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Comment: The Church should beg society’s forgiveness for its treatment of gay people

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  1. Never a truer word has been spoken.

    The church collectively, and many individuals within it need to apologise, beg forgiveness and seek to put right their wrongs.

    Treating people inhumanely and segregating them is not just abhorrent and evil – its damaging to both the person who is segregated and the person/people who are so consumed with hatred (whether consciously or subconsciously) that they treat others with contempt, hatred and inhumanity.

    Yes there are many Christians who are humane (both in individual denominations that do support human rights and common decency and as individuals who are in more instransigent denominations and seek to change them from within).

    They all need to work hard and purposefully to put right the indignity, distress and hurt they have perpetrated and perpetuated over many years.

    The leaders who have sought to advance hatred and inhumanity should resign and admit their shame and guilt.

    1. I agree.

    2. Katie Murphy - ex cath family 5 Apr 2012, 12:16am

      fat chance. Do you expect that the holy ghost of tehman who ran germany in the 1930s and first half of the 1940s, who hated Jews, gays etc would ever appologize?

      Same thing

      1. New Aussie 5 Apr 2012, 8:28am

        Every day there are Christians changing their minds on this issue. I received a very moving email from a friend who has just done that. In time, they will bring their churches with them- of that I am sure. Just give it time.

        1. Is it OK for prime ministers to ‘do God’ in public?
          Guardian News Poll, vote here:

  2. Craig Denney 4 Apr 2012, 5:50pm

    It’s a wonder we have not had a huge demonstration which will show Cameron that we mean business.

    The religious right will not be able to get more than a few hundred together for a demonstration which will show just how weak they truly are!

    1. Hodge Podge 4 Apr 2012, 8:30pm

      We should do this…

      1. I’m up for it!

        1. Craig Denney 4 Apr 2012, 9:25pm

          They don’t have the numbers they say they have and are living in a dream world. We should taught them to put a hundred thousand Christians on the streets of London.

          We will all have a laugh when a few hundred turn-up and we could finish the march outside the BBC and demand TV news coverage.

          1. Craig Denney 4 Apr 2012, 11:53pm

            The National Secular Society are good at organising demonstrations:

    2. I’m up for it, when and where?

    3. I support a demonstration, excellent idea. It should be done before the Government’s consultation ends.

  3. It took O’Brien’s odious church some 350 years to get round to apologising to Galileo. Don’t hold your breath anyone, humility isn’t exactly their forte. Nor is kindness, decency, fairness, respecting that their beliefs are not universal…..

    1. True. Doesnt mean we should not speak the truth and demand they apologise. However, if you look at how the RC church responded to accusations of child abuse, it probably will form a pattern of how they will stick their heads in the sand and deny it has ever happened.

    2. Robert in S. Kensington 4 Apr 2012, 6:29pm

      Exactly right. I admire Taoiseach Enda Kenny for standing up to them amidst the molestation scandal. The RC church, its power and influence are on a fast decline in Ireland. Kenny denounced the Holy See and Foreign Affairs Minister Eamon Gilmore’s decision to close the embassy to the Vatican was implemented. Would that we had a Prime Minister prepared to admonish the Archbishop of Canterbury and remind him (whoever the next one will be) who put him or hopefully her there in the first place. I would like to see a national movement to disestablish state religion once and for all and get it out of government where it doesn’t belong in any way, shape or form.

      1. @Robert

        Absolutely. Enda Kenny’s speech on the Cloyne report was powerful and striking. For those who have not heard or read it, they should check it out, but here are a few extracts which demonstrate how the RC church manipulate (in the case that Kenny talks about it relates to child abuse in Ireland, but could so easily be comparable with the militant institutionalised homophobia within the church):

        “exposes an attempt by the Holy See, to frustrate an Inquiry in a sovereign, democratic [nation] …”
        “excavates the dysfunction, disconnection, elitism….the narcissism …….that dominate the culture of the Vatican to this day.”
        “rape and torture of children were downplayed or ‘managed’ to uphold instead, the primacy of the institution, its power, standing and ‘reputation’”
        “calculated, withering position being the polar opposite of the radicalism, humility and compassion upon which the Roman Church was founded”
        “The Tánaiste left the Archbishop clear on two things: The gravity…

        1. … of the actions and attitude of the Holy See. And Ireland’s complete rejection and abhorrence of same.”
          ” thankfully for them, and for us, this is not Rome. Nor is it industrial-school or Magdalene Ireland, where the swish of a soutane smothered conscience and humanity and the swing of a thurible ruled the Irish-Catholic world. This is the ‘Republic’ of Ireland 2011.”
          “Today, that Church needs to be a penitent Church. A church, truly and deeply penitent for the horrors it perpetrated, hid and denied.”
          ” the law – their law – as citizens of this country, will always supercede canon laws that have neither legitimacy nor place in the affairs of this country.”

          I wish Cameron would have the balls to depends similar apologies, similar respect of state law over Canon law and demonstrate that all the wrongs of the church – abuse of children, homophobia, deceit etc are exposed and tackled.

          The UK is a sovereign state not a theocracy.

          The church should seek forgiveness and respect us.

  4. Yes ! I agree, I have never stepped in a church since the burial of my father, my partner and I, together with some friends were at a small service preceding the burial, the vicar asked me whom my partner was, when I introduced my partner, the vicar said, ‘ who, him’ and stormed out of the church. We were all disgusted and so were the funeral directors and we were left to hold a service amongst ourselves. Needless to say the funeral people stopped the vicar’s cheque. So, even in death one is discriminated against. The church has a lot to answer for, they should keep their noses out of politics and tend to the needy and sick! And lets not forget in the 1950’s and before. babies born out of wedlock were put into care, and the woman was ostracised by the church.

    1. I’m very sorry that happened to you.

      It must take a special kind of sadism – something I genuinely cannot understand – to be abusive to a man on the day he has to bury his father.

    2. The church have done a lot of wrongs like this (and in cases worse).

      I would have made a low level complaint (bear with me) about that. I would have alleged incivility – which what you describe clearly was.

      The reason I would have gone with a complaint about incivility is that incivility is a relatively low level thing to admit to and apologise and accept that communication and attitude could be better.

      If they accept the attitude was wrong and the you were hurt, then they admit even more in effect – and then I would have ramped up the complaint and if need be gone to the media (possibly a specialist outlet such as PN) with my claims reinforced by an admission that incivility had occurred.

      Sorry to hear you were treated in that way. It is disgusting that some church leaders, some individual church members and some churches corporately feel such behaviour is acceptable and justifiable. Inhumanity, incivility, indignity and hurting others never should be acceptable.

    3. GingerlyColors 5 Apr 2012, 7:09am

      Everybody should be welcome in the House of God but it seems that while everybody is equal, some are more equal than others. I am sorry that that disgusting bigot abused you during your bereavement and treated you like filth in a holy place. I am not a Christian myself but I do live by some of the rules laid down in the Bible and I always treat other people the way I want to be treated and the way that they treat me. I suggest that you lodge a formal complaint against you parish.

    4. atie Murphy 25 Apr 2012, 10:58pm

      Exactly the same thing re a funeral happened a couple mos ago in maryland, where the priest walked out on the funeral
      and didnt show at the cemetary

      the hubbub caused the diocese to suspend the priest. But they made excuses saying it was his intimidation of other church officials for the reason he was suspended.

      Even in death, the church hates gay people and makes a mockery of the funeral mass.In this case it was two lesbians and a dead father.

      All because some bull stories from an age of super-stition and ignornace

      We are nothing but much more complex annual plants. Born, mature, reproduce and die.

      And fools enough to buy an insurance policy based on stories from an age of ignorance and superstition.

      that cant be shown to pay off. In the secular world the church would be shut down and the Robber barons of the church prosecuted for violating our RICO (racketeering) act.

      Wonder how much time in the slammer for stealing billions every year

  5. Thomas Fitzgerald 4 Apr 2012, 6:04pm

    To be honest, I really don’t want or need to give forgevness to this institution. Franly, should they beg for, well they are used to getin on their knees and praying “begging” for everything else so why not. The church itself lends it’s clam at God’s door, when really it is 15th centruy iditots that were to igoratnt or scared to decide with moral absolution, so gay people were demonised, along with women, other religions and oddly enough Lobster! They are a force to be stopped – and it may start with getting rid of it, rather than tolerating!

  6. Robert in S. Kensington 4 Apr 2012, 6:15pm

    A wonderful article by Matthew Todd and so poignant.

    I doubt if the CoE among others would ever admit responsibility for making the lives of gay people so miserable and for some unbearable after centuries of discrimination, villification, denigration and dehumanisation of who we are. It’s absolutely appalling that they do not acknowledge the harm they’ve caused, the antithesis of what being a “christian” is all about. The message is lost on them.

    What we need is a schism within the Anglican community to separate the bigots from the real christians once and for all. My hope is that the Episcopalian branch will make that a reality, severing all ties with Canterbury both spiritual and financial.

    1. atie Murphy 25 Apr 2012, 11:01pm

      Remember that the CoE is a catholic church that doesnt pay homage and tithe to Rome.

      Wonder who will take over with smiley old man leaving. that black guy Semtanya?. In our experience the worst of the worst of the homophobes tend to be black people.

      Maybe part of the reason the cath church is getting more and more priests from africa. More and more who also have been influenced by Islam.

  7. Great article: I preferred the headline and picture in the Huffington Post version – very clever twist.

    We really need to get the debate focused on the harm all this bullying of young people, in part fuelled by these churches, does, and make it clear that this is why we are making such a ‘fuss’ about true equality under the law. It’s a child protection issue, and the churches are once again the perpetrators. End of.

    1. atie Murphy 25 Apr 2012, 11:05pm

      pewrpetrators of mass child murder by induced suicide.

      Just raping kids wasn;t enough fun for the church leaders.

  8. Pink Piski 4 Apr 2012, 6:18pm

    While agreeing with the sentiments of this article, I do feel that slightly more attention could be given to gay (and straight) Christians who are actively fighting against homophobia within the Church. I left the Roman Catholic Church over its stance on gay issues, and found a home in the Scottish Episcopal Church. The church I attend has a sizeable number of gay congregants, many of them veterans in the gay rights civil movement, and all fighters of homophobia within the Church. As gay Christians, we are used to being harassed for our sexuality within the Church, and yet, despite its faults, we still remain proud to be part of the Church, even if the homophobes routinely deride our authenticity. It’s therefore slightly harsh to read that ‘the Church’ must beg for forgiveness, as if those who have fought and still fight for equality are not genuine members.

    1. Nurse Happyweather 4 Apr 2012, 6:36pm

      Why not abandon a ship that is already flooded?

      1. Pink Piski 4 Apr 2012, 6:58pm

        But why would I? Religious conservatives may claim that gays are ‘anti-religious’ but, like most of their claims, it isn’t true. If I have my faith, and I’m happy in my life as a gay man and a Christian, why should I abandon either? Why should Jeffrey John leave the Church? Or Gene Robinson? Or a number of other clerics who act as an inspiration for many gay Christians? If I leave the Church, it will be because I’ve lost my faith, and not because I’ve been pushed or dragged out over my sexuality.

        It is obscene the lies that many Christians still peddle about LGBT people, but I can only hope that the LGBT community will rise above it, and not fall into the trap of peddling generalisations about the Christian Church. It won’t defeat the homophobes, and it’s the gay Christians who will suffer.

        1. Pink Piski 4 Apr 2012, 6:59pm

          ‘Abandon’ was perhaps the wrong word to use as, of course, one can’t abandon being gay! But I’m sure readers will know what I mean.

    2. Mr. Ripley's Asscrack 4 Apr 2012, 7:08pm

      i believe in je$us and all the je$us’ stories, i believe in je$us and all the je$us stories, i do – i do – i do, and i will live happily ever after with the man of my dreams made out of beautiful pink rainbows and glitter. piski (aged 8)

      Seriously, the episcopals?! All churches dehumanise you for their prey… ‘the evil lord yahweh feeds on the souls of the living dead so that day he will RISE!’ That is to say, I’m bored of gay christians – luv u ;-)

      1. Mr. Ripley's Asscrack 4 Apr 2012, 7:12pm

        Sorry; so that ONE day he will RISE!” Evil plan laugh… exit stage left.

        Hey guys, entering 8 gives in a comments box gives you a cool smiley with shades. So here goes other numbers:

        Aged 5
        Aged 6
        Aged 7
        Aged 9
        Aged 10

        Fingers-crossed for Utopia.

        1. Mr. Ripley's Asscrack 4 Apr 2012, 7:12pm

          Damn you Utopia!

    3. Well said. Most Anglican clergymen and women have no issue with LGBT people, in fact I’ve found them incredibly supportive. Sadly, their voices get drowned out by the shrill rantings of the conservative minority who hide behind biblical literalism to mask their own petty prejudice. Unfortunately their negative opinions drag the reputation of the whole Church into the gutter, which offends me just as much as the shallowness of their arguments.

      No matter though – one day they will have to account for denying and subverting the rights of LGBT people before the God who lovingly created us.

    4. I too found joy with Scottish Episcopalians, the church I attended while living in Edinburgh had a partnered homosexual priest and no one batted an eyelid. Now I like not too far from Brighton and it is completely different.

    5. atie Murphy 25 Apr 2012, 11:04pm

      Most episcopal churches in the USa will do holy union or gay marriage ceremonies.

      Still doesnt solve the legal issues if you cant get a marriage license from the state.

  9. Nurse Happyweather 4 Apr 2012, 6:33pm

    Brilliant, brilliant article!!!!

    Moving, passionate, ironic, funny. 10 out of 10.

    I want to post it everywhere!

    1. Mr. Ripley's Asscrack 4 Apr 2012, 7:00pm

      I cried.

  10. I think the churches treatment of LBG has been terrible for years and they can never see that as they are hypocritical bigots

  11. Mr. Ripley's Asscrack 4 Apr 2012, 7:00pm

    Great article, well said. I have no point to push, except regarding murder-by-church (gay suicide), it seems to be true, that in their calculating way, the deviants are sacrificed to increase group solidarity – christian eugenics at work, if you will. Also David Cameron voted against the repeal of section 28, this is the truth of the matter, and his spurious description of the UK being a christian nation – nudges him into the ego of moral authority incarnated. It must stick in his teeth that he can’t lock and load his god-gun. Just saying ;-)

  12. Aryugaetu 4 Apr 2012, 7:16pm

    It’s simple. To apologize is to admit they are wrong and flawed. The people controlling all of the major religions simply want as much power and control as possible, so they cannot show any weakness. All they have remaining for their opinion’s validity is the continued peddling of an invisible power based on 2000 year old vague and contradictory stories, and try to pass off FUD as a means to blackmail their believers to give money to them. It worked great before science proved religions were just myths, and now they are a pure scam.

    One of religion’s favorite ways to keep control over the population (especially those not in their congregation) is to convince enough people that morality can be legislated. But, their previous failures of alcohol, tobacco, gambling, sex, marriage, LGBT social recognition/equality and their current failures of drugs, prostitution, LGBT marriage/rights has shown, when a “vice” is made legal, it takes it out of the hands of criminals, removes gang influenc

  13. Well said, Matthew.

  14. As expected, Newsround today had a lot about religion. An interview with the Archbishop of Canterbury and also with some Muslim kids at a mosque. For a few more details check out Twitter @Newsround_Blog

    1. Mr. Ripley's Asscrack 4 Apr 2012, 8:19pm

      Noticed an increase of god on Beeb. Actually, I don’t see anything about homosexuality AT ALL on the Beeb. I think we should make a petition and get people to sign it. Or threaten non-payment of their stupid television tax. In a satellite age, I would choose to watch Beeb with adverts – more channel-hoping opportunities 8

  15. “…whose lives they have diminished..”

    Excellent commentary!

  16. Craig Denney 4 Apr 2012, 8:16pm

    I think David Cameron is in a sticky situation with the Press after him for the Leverson Inquiry. If he comes out in support of Christians and u-turns on marriage equality, then hopefully that will give the press another opportunity to attack him.

    So therefore we should make loud noises about him u-turning on marriage equality?

    1. @Craig

      The battle for marriage equality is more important that being sidetracked by matters of personality such as Cameron, Stonewall or others – lets concentrate on achieving marriage equality and then deal with any residual issues that have arisen.

  17. They can ask for forgiveness – and they should. but words are not nearly enough

    And even if they try to (and only try because there’s no way they could) redeam themselves for their bigotry, I’d never forgive them for their evil

    1. Words are only meaningful if they are accompanied by actions and honesty.

  18. Don Harrisoin 4 Apr 2012, 11:58pm

    I am a gay Christian. I am out in my village and out at my Church which is Angican.
    What I am reading makes me feel very unhappy.
    Of course I can not say sorry for the injustices that has happened to you.

    But I can say thay I am sorry that they happend to you

  19. The laws around LGBT rights have constantly changed and surprise , surprise people have become less homophobic…

    The churchs continue to get opt outs and surprise, surprise they continue to be the most horrifically anti-gay organisations in the whole world.

    I don’t see anything substantially happenning in the near future when it comes to the big religions. Govts pander to them under the guise of freedom of speech and religion . Even now we are only offered civil marriage despite the fact that the CofE is a state church and should be providing a state service to all. It truly stinks and I relate entirely to this article.

  20. GingerlyColors 5 Apr 2012, 7:02am

    Not all demoninations of Christianity are homophobic. Those that have a history of homophobia however should be mad to grovel.

  21. whataliberty 5 Apr 2012, 8:22am

    ive said it before and I will say it again, The church needs us. We are their last straw, thier last thing to point at and say if you are like them you will go to hell. Divorce, unmarried mothers, drinking, sex before marriage, etc etc. Has no hold over people any more. No one cares about this. But being gay, is all they have now. Its thier maker post. Wihtout us what do they have. They should be be paying us a fee, for services rendered!

  22. Powerful, Matthew. So, so right as well.

    I recommend that everyone take a look at the Desmond Tutu video on the Coalition for Equal Marriage video. I think it was for a gay festival in South Africa – his words are very moving and encouraging, not forgetting that he’s an Archbishop. If there is a true message of Christianity then you can hear it through HIS words, not any of these other bigots.

  23. Robert in S. Kensington 5 Apr 2012, 12:14pm

    Disestablish the CoE NOW! Take away their power, get them out of our lives and government permanently! They’ve been given opt outs left right and center. Time for that to end. Nobody should be above the law, no exceptions. They’ve been given more than enough freedoms and now they’re abusing it with their constant bullying and hateful rhetoric against us. We too have a right to be free from religion and not bullied into submission to their whims and bigotry. I’m sick of their constant interference in the civil life of this country and more importantly, in our personal lives. This must end!

    1. @Robert

      I agree there should be no established church.

      I agree state and church should be entirely separate.

      Does campaigning for that right now have a negative influence on the campaign for equal marriage, I worry it might.

      I prefer to concentrate on equal marriage now, and achieve that first and then move onto other battles.

      I acknowledge this might not be possible – but I believe marriage is of primary importance at the moment. I don’t want to muddy the water of that campaign.

      Battles over deestablishing the church and views on personalities and organisations failures and shortcomings should wait until after we achieve the immediate goal of equal marriage.

      1. Robert in S. Kensington 5 Apr 2012, 4:29pm

        Stu, I concede. Yes, I agree, our concentration should be 1000% on getting equal marriage passed. I’m just so angry that religionists are attempting to impose their beliefs on the country, a belief of a minority. I just wish there were more MPs and hetero celebrities giving it right back to them. There comes a time when being civil doesn’t work any more. The religionists hold the victim card the minute they’re challenged and it’s about time that card was taken away from them once and for all. I’m not suggesting hateful rhetoric but firm language to remind them over and over that this is a purely civil matter and has nothing to do with religion and as such, they should stay out of matters that are not their concern, let alone trying to bully the government into submission. I only hope David Cameron ends up drawing a line in the sand once and for all.

        1. I agree I hope we can get more MPs and some strong hetero celebrities onside.

          I think Cameron made a veiled threat to the religious leaders 2 days ago, saying he was prepared to fall out with them over equal marriage if he had to – and hoped they would not make him fall out.

  24. You will one day beg God’s forgiveness for the promotion of your disgusting sexual habits. And for this silly article.

    1. The Big Yin 8 Apr 2012, 6:50am

      And you will one day beg Harry Potter for forgiveness for your mean attitude.

    2. Erwin

      Lets presume (just for a second to humour you) that your God does exist.

      One day then you will beg Gods forgiveness for your judgemental and hate inspired attitude that cause you to troll on LGBT websites.

      This article is far from silly – it is well thought out, deftly crafted and truthful in demonstrating the inhumanity that some people wreak “in the name of God”

      Why do trolls like you always concentrate on sexual issues – LGBT people usually tend to concentrate on love (thats why we want to marry!)

  25. Good article.

    Nowadays, thankfully, the Church’s words bounce off the majority of people in this country.

    The following article is an interesting and long overdue development in this area happening in Canada.

    1. atie Murphy 25 Apr 2012, 10:48pm

      They dont bounce off – they still cause hatred, suicie of gay kids etc.

      So convenient how the church claims to protect life while effectively murdering gay kids.

      And eg in the USA not a word from the church about 29000 people killed by guns, only about 100 of which are legit self defense. (1000 re legit police shootings but most were due to armed criminals threating police and others.) 2006 FBI figures.

      1. atie Murphy 25 Apr 2012, 11:47pm

        tw the population adjusted rate in England is 1 murder for every 55 in the USA.

        Of course the repub party here – our conservatives, are always babbling about gun rights.

  26. Catholicism and Christianity are too very different things. When you say “the Christian Church” you refer to Christians everywhere, whilst Catholic has a much narrower meaning. I’ve found that homophobia and hatred towards gays, ignorance, etc, generally comes from the Catholic church and Protestant communities in “macho” cultures heavily influenced by Catholic tradition.

  27. Har Davids 11 Apr 2012, 8:05am

    Maybe the representatives of Christianity, and some other religions, should beg forgiveness for the treatment of not just gays, but people in general. Without them, the World would have been a more happy place.

  28. Well done that man for speaking up for all LGBT people, we have endured grief for many years at the hand of such perverts in the church, if there is a god its about time this “Holy thing, being, presence” did some of what it teaches about love harmony and justice and strikes down the church and all that follow the teachings of hate and ignorance towards LGBT people. My parents tried to put me through the church aversion therapy, it does no good and I am still who I am a gay man about to turn 60yrs, I have seen an been through many years of LGBT history form being illegal to civil partnerships and now the possibility of Marriage for gay people but the hate has remained the church has not moved on with progress but stagnated trying to hold on to values that are so out of date, and still they continue with child abuse and spout out their religion, Wake up you religious hypocrites its you that are at fault not the LGBT community

  29. Matthew:

    I read your article and was moved.

    As a Christian who supports C4M, I can’t apologise for following what I believe to be true because to do anything else would be tantamount to denying my Lord.

    Neither can I apologise for those who have wronged you – and I have no doubt that down the years Christian people have done just that.

    I can only affirm your humanity and that all of us, irrespective of our sexuality or anything else come to that has a place in God’s design and His Church.

    I would love to talk with you 1-1 and I suspect we if we were to do so that we would find more common ground than one might think.

    1. John, what do you make of the other rules in Leviticus – that you shouldnt eat shellfish, wear mix fibres and anyone who sleeps with an in law should be put to death? Do you feel they should be observed? You people are destroying the lives of gays and you have to stop. You dont live by the rule of the bible so why when it comes to this issue?

  30. these people are cowards and use a god to give hate a reason. If they truly believed they were doing the bibles work then they are committing a very wrongful act. They use the blood of christ to mask the blood on there own hands

  31. Timothy Jaye 15 Apr 2012, 1:04pm

    I am a gay Caucasian male who has been hurt by the church. I don’t want to have to apologize to African Americans or Native Americans for the way my ancestors treated them. I think the same applies here, can’t we just move on. The church is allowed to have its opinion and can have who it wants in its organization. While I disagree with how many churches are handling the situation, why should they be forced to accept what goes against their faith? If you don’t like what a church is doing, don’t attend services there.

    1. Well they should keep out of our lives then shouldnt they! I dont go to church but am bombarded with hatred from them as we all are. They have to be stopped!

  32. atie Murphy 25 Apr 2012, 9:54pm

    it goes beyond forcing bigots to resign.

    what do you do to eg people who are directly responsible for driving 3000 gay kids yearly to suicide in a repeating 9-11

    I would suggest giving them to the taliban with their bibles.

    the only request to the taliban would be a video of their punishment.

    Or should they be, like Anders Brevik( an evangelical xtian extremists)

    b seen as each 2 lungs, one heart, 2 kidneys, 1 liver etc ….
    that others may live as a token of punishment for the many these creeps drive to suicide.

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