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June 02, 2009

Comments

>>So the "if no further injury" clause of Ex 21:22 does not apply as it is certain these infants will be stillborn or die within seconds

Dave, you're missing it, here. I'm not assuming every premature child is born alive. If a child is born prematurely and yet there is no further injury (precisely what the text says), he is fine--he is merely premature. Death is, by definition, an injury further than just being born early. That is a further injury.

Notice how this whole passage is focused on the unborn child, not the woman. This whole thing is about injuries to the unborn child. Injuries to women in general are already covered elsewhere. This whole thing seems to be specifying the rules for injuries to unborn children. Otherwise, it's just redundant.

Lori,

You say "CHOOSE LIFE". Then any form of birth control must be unacceptable as using it would be choosing non-life over life. In fact, a woman ought to ensure that no egg leaves her body except as a fully developed baby, otherwise she is not choosing life. If you disagree then where is the boundary and who decides? For the unbeliever this would be a decision based on practicalities or perhaps politics. But how about for the Christian?

I wouldn't say that Francis Beckwith is nut, but he's not averse to adopting nutty positions. And that's not to say that he's stupid. Beckwith takes these nutty positions for a reason. This time it's an instance of "biting the bullet." He wants to remain consistent with his radical "pro-life" views while steering clear of what David Hawkins' warns against:

No one group can publicly sanction vigilante justice, ever, and not expect to be raked over the media coals and risk a loss of being taken seriously in the forum of public debate.

>> "I wouldn't say that Francis Beckwith is nut, but he's not averse to adopting nutty positions."

I love how we're debating if frank Beckwith is, or is not, a nut.

haha :)

ok well, i don't think he's nuts. But I agree with CT's post above.

God knows if i had a job at the ETS and a wife and a dog and a cat and a hamster, the last thing i'd want is the Feds banging on my door.

Guys, i think ultimately, prolifers really shy away from the obvious ramifications of their beliefs because they got mouths to feed, and they're just not interested in getting thrown to the lions anymore.

No Amy, you're missing the point. The fact is that a violently induced labor/birth results in a dead baby more often than not, and this fact disproves the articles contention that the Hebrew word used to describe the induced birth signifies a live birth, which invalidates the argument and its interpretation of scripture as a whole. This invalidation is not of scripture but of the interpretation of it.

If I would assume the further injury does not apply to the mother but the baby only, which I don't but for the sake of argument briefly will, the further injury would be if the baby survives for a time then dies due to injuries resulting from the violence or just the fact it is born too early, hence no redundancy.

>> No one group can publicly sanction vigilante justice, ever, and not expect to be raked over the media coals and risk a loss of being taken seriously in the forum of public debate.

Might this be appended with, "... for better or worse."?

Or rather,

Might this be appended with, "... taken seriously, for better or worse, ..."?

Because it seems to me that the quote merely appeals to public perception, which is not, per se, the gauge of credibility.

"Guys, i think ultimately, prolifers really shy away from the obvious ramifications of their beliefs because they got mouths to feed, and they're just not interested in getting thrown to the lions anymore."


Would you mind elaborating on that?

ok.

It's much easier to call yourself a "Christian Soldier", than to actually be one.

As I work this issue out for myself, one thing I'd like to explore is the possible correlation (if any) between the role of the cities of refuge for Old Testament Israel, and our judicial system, as far as the principle of affording a murderer, whether perceived or actual, his say.

If I may comment on the original post, there's another key difference with the playground sniper scenario. Imagine yourself in a situation where the government has written in law that the sniper has a right to shoot and kill and about half the population thinks the government should subsidize bullets for playground purposes.

In that scenario, what could someone possibly hope to accomplish by going after the sniper?

Also, if as the pro-choicers here say, I have a moral obligation to kill abortionists if I really am pro-life, then you also have an obligation to kill your neighbor if you believe he murdered his wife, for instance. But that's just plain illegal and taking the law into your own hands. You have assumed the role of judge, jury, and executioner. Perhaps in anarchy, that might possibly be the right thing to do. But in this country, we have police and a judicial system to handle such matters.

But what if the state condones murder? Then don't we, having the capacity, have the moral obligation to change the system?

>> It's much easier to call yourself a
>> "Christian Soldier", than to actually
>> be one.

True. Isn't it also much easier to call yourself a nihlist than to actually be one?

There seems to be some implication that because one holds fast to a Christian worldview and opposes abortion, the Christian should be okay with
either one or both of the scenarios below:

1. A vigilante killing an abortionist.

2. Willing to be a "Christian soldier" and do it him/herself.

Is this what you mean by Christian soldier, ToNy?

Many of us regard as dubious the idea that Dietrich Bonhoeffer's attempt to assassinate Hitler should be condemned as immoral. That Francis Beckwith's views force him to steadfastly affirm what is dubious casts doubt upon his views. But which of Beckwith's views should be challenged?

We should challenge his view that the killing of embryos/fetuses is, generally speaking, morally equivalent to the killing of an adult human being. Even if Beckwith can resist justifying assassinating abortion doctors by maintaining dubious views about Bonhoeffer, he's still committed to other alarming views. For example:

Suppose that an employee at a fertility clinic knows that the director of the clinic intends to destroy a dozen frozen embryos. The employee pleads with the director not to destroy these embryos, but the director insists that their destruction is legal as well as necessary for saving needed funds (funds that will be used to repair the parking lot). The employee promises to raise the "needed funds" by alternate means, but the director dismisses this idea as misguided. Growing desperate, the employee realizes that the only way to save the twelve embryos is to eliminate the director (the co-director who would replace her is "pro-life"). The only clear way to eliminate the director, however, is to assault her in a way that could foreseeably lead to her permanent injury or death. Is it morally permissible for the employee to thus assault the director? I take it that Francis Beckwith would have to say "yes". This is alarming.


Agilius,

>>"Because it seems to me that the quote merely appeals to public perception, which is not, per se, the gauge of credibility."


(The following addresses the notion of public perception as a gauge of credibility...not necessarily confined within the narrower topic of Tiller's demise.)

If by credibility, you mean getting nearer to an absolute truth, then your statement is certainly correct...and I couldn't agree more. My statement is all about public perception, though...and the fact that public perception has a direct effect upon a society's reality...and doesn't really concern itself many times with genuine credibility.

...One who can control, influence, manipulate, and render public perception is one who can determine and define public reality.

The problem is that in our present culture the manefestation of a practical and functional reality (i.e. laws, policies, ordinances that genuinely affect our lives) is often determined, manipulated, influenced, and corrupted by public perception of a given issue.

To promote, foster, and propagandize a view that does not require much credibility is no reason to dismiss the view too early if the masses are buying it. It impacts and determines reality insofar as that view is embraced by policy-makers that make decisions about how you live and function. For example, I do not believe the pro-choice camp to be credible in the reasons it defends its positions...but it would not be wise for me to ignore this lack of credibility; for the pro-choice camp is formidable, and has the reality of law and policy on its side. It has masterfully influenced public opinion, and as a result, laws have changed over the years, and that has created an all-too-new reality for all of us.

Longshoreman philosopher Eric Hoffers' secular work "The True Believer: Thoughts on the Nature of Mass Movements" is a worthwhile read that continues in this vein. (It has some meat to it, but one must be wary of the bones and gristle therein also.)

>> It's much easier to call yourself a
>> "Christian Soldier", than to actually
>> be one.

>>True. Isn't it also much easier to call yourself a nihlist than to actually be one?

Hypocrisy is one fantastic character trait everyone on this earth shares. And im glad you pointed that out Tony, Jesse, though in the former im not sure what this kind of person would look like.

CT,

I think I am missing something here, and need your help:

1. Beckwith opposes abortion.
2. Beckwith opposes Tiller's job.
3. Roeder shoots Tiller.
4. Beckwith opposes Roeder's act.

Right so far?

5. Beckwith opposes Hitler.
6. Bonhoeffer attempts to kill Hitler.
7. Beckwith opposes Bonhoeffer's act.

How do you arrive at your conclusion that Beckwith would support/endorse an assault on your hypthetical clinic director given he opposes the killing of "the killers" themselves through vigilantism?

His whole point is that one cannot use vigilantism to secure a social justice.

What am I missing insofar that you conclude he'd okay an assault on your clinic director to save human embryos?

(And what's so "radical" about his pro-life view? Do you not think that any pro-life view is radical?)

I was wondering the same thing David, leading me to believe I may have missed something

David Hawkins,

I can give you two pieces of advice which might help to get your wheels turning. First, carefully identify all of Beckwith's reasons for opposing Tiller's crime. See how those considerations fit (or fail to fit) into the reproductive clinic case. Second, suppose that, instead of 12 embryos in a fertility clinic, the "director" is about to destroy 12 innocent villagers in an area beyond the jurisdiction of any government. Compare these cases.

"beyond the jurisdiction of any government"

Therein lies the problem of the analigy, then, and I dont think these are sufficiently comparable cases.

Atleast, if your compairing the Tiller scenario and this hypothetical one

>>"...carefully identify all of Beckwith's reasons for opposing Tiller's crime."

I assume you mean Roeder's crime?

(Tiller was a law-abiding guy according to the Kansas judiciary.)

(Thanks for getting back so timely...I have to leave for a bit, but will review all the posts again.)

Please see,

http://robinphillips.blogspot.com/2009/06/who-should-really-be-apologizing-for.html

Source: http://salvomag.typepad.com/blog/

I wonder, is there is any circumstance where a Christian is morally justified in killing someone else? I want to set aside the circumstance of war and the circumstance where the Christian is acting in self defense.

If there is such a circumstance, what are the defining moral criteria?

If these general criteria are established then it would be clear if Roeder met them or not.

Has anyone seen such a discussion? I haven't followed all the postings here but I find Melinda's original post to be unconvincing.

She says: "Of course, killing a person without proper legal authority is flatly wrong."

Does this mean wrong as in illegal or wrong as in immoral? I can't imagine that she means immoral but it is not clear.

She also says: "In addition, anything that extends the unjust system of legalized abortion is immoral because more children will die in the long run."

How do we know that the effect of killing abortion providers will be in more children dying?

To this statement,

"Of course, killing a person without proper legal authority is flatly wrong."

William, consider all of the circumstances where you are within your legal rights to kill someone. Could you think of a valid killingsituation that doesnt also fall under law? (im actually asking here) We could start there

>>The fact is that a violently induced labor/birth results in a dead baby more often than not, and this fact disproves the articles contention that the Hebrew word used to describe the induced birth signifies a live birth

Not at all. Let's put the words "live birth" into it to see if it makes sense in the overall passage. Here's the first part:

If a woman is struck and she gives birth to a live baby and there is no further injury, there is a fine.

Okay, so far, it makes sense. Surely some babies born, particularly toward the end of pregnancy, induced by a trauma to the mother (not just a regular miscarriage), live, particularly if they are far enough along. This first part of the rule specifically applies to those who are living. This possibility must be covered, regardless of how many or few times it occurs. (BTW, to say how many miscarriages result in death is not really a fair statistic to bring up. We're not talking about a regular miscarriage, often caused by problems with the fetus. We're talking about induced labor.)

It goes on:

But if there is further injury (i.e., loss of life or harm of body part, as it specifies), then the punishment will fit the crime, the same as it does for any born human.

Note that he does not even say, "if they are born live and then there is further injury" in this second part. He merely says, "if there is further injury," meaning a further injury beyond merely being born early. In other words, merely causing the baby to be born early does not warrant what a death or harm of limbs or organs would warrant.

>>The fact is that a violently induced labor/birth results in a dead baby more often than not,

This is completely irrelevant. This is meant to cover all cases--those that are born dead and those that are born alive. The number of each of these has nothing to do with it.

C K Soci,

I want to approach the topic from a different direction. I am not so much concerned with what is legal, I am asking for guidance using Christian morality.

Now if what is legal is the definition of morality we start with, whose legality do we accept, Saudi Arabia's, France, the U.S.? Is it never moral for a Christian to do what is unlawful?

Is it moral for a Christian to do something in one country but when they move to another country the the same act now becomes immoral due to a change in legal definition?

I really want to hear Christian principles answering the question "is there is any circumstance where a Christian is morally justified in killing someone else?".

Hi Dave,
I can not speak for all Christians, I can only speak for my husband and myself and what, as Christians, we believe about birth control. We believe that using any form of birth control takes away the creating of life from God. In essence, you are taking something that God created to work in a certain way, and trying to control it yourself. There are certain hormonal treatments that women might take to treat a medical problem they may be having, and during the treatment, were I taking it, we would abstain so as not to accidentally cause the death of our child who might be concieved.

BTW Dave,
I did not say "choose life", those words are God's. Also, if an unfertilized egg leaves my body during menses, that does not mean that I am not choosing life, it means God did not open my womb to a child that month. In other words, I am not the one who chose life or not, that choice is God's alone.

David,

Ya i think a Christian Solider should feel inclined to put an end to the efforts of mass murderers.

Or, in the least, if he doesn't do it himself, he should support those that do.

Christians pro-lifers often employ a "Fog Of War Argument" in rationalizing their disaproval of the killing of abortionists.

e.g. We just can't know if this attack will lead to more or less abortions.

I think this is silly.

We just can't know if ANY attack will lead to an ultimate good or an ultimate evil.

We can indeed imagine circumstances in which killing hitler MAY have resulted in MORE jews being killed - not less.

If you're not a pacifist, then all you can do, is work with the data in front of you. e.g. 1.3 million murders a year.

ToNy,

You are offering some very good challenges to Beckwith and the folks at STR. I do not think that your challenges have been adequately answered. This is worrisome to me. Let me therefore offer an argument for why you might distinguish killing unborn babies from other murders--and thus for why you might distinguish Roeder's act from Bonhoeffer's. The argument shows that abortion is actually in the interest of the unborn baby. This doesn't make abortion right, but it does mean that abortion is quite unlike other sorts of murders. Here is the argument:

(1) Unborn babies do not deserve far worse than bodily dismemberment.

(2) God does not condemn people to worse than they deserve.

(3) Hell is worse than bodily dismemberment.

(4) Therefore, God does not condemn unborn babies to hell.

(5) Hundreds of millions of unborn babies have been aborted.

(6) Had they not been aborted, some of these would have survived to adulthood.

(7) It is not the case that each of these survivors would have come to faith in Christ (it is unreasonable to think otherwise).

(8) Adults who do not come to faith in Christ are condemned to hell.

(9) Therefore, if some had not been aborted, they’d have gone to hell.

(10) Therefore, abortion has saved some from hell.

(11) We can correspondingly conclude that abortion saves an unborn baby from the risk of hell.

(12) Hell involves eternal suffering and separation from God.

(13) There is nothing in the earthly life for which it is worth risking eternal separation from God.

(14) Therefore, abortion is in the unborn baby's interest.


CT, Ive heard some variations of that argument and while I get some of the reasoning behind it, I think that it suffers from a few over-presumptuous premises.

I think you could have shortened that from 14 to about 4* (lol!)

Excuse me if I trimmed off something important but I this is basically the argument I see presented.

1: Innocent People do not deserve far worse than bodily dismemberment.

2: God does not condemn innocent people to hell.

3: Unborn babies are completely innocent.

4: Therefore, God does not condemn aborted babies to hell.

Now, if we are speaking Bibically, there is no such thing as an innocent person. The Bible is very clear that we are born into sin by default since adam. The argument presented (which hopefully i have faithfully represented) assumes that babies are somehow exempt on behalf that 'they havent done anything'. Well quite frankly, if you exist, you've done something by nature of human depravity.

Therefore, God would not be in violation of any 'fairness rule' by sending an "innocent baby" to hell. Everyone on this planet deserves to go to hell (and I am progressively more convinced of this fact, but thats a different topic), though I will say perhaps babies are the "least guilty" out of all of us, but still guilty none the less.

The good news is, you dont have to get what you deserve (Grace, & Jesus offering himself in our place) and many of us indeed, wont get what we deserve. This may also include aborted babies. So lets assume that all aborted babies go straight to heaven. The question then becomes is the mother acting in the best interest of the child?
If yes, do you disagree that that question assumes;

* It is better to be in heaven with God than on earth (and i tend to agree)

* It is also better to jeopardize your own salvation for the sake of anothers (theologically speaking, this would be a contested statement, but for the sake of discussion lets just go with it)

* It is also better to destroy life early than to risk them turning away from God, assuming we start pointed at him.

* It is also more perferable not to be in heaven with your loved ones than to be in heaven with them.

Is it possible that a person would murder (sin), assuming that she is acting in her childs best interest (habitual sin), for the sake of "gaurenteeing" their childs salvation? Is it also possible that the childs mother, who lets say... did infact do this unrepentantly with several of her children and upon entrance to heaven is to her horror, greeted with an absolutely terrifying "I never knew you"? Is this situation perferable to one wherein the mother and children pass away by normal means and ultimately end up in heaven together?

This question assumes that by killing your child you are fullproofing your childs salvation, and biblically speaking you could not give a difinitve answer for that. Furthermore, apparently, it is possible that someone aborting masses of her own children would not come to be with the Lord, which would not be in the childrens best interest -- considering there are better *best interests* -- and assuming it is in yours and your childs best interest to be with your loved ones in heaven. (IF by best we mean, best possible outcome).

It is possible that some good may come from an abortion, but given the alternatives and possible ramifications to the parent, it is unlikely that abortion is truly in the best interest of the child. Unless somehow, you can murder your children -- and other "innocent people" on the regular, and still wind up in heaven at the end of your life.

You're right CK soci: there are shorter versions. I offer the additional steps so that you can see some of the bullets you'll have to bite if you're to resist the conclusion. Moreover, your four-step version only gets us to step four of my fourteen-step argument.

It sounds like you want to affirm that unborn babies deserve far worse than bodily dismemberment. Here's something you can put on a bumper sticker:

Unborn babies don't deserve abortion--they deserve far worse!!

CT, I feel no shame in saying babies deserve far worse than abortion. Humans (logically including babies), deserve far worse than abortion. Ive said it before.
The question is, do we get what we deserve?

Infact, CT, think of the most sadistic death you can imagine. We deserve worse. Humans deserve divine Justice. Thankfully we dont have to get what we deserve!

For the record, CT, the reason why I shortened it was because most of your points are implicated by the false assumption that abortion gaurentees salvation. If we are talking about the Bible, here, this assumption is completely false.

I suppose I could grant the premises regardless (and I did), but then I question if *best interest* is exclusively the avoidance of hell, and that thier is no better possible interest for the child. I believe there is as i said before.

CK Soci, we can obtain the conclusion unless some unborn babies are condemned to hell (and receive, as you say, what they deserve). Put yourself in the situation of such a baby. Here would be the sum total of your experience. At your own mother's request, you are violently ripped from her womb, some of your limbs severed. Unwanted, you are then discarded and left to die in the hospital refuse, to be taken out with the hazardous waste. You die, but only to awake in the presence of God, who views you as an abomination. Being informed that you are worthy of eternal condemnation, you spend eternity suffering in hell. (Seriously, try to imagine this.)

CT, I have, tried to imagine it. Its so horiffic, I dont think its possible. Is it possible that this happens? I dont think so. Can I speak with absolute biblical authority that it doesnt? Apparently, I cant. Is it wise then, to assume that because this is so horiffic, its impossible, and to draw such a conclusion that aborting babies is the right thing to do? Even if I grant as i have the premise that all aborted babies Go to heaven, is it best for the baby upon entrance to heaven hear that thier mother didnt want them and ordered thier destruction as opposed to hearing, say, your mother cared and laboured over you in her womb but unfortunately she lost you?

If the latter situation is perfered, wouldent even that be enough to reject the notion that abortion is in the best interest of the babie? Im sure all of this sounds harsh. I agree. God is good. God is just. Rather than lean on my own baseless presumptions, I would rather work with what I know. If abortion is murder, and murder is taking the life of an innocent child, then I will not abort my child. It would seem awfly strange for God to tell us to value life, and set up some loophole to apparently encourage us to destroy it.

Again, thats assuming abortion is in the best interest of the child, which i utterly reject.

I should clairify when I said 'I dont think its possible', I ment, i dont think its possible for me to imagine the scenario your presented. I cant imagine life in hell. I could try, but im sure it would pale in comparison to the actuality of hell.

Is better to kill your three year old than to not kill your three year old? Intilectually speaking, would a 3 month old child be any less confused than a 3 year old if he stood before God being judged?
And would this child in either scenario be more happy had his or her mother not killed him or her than if she did not?
CT, with respect, I am just curious to how you think a child would feel knowing he was assassinated by his mother (simotanously dishonouring God). Honestly, would anybody feel good about that? And when this child understands that God must deal with her, even if he has a superior vantage, would the childs heart still not be broken in some way? How is this perferable to an alternative that doesnt involve parental homicide?

Im sorry i keep asking this question in different formats. Honestly. And to think i was just knocking you for making 14 points! forgive me. lol

CT,

>> "Therefore, abortion has saved some from hell."

oh yes i absolutely agree with you. If you look at previous blog entries i've made a similar argument.

It is quite bizarre, but it is a statistical inevitability that the harder the pro-life movement works, the more souls will go to hell.

ToNy
what power do humans have to send people to heaven or hell?
are we still talking about the biblical God here? Serious question.


>> (7) It is not the case that each of
>> these survivors would have come to
>> faith in Christ (it is unreasonable to
>> think otherwise).

Why? Couldn't it be the case that God only allows those who would have chosen him anyway to die at such an early age? If not, then why not?

Jesse,

This is of course a logical possibility, but it would be unreasonable to assume it to be true. It is also a logical possibility that every aborted baby would have died prior to childbirth anyways, or would have committed some heinous sin and wished he/she would never have been born. But, like the former possibility, it is unreasonable to assume such possibilities to be fact.

Here's a question for you: why should we assume that abortions have any effect whatsoever upon the unborn? That is, why should we not assume that, if a fetus isn't aborted, it will die anyways? (After all, it is logically possible that every fetus that is aborted would have died prior to birth anyways.)

>>That is, why should we not assume that, if a fetus isn't aborted, it will die anyways? (After all, it is logically possible that every fetus that is aborted would have died prior to birth anyways.)"

1. Because people are alive out walking around doing things like you and me and 6 billion others on the planet. Our parents had sense enough to let us try life.

2. For the same reason you and I do not commit suicide because we assumed that if we got in our car and drove somewhere, we'd get killed in a collision anyway. ...because we are not dense enough to assume that by stepping out of our house, we'd be killed by a rogue meteorite. Your effort at a point here proves too much. If we kill fetuses on demand for your proposed assumption, we'd all be assuming the worst and off ourselves since we presupposed we wouldn't survive another day anyway.

I fear we are reasoning our selves into imbecility here, fellas.

In order to go anywhere in this discussion, we have to grant a shared premise. That premise, it seems to me, has to be that we permit each other to remain alive.

Furthermore, the list at the 5:35 post assumes that we are justified in dismembering (killing) a living human fetus to save the youngster from hell. This presupposes we have given him/her the "death penalty" in the first place. In other words, we have already decided that death by abortion is best to assure avoidance of hell. But this avoidance of hell requires we kill the youngster. We are asserting the death penalty here.

But...we cannot sentence the youngster to death without due process and conviction by law...,

...and since you have already affirmed his/her innocence, we cannot, of course impose a sentence of death...and are thus obligated to allow him/her to continue living.

Why would it be any more unreasonable to assume than to assume these children would have gone to hell otherwise?

Why would God force someone to go to heaven and be stuck in His presence eternally, requiring them to live in a holy manner, according to His moral perfection, and to worship Him forever if they would not have chosen to do so?

"I fear we are reasoning our selves into imbecility here, fellas."

I agree.


and as I stated yesterday, several times, if it is not better for a child to enter heaven with the knowledge that its mother did not kill him or her than to enter with the knowledge that she did, I would ask you to clairify what you mean by "best interest". And I would also have to ask you why christianity isint a suicide-kult.



David Hawkins writes,

The [argument] at the 5:35 post assumes that we are justified in dismembering (killing) a living human fetus to save the youngster from hell

This is wrong. There are neither assumptions nor implications to the effect that abortion is justified.

Jesse,

You seem to be missing the basic idea, which is quite simple. Hundreds of millions of people have been aborted. Had they not been aborted, it is unreasonable to assume that each one of them would have come to faith in Christ; it is likewise unreasonable to assume that none of them would have come to faith in Christ; it is also unreasonable to assume that each and every one of them would have come to faith in Catholicism, or Buddhism, or....

"it is likewise unreasonable to assume that none of them would have come to faith in Christ; it is also unreasonable to assume that each and every one of them would have come to faith in Catholicism, or Buddhism, or...."

It is also unreasonable to assume that aborting children gaurentees salvation, emphasis on assume -- and thus conclude that you are acting in the childs best interest. Again, also assuming that it is better to enter heaven with the pain of knowing your mother killed you than to not.

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