they have legalized this horrendous crime, and most people are indifferent to what is going on or ignore what an abortion entails.
Abortion is NOT a medical treatment. It is a moral distortion and a fallacy to think and say that it ONLY affects the woman. As a matter of fact, it is already affecting families, communities, the whole of society, and the fundamental health of our country.
Protecting the life of everyone, especially the innocent and defenseless unborn babies, is everyone’s responsibility. Let’s not look the other way or remain silent when we see injustices being committed around us. +



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THE ABUSED FELDBAUM IN PHILADELPHIA

posted May 30, 2009 at 2:10 pm


I WAS BORN WITH A CONGENITAL CATARACT AND GLUCOMA OF THE RIGHT EYE AS WELL AS HEMANGIOMAS COVERING THE ENTIRE RIGHT SIDE OF MY FACE. AFTER TREATING THE HEMANGIOMAS WITH DRY ICE, MY PARENTS USED TO TIE MY RIGHT ARM TO MY CRIB TO KEEP ME FROM TOUCHING MY FACE. MANY YEARS LATER I DEVELOPED LINEAR SCLERADERMA WHICH MAY HAVE RESULTED FROM HAVING BEEN RESTRAINED REPEATEDLY. WHEN I SHOWED MY PARENTS THE SCARS ON MY WRIST THEY CLAIMED I INFLICTED THEM ON MYSELF AND TRIED TO HAVE ME COMMITTED. THEY HAD THE CATARACT REMOVED, BUT ALLOWED THEMSELVES TO BE TALKED INTO USING ME AS A GUINEA PIG FOR THE TESTING OF CORTISONE EYE DROPS BY TWO OUT OF TWELVE DOCTORS WHO RECOMMENDED THAT THE EYE BE ENUCLIATED. I WAS ALSO BORN AUTO-IMMUNE, BUT WHEN THE DOCTORS TOLD MY PARENTS TO HAVE MY TONSILS REMOVED THEY REFUSED. I WAS A SICKLY CHILD AND MISSED A LOT OF SCHOOL. ALL THIS WAS DONE BECAUSE THEY CLAIMED TO BE WAITING FOR A MIRACLE. BUT WHILE THEY WERE WAITING I WAS BEATEN AND ABUSED BY MY FATHER WHO PUNCHED ME IN MY BLIND EYE AND CLAIMED THAT IF IT WERE NOT FOR MY EYE HE WOULD BE RICH, BITTEN AND HIT REPEATEDLY BY MY SISTER, AND ALMOST STRANGULATED BY MY MOTHER THE FIRST TIME I ATTEMPTED TO WEAR A SCLERAL COVER SHELL PAINTED BROWN TO HIDE THE EYE DEFECTS OUT IN PUBLIC. YEARS LATER THEY EXCUSED THEMSELVES BY PRETENDING TO HAVE BEEN RAISED “SUPERSTITIOUS” ABOUT MY EYE. I HAVE BEEN CALLED “DEMONIC” AND “THE EVIL EYE” BY EVERY MEMBER OF MY IMMEDIATE FAMILY. THESE JEWS IN PHILADELPHIA WERE DOING THIS TO COVER UP THE FACT THAT MY MOTHER IS RH NEGATIVE AND I AM NOT HER FIRST PREGNANCY. WHEN I WAS IN MY TWENTIES I HAD TO HAVE MY TONSILS REMOVED AND THE EYE ENUCLIATED. EVERYTIME I WENT TO A DOCTOR TO SEE ABOUT REPAIRING MY BIRTH DEFECTS MY MOTHER THREATENED TO SUE THE DOCTORS IF THEY TREATED ME. I HAD TO BATTLE MY PARENTS WHO MADE EVERY DOCTOR IN PHILADELPHIA AFRAID TO TREAT ME. BUT FINALLY I DID GET MEDICAL TREATMENT. TO THIS DAY MY FAMILY MEMBERS COVER UP WHAT THEY DID AND THEY ALL STICK UP FOR EACH OTHER AND CONTINUE TO TELL PEOPLE THAT I AM INSANE, EVEN THO I HAVE ALL THE MEDICAL DOCUMENTATION.



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Harrietb98

posted May 30, 2009 at 2:45 pm


What about the Islamic terrorists who encourage their children to become suicide bombers?



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Harrietb98

posted May 30, 2009 at 2:50 pm


I disagree with Guamar and Bev about abortion. It isn’t a child, until it is born. Before that, it is a part of the woman’s body, to do with, as she sees fit.



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harrietb98

posted May 30, 2009 at 2:52 pm


Abused Feldbaum, did you ever try to sue your parents? You may have had a case.



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Rivqah

posted May 30, 2009 at 3:18 pm


Harriet b, The child IS a genetic human being at the moment of conception. It is a human and should be protected from murder before birth as well as after.



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Rivqah

posted May 30, 2009 at 3:21 pm


Feldbaum, my husband has epilepsy and was abused by his family because of his disability. I really feel your pain. Have you tried couseling to help you to deal with their sick behavior? My husband did and it helped him.



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Janice

posted May 30, 2009 at 3:58 pm


Please rethink and pray about decisions to support hedonistic behavior
like this. God formed each of us in our mother’s womb, so each is a
human baby at conception. Using children to speak out your wicked ideas
about what you “think” is what God wants seems demonic to me. God’s not
telling you to stop any medical treatment that could save your child’s life. It’s pure evil and NOT our Lord’s will. You lack faith and discernment has you listening to the evil one of this world. Sacrificing
children for ANY cause is demonic!k



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Your Name

posted May 30, 2009 at 9:11 pm


I WOULD LOVE TO WELCOME A CHILD IF I GET PREGNANT AGAIN,BUT AT MY AGE
IT WILL TAKE A MIRACLE TO CONCEIVE.THIS PLACE IS PERFECT,BUT THE TIME
IS NOT,I AM GETTING OLD AND NOT SURE OF MY HEALTH IN CASE I HAVE ONE.
BUT IN THE CASE OF MURDER,I NEVER HAVE THAT IN MIND,NEVER WILL THAT
COME TO MIND NO MATTER WHAT.IF I GOD WILL THAT I WILL STILL BEAR A
CHILD EVEN WHEN MY AGE IS A LITTLE BIT AT THE EDGE OF CHILD BEARING,
SINCE IT IS GOD’S WILL,HE SHALL PROVIDE THE STRENGHT TO ENDURE AND
SUSTAIN MY CHILD AND MY WHOLE FAMILY.



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Your Name

posted May 31, 2009 at 12:12 pm


God gave us each one body and one life with brains and free will to control it. I support abortion because I think it is sometimes the “lesser of two evils”.
There are many unwanted and abused children and forcing women to bear children increases that nasty scenario. Not to mention over-population of the world. Does God want us to continue to over-populate thus killing our earth faster when we have knowledge and choices to do things differently? A fetus is a POTENTIAL baby!
I also full believe we need to focus on taking good loving care of the babies,children, people, animals and earth who are already alive – and stop wasting energy on this endless debate!
Women will have abortions whether the naysayers approve or not! There is no need to criminalize it.



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Al Eastman

posted May 31, 2009 at 3:01 pm


The “state”, according to our worthy rabbi has the right to intercede when it deems the religious beliefs of parents endangers the well being of their child(ren). From that position, it is a small step for the state to deem the psychological well being of these same children may be harmed by the religious beliefs of the parents. The religion might not be some sort of esoteric shamanism like the 13 year old’s parents follow, but something that another minority follows, like Judaism.
The danger of allowing the “state” to have the power to intervene between parents and child(ren) puts us on a slippery slope. To let this “state” become all powerful is a mistake made time and time again throughout human history. Look no further than Germany, Russia, Japan, Italy and China during the past 80 to 100 years. As Z.Beeblebrox rightly quoted Ben Franklin: “They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety.”



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harrietb98

posted May 31, 2009 at 4:03 pm


Rivqah, it is not a person, until it draws breath. Before that, it is a POTENTIAL human being, with all the rights of a human being.



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emoryricky

posted May 31, 2009 at 9:14 pm


All medicine is a miracle. the fact that GOD gave some the wisdom to create cures is a miracle. THere will be no new miricle when the miracle already exist



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Your Name

posted June 1, 2009 at 10:57 am


I don’t need to bear children anymore,i have 4 girls and that’s it!
I can ask my doctor to permanently do me tubal ligation permanently
maybe this time he would agree,if he still refuse,i can ask my other
doctor in asia.I spend my life working hard doing my best to raise them as long as i live.



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Guamar

posted June 1, 2009 at 11:38 am


Dear Harriet 98, life begins at conception. This is a fact proven by science.
What is growing inside the mother’s womb is not a puppy or a kitten, it is a human being, even if you may not call it a person yet. It is a matter of language distortion. The baby inside the womb is a baby, call it what you wish! That is why it should be given equal rights to life and the pursuit of happiness as EVERYONE ELSE…! The same rights you and I have. You and I were unborn babies at one moment and, when our mothers gave birth, we were the same as we had been an hour before we were born. No difference. Did you know that if a pregnant woman is murdered and her baby dies the perpetrator will be charged for TWO counts of murder? If what is inside the woman is not a person, human being, a baby…, this could not happen.
And did you know that turtle eggs are protected by the laws of this country, but not the human embryos? How is this possible? I call it an outrage, and all of us should try to put and end to it.
Please, think about it, Harriet 98, and perhaps even do some research so that you may form a more accurate opinion for yourself in this matter. +



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freelunch

posted June 1, 2009 at 2:08 pm


life begins at conception. This is a fact proven by science.
No, it is not. The two gametes that join are both alive already. Life continues, it does not begin.



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zev

posted June 2, 2009 at 8:18 pm


Dr. Andrew Bostom, author of The Legacy of Islamic Antisemitism, delivered the talk before mine.] Andy’s book is a perfect illustration of the problem we have. His work is a massive work of brilliance. It contains that everything that every Jew needs to know about Islam. Now let me tell you the problem. It’s not Andy and it’s not the book. There’s not a rabbi, there is not a Jewish political leader who know anything about this. The ADL (Anti Defamation League) came to Nashville and gave a talk on Islam and anti-Semitism.



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Muslims Against Sharia

posted June 3, 2009 at 5:03 am


A line from Ali Sina: “Only truth can set us free.”
A lie from Ali Sina: “the ‘moderates’ also confess of being hypocites. They will tell you they believe in Islam but they are not good Muslims.”
Ali Sina has the right to view Islam any way he wants to. However, supporting his arguments by making stuff up puts him in the same category of lying scumbags as CAIR who claim that there Islam has nothing to do with terrorism.



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Your Name

posted June 3, 2009 at 3:45 pm


Guamar, I have given a great deal of thought to this issue. But, what is growning in the woman’s womb, is growing in the woman’s womb, a part of her body. Not only does it not have EQUAL rights to the woman, it has NO rights.
Once the head emerges from the womb, and it draws breath, it is a person, with full human rights. Before that, it is a POTENTIAL human being.



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Clara Bielecki

posted June 4, 2009 at 11:47 pm


Scroll down



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Jen

posted March 24, 2011 at 4:51 pm


I have to say that I disagree with you on the point that ‘not seeking medical treatment’based on religious beliefs is equivalent to murder. Many times medical treatments throughout history have proven to be dangerous and ineffective and yet they were considered the standard at the time (i.e. bloodletting). There are many ‘treatments’ and medical standards in our society that parents should have the right to refuse based on religion or just plain common sense. To suggest that the right to make faith-based decisions for the best interest of our children should be taken away and granted to someone else, particularly the government, is just wrong. Parents make decisions every year to have their children vaccinated or treated with drugs that have fatal side effects, would you too consider them culpable?

I would like to add to your list something that is obvious and yet often missed. Abortion. People involved in child sacrifice have always done so to find ‘favor with the gods’, for success, etc. Today we blindly accept that abortion is the “right” of women and don’t pause to see the obvious connection; women have the ‘right’ to abort their babies because having an unwanted baby will affect their future–apparently it is assumed that the effect will be negative, and therefore, to ensure success in life they sacrifice the life of their children. I was disappointed that you left out this obvious example of child sacrifice…it is something that desperately needs to be acknowledged.



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rick

posted December 21, 2011 at 1:06 pm


if you have faith in god to heal your kid , that is fine , but while you are waiting for god to heal your child , give him medicine in the meantime. why make your child suffer why you are waiting on god? and of course plenty of idol worshippers killed plenty of children in the name of their religion . God also killed plenty of children too , using his armies headed by names like king david and moses to mention a few. this was right in god’s eyes . now , if there is a great creator out there , who are we to say he has to do what is right ? he can do whatever he pleases . even if he decided to do what isn’t right in his own eyes . are you going to stop the creator? he can break his own laws of what is right or wrong . if someone says there is no creator , that everything just happened out of nothing , that is absurd and foolish . creative design demands a design creator . and all of us kill our children in a subtle way , how? poisons in food that we feed our kids , pollution of the air, wars , etc. etc. we are all guilty . I know one thing , I do fear god. it is the beginnig of wisdom . he does what he does and did. i try to weigh these things and make sense of all the bloodshed . I too am quite capable of bloodshed . smash my little boy in the face and i will smash you . we all think like that . we are all quite capable of bloodshed . we are made like god . he kills for different reasons and so do we. he knows how to love and forgive and so do we. god says he forgives us if we accept his method of forgiveness , which is thru jesus christ . accept it and live . I don’t like all the bloodshed that evil people caused and god caused . but i am trying to understand everything god did . he is not just the kindly blond hair blue eyed jesus . he is also the god of war in revelations who will bring final judgement on those not accepting his forgiveness thru christ . is part of my believing god out of fear? yes . he is to be feared in my mind .I try to stay humble in my mind when i read the bible . there is too much logic there to deny it . i have not found anything better . believing in no creator is absurd . you have to believe in something . just believing in man as the final authority is ridiculous . man is continually falling short of their own concience and ideals , this has gone on throughout our short history . we have not progressed in our conscience {attitudes} since the beginnig . we should probaly believe in a creator who promises to save fallen man . for god so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son that whosoever believes in him will not perish but have eternal life . at least that gives me some kind of hope . than no hope . it is a free gift . so the book says . i can’t earn it , i just have to accept it . of all theories , this makes the most sense to me . a creator that says i will live forever outside this body into another . and it is a gift that can’t be earned . but taken as free . yes . the bible is full of blood . but so are we . it is also full of forgiveness and happy endings .



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