“Evangelical” Is Not a Political Term

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“Evangelical” Is Not a Political Term

Postby Rvaughn » Tue Jul 25, 2017 4:33 pm

"A new book reveals the persistent habit of secular journalists to see evangelicals chiefly as monolithic political actors who only become visible (and relevant) every election cycle."

Review of The Evangelicals: The Struggle to Shape America by Frances FitzGerald (Simon & Schuster, 2017)
http://religionandpolitics.org/2017/07/18/evangelical-is-not-a-political-term/
It is worth saying here just how good much of The Evangelicals is. FitzGerald is a deft and beautiful writer, and her book is often page-turning, especially when it covers the different denominational developments and thorny theological disputes that divided conservative Protestants.
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Re: “Evangelical” Is Not a Political Term

Postby Tim Bonney » Wed Jul 26, 2017 9:20 am

Give how Evangelicals have bowed to the golden statue (or maybe that is an orange statue?) I'm not at all sure the being an evangelical now isn't synonymous for most with being a right wing GOPer. There seems to be little separation.
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Re: “Evangelical” Is Not a Political Term

Postby JE Pettibone » Wed Jul 26, 2017 9:54 am

Tim Bonney wrote:Give how Evangelicals have bowed to the golden statue (or maybe that is an orange statue?) I'm not at all sure the being an evangelical now isn't synonymous for most with being a right wing GOPer. There seems to be little separation.


Ed: Tim, I think your statement above is derived from a personal prejudice against Evangelicals. Indeed some but not all evangelicals support Donald Trump, but so do many Methodist and Masons, two groups with whom you affiliate.
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Re: “Evangelical” Is Not a Political Term

Postby Sandy » Wed Jul 26, 2017 1:14 pm

It has come to be used as a political term, because that's how most of those who are considered "leaders" among Evangelical churches get identified. But for the most part, when they are seen in public, they are speaking politically.
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Re: “Evangelical” Is Not a Political Term

Postby Jim » Wed Jul 26, 2017 9:14 pm

Sandy wrote:It has come to be used as a political term, because that's how most of those who are considered "leaders" among Evangelical churches get identified. But for the most part, when they are seen in public, they are speaking politically.


But for the most part, when they are not seen in public, they are speaking how? Or, but for the most part, when they are never seen in private, they are speaking how? Just wondered.
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Re: “Evangelical” Is Not a Political Term

Postby Tim Bonney » Wed Jul 26, 2017 10:58 pm

JE Pettibone wrote:Ed: Tim, I think your statement above is derived from a personal prejudice against Evangelicals. Indeed some but not all evangelicals support Donald Trump, but so do many Methodist and Masons, two groups with whom you affiliate.


Ed, I've not seen Masonic stats on Trump support. So I'm not sure how you know what Masons do and don't support. But last I looked evangelicals supported Trump above 80%. I'm not the only one who finds that bizarre. A rich multi-divorced womanizer supported hugely by conservative Christians. It is so strange that before this election cycle it would seemed fiction if anyone had suggested it.

Oh, and I'll admit it, the more evangelicals support taking away people's healthcare, deporting people, building a wall, etc. the more I do feel pretty negatively about evangelical Christianity. It doesn't look much like the religion of Jesus to me. It is probably why many American Baptists prefer to identify as "mainline" rather than "evangelical" since the rest of the Baptist family voted in large measure for the p**** grabber.
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Re: “Evangelical” Is Not a Political Term

Postby Haruo » Thu Jul 27, 2017 1:20 am

Tim Bonney wrote:... the rest of the Baptist family voted in large measure for [Trump].

Southern Baptists, perhaps, and independent fundamentalist Baptists, probably, but what if any statistics do we have about the "rest" of the Baptist family? I realize the 7th-Dayers, Generals, Swedes and Germans are pretty small groups that don't affect the overall outcome, but what about the various National and Missionary Baptists, mostly Black, who are not part of the SBC or the ABC? There are multiple conventions of millions of these folks. Does anybody poll them?
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Re: “Evangelical” Is Not a Political Term

Postby Jon Estes » Thu Jul 27, 2017 4:29 am

Tim Bonney wrote:
JE Pettibone wrote:Ed: Tim, I think your statement above is derived from a personal prejudice against Evangelicals. Indeed some but not all evangelicals support Donald Trump, but so do many Methodist and Masons, two groups with whom you affiliate.


Ed, I've not seen Masonic stats on Trump support. So I'm not sure how you know what Masons do and don't support. But last I looked evangelicals supported Trump above 80%. I'm not the only one who finds that bizarre. A rich multi-divorced womanizer supported hugely by conservative Christians. It is so strange that before this election cycle it would seemed fiction if anyone had suggested it.

Oh, and I'll admit it, the more evangelicals support taking away people's healthcare, deporting people, building a wall, etc. the more I do feel pretty negatively about evangelical Christianity. It doesn't look much like the religion of Jesus to me. It is probably why many American Baptists prefer to identify as "mainline" rather than "evangelical" since the rest of the Baptist family voted in large measure for the p**** grabber.


Both candidates had major moral issues. Pointing out the faults of one and being silent on the other is telling. I don't think we want to get into as list the sin war on the two who were on the ballot. Not enough time or desire to do so but I hope you will at least admit Clinton has a list of moral issues herself. Maybe not divorce or adultery but enough to make a list look morally wicked. Moral issues are not just sexual in nature.

At least Trump ran on the platform of not killing babies. How far behind is the USA to choose for a parent the death of their born child, than the UK? It's coming. The slippery slope has been engaged.
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Re: “Evangelical” Is Not a Political Term

Postby JE Pettibone » Thu Jul 27, 2017 9:22 am

Tim Bonney wrote:
JE Pettibone wrote:Ed: Tim, I think your statement above is derived from a personal prejudice against Evangelicals. Indeed some but not all evangelicals support Donald Trump, but so do many Methodist and Masons, two groups with whom you affiliate.


Ed, I've not seen Masonic stats on Trump support. So I'm not sure how you know what Masons do and don't support. But last I looked evangelicals supported Trump above 80%. I'm not the only one who finds that bizarre. A rich multi-divorced womanizer supported hugely by conservative Christians. It is so strange that before this election cycle it would seemed fiction if anyone had suggested it.

Oh, and I'll admit it, the more evangelicals support taking away people's healthcare, deporting people, building a wall, etc. the more I do feel pretty negatively about evangelical Christianity. It doesn't look much like the religion of Jesus to me. It is probably why many American Baptists prefer to identify as "mainline" rather than "evangelical" since the rest of the Baptist family voted in large measure for the p**** grabber.


Ed: Note Tim, I mentioned your affiliation with both Masonry and Methodist, I find it interesting that you seem to be defensive only where it comes to the Masons. But please note also I said many of each group, nothing about percentages or publicized stats. My statement about the support of Trump by "many Methodist and Masons, came from my personal acquaintance with folk in both groups and conversations with them about Trump's candidacy..

And if you think a bit you may recall that I believe calling ABC-USA a "mainline" is a gross misnomer. I too regret the fact that the Republican party did not present a more moralistic candidate. But even including Trumps crudeness I believe he is a reasonable reflection of American Society. I tend to blame the press for the fact that many potential leaders do not elect to subject their families and friends to the political muckraking that sells air time.
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Re: “Evangelical” Is Not a Political Term

Postby Tim Bonney » Thu Jul 27, 2017 10:16 am

LOL. You are imagining things Ed about defensiveness about Freemasonry. I just know that Masons do not collect stats on how Masons vote so anything you say about how we vote would only be the Masons you know personally, that is a pretty small sampling, unless you've become quite involved in the fraternity yourself and haven't told me. ;-)

Masons don't talk about either politics or personal religion in the context of the lodge. So, most of the time, I have no idea how fellow Masons vote. There are exceptions. Senator Charles Grassley is a member of the same Scottish Rite Valley where I have my membership in Des Moines. I can look up how he votes. :)

As an aside, Baptists who are Masons at times need to be a bit on the defense for their own well being, particularly clergy who are Masons. United Methodists clergy don't. We haven't gone through the anti-masonic issues that the SBC had a number of years ago. The officers Masonic lodge in Sioux City around the corner from my church where majority members of my congregation. The year I was Master, all but two of the officers attended my congregation.
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Re: “Evangelical” Is Not a Political Term

Postby JE Pettibone » Thu Jul 27, 2017 10:57 am

Tim Bonney wrote:LOL. You are imagining things Ed about defensiveness about Freemasonry. I just know that Masons do not collect stats on how Masons vote so anything you say about how we vote would only be the Masons you know personally, that is a pretty small sampling, unless you've become quite involved in the fraternity yourself and haven't told me. ;-)

Masons don't talk about either politics or personal religion in the context of the lodge. So, most of the time, I have no idea how fellow Masons vote. There are exceptions. Senator Charles Grassley is a member of the same Scottish Rite Valley where I have my membership in Des Moines. I can look up how he votes. :)

As an aside, Baptists who are Masons at times need to be a bit on the defense for their own well being, particularly clergy who are Masons. United Methodists clergy don't. We haven't gone through the anti-masonic issues that the SBC had a number of years ago. The officers Masonic lodge in Sioux City around the corner from my church where majority members of my congregation. The year I was Master, all but two of the officers attended my congregation.


Ed: Tim you have told me nothing about Masons that I did not know. What you have said does not negate the fact that "Indeed some but not all evangelicals support Donald Trump, but so do many Methodist and Masons, two groups with whom you affiliate."

By the way the chief anti Mason SBCer Dr. Larry ______ was a participant on the old SBC net and perhaps here until he got upset with my disputing his vitriol.
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Re: “Evangelical” Is Not a Political Term

Postby Sandy » Thu Jul 27, 2017 11:28 am

Haruo wrote:
Tim Bonney wrote:... the rest of the Baptist family voted in large measure for [Trump].

Southern Baptists, perhaps, and independent fundamentalist Baptists, probably, but what if any statistics do we have about the "rest" of the Baptist family? I realize the 7th-Dayers, Generals, Swedes and Germans are pretty small groups that don't affect the overall outcome, but what about the various National and Missionary Baptists, mostly Black, who are not part of the SBC or the ABC? There are multiple conventions of millions of these folks. Does anybody poll them?


You hit the nail on the head there. The term "Evangelical" in its political context is almost universally applied to white Evangelicals. African American Christians are separated out and classified as "historically African American denominations." Latinos, who make up a significant percentage (35%) of the "Evangelical" category, if you count Pentecostal and Charismatic denominations and groups that way, are also classified separately.

Not all "historically African American denominations" can be classified as "Evangelical" if you are using the term to categorize a branch of Protestant Christianity and not a political party. The 13th edition of the Handbook of Denominations in the United States shows that the membership of historically African American Baptist groups account for more than a third of all Baptists in the US. The two largest African American Baptist groups account for over 10 million members, almost three times the number of independent fundamental Baptists, and more than all other Baptists except the SBC combined. And that does not account for the African American membership of both the ABC-USA, which is significant, and the SBC, which they claim is over 20% of the total. There are also large numbers of African Americans in the Pentecostal and Charismatic groups that would be considered "Evangelical." Depending on the definition you use, the African Methodist Episcopal Church, which is the second largest "historically African American" denomination, could be considered "Evangelical" by theology and methodology. And a far greater percentage of the African American population as a whole, over 60%, falls in the Evangelical category, while only about 25% of whites do.

But I haven't really seen a poll that puts all Evangelicals together for political purposes, regardless of their racial background. That's probably not surprising, since conservative Evangelicals as a whole are more racially segregated as far as local church membership, and Sunday worship attendance, than any other branch of the Christian church. But you can do the math, or at least make an educated guess, looking at the exit polling data and the membership numbers, and drawing your own conclusions about who is "Evangelical." If you include the Charismatics and Pentecostals, along with the Baptists and the Fundamentalist types, and the "Crystal Cathedral" types, which is pretty much how the exit polls classified White Evangelicals, you come up with approximately 25 million white, Evangelical voters, and about the same number of African American, Latino American and Asian American Evangelical voters. According to the Pew Survey, 81% of white, Evangelical voters supported Trump. African Americans came in at 89% for Clinton, Latinos at 75% and Asian Americans at 69% for Clinton. That's an average of 77% among those groups of voters, though the size of the group is variable. Even if you estimate conservatively, considering that at least some of the 11% of the African American evangelical vote that didn't go for Clinton probably didn't go for Trump, either, that drops Trump's percentage of "Evangelical" voters down to at least 50%, and raises Clinton's up to right at 50%.
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Re: “Evangelical” Is Not a Political Term

Postby Haruo » Thu Jul 27, 2017 11:34 am

So perhaps Evangelicals are getting a bad rep because of the racial bias of commentators to their left.
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Re: “Evangelical” Is Not a Political Term

Postby Sandy » Thu Jul 27, 2017 12:39 pm

Jon Estes wrote: Not enough time or desire to do so but I hope you will at least admit Clinton has a list of moral issues herself. Maybe not divorce or adultery but enough to make a list look morally wicked. Moral issues are not just sexual in nature.


The one who is without sin among you should be the first to throw a stone at her. Matthew 8:7b, HCSB

We'd be in major trouble if the determination of our vote for President, or any other office, came down to a list of moral issues. Not only that, but what voter would be morally qualified to cast a ballot on that basis?

Turning all of this into a partisan political agenda is where I have the problem with this. The whole recent history of conservative Evangelical involvement in politics, going back to the foundational movement of Jerry Falwell's "Moral Majority" emphasized the morality of both political issues and politicians as deciding factors for Christians to cast ballots. A judgement was made of what was "Christian," and what wasn't, not on any Biblical standard, but mainly by partisan affiliation and one or two specific issues which certain Evangelical "leaders" determined were more important, weightier, and which would be more likely to bring down the wrath of God upon our heads if we didn't vote correctly than others.

What it has come down to, IMHO, is that many Evangelical leaders got a little too close to the flame, and got caught up in the experience of wielding political power to get results. In a Biblical sense, they tried to sew the wind, and now they are reaping the wirlwind. They used stiff moral qualifications they claimed were based on Biblical principle to hammer at politicians, mainly Democrats, not following their agenda, while ignoring many of the flaws of the candidates they supported. That was, as many of their leaders openly stated, and which is clearly reflected in the writings and speeches of two generations of the "religious right," the cornerstone of their entire movement. Until Donald Trump came along. Then lip service, though not really even much of that, and a superficial acknowledgement of a vague sense of agreement with their pro-life position (which Trump not only never held in his entire life, but which he actively opposed, and contributed generously to the other side) was enough for all of that to evaporate. Poof! One quick "convenience conversion," which is only a photo of a few prominent preachers with their hands on Trump, and absolutely no acknowledgement from him whatsoever of any kind of "experience" on his part, and they've become his disciples.

Frankly, I think there's a lot of alt-right philosophy embedded in what has become the "Conservative Evangelical" political movement. Most of these people use the language of a belief in "white Christian America," and when you speak of "taking our country back," that is a direct reference to President Obama's dark skin and racial origin, and that of anyone of a non-Caucasian racial or ethnic background. "They" are involved in a world wide conspiracy to "take over" and run the country. That's the thinking. I've run into it often in the many years I've served in a church or denominational related vocation. It's a theme that I see in subtle social media posts many times a day. And it isn't in any way consistent with being either a Patriotic American, or having a Biblical worldview.

Gay rights and abortion are not the only evils in the world. If you want to get into making a Biblical list of all of the things the Republican party advocates for, and stands for, and has in its platform that are contrary to the principles of the Bible, I've already done that, with chapter and verse cited, starting with Matthew 19:23 and Luke 6:24, and I used my Holman Bible to do it. Evangelical is not a political term, but it has been co-opted by a group from within that movement itself who have been sucked into the vacuum of valuing political power over spiritual power. The end result is visible. Churches are declining and disbanding, membership and attendance is on a downward spiral, and the children and youth being raised within this movement are leaving it at their first moment of independence from Mom and Dad.
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Re: “Evangelical” Is Not a Political Term

Postby KeithE » Thu Jul 27, 2017 5:05 pm

Sandy wrote:
Jon Estes wrote: Not enough time or desire to do so but I hope you will at least admit Clinton has a list of moral issues herself. Maybe not divorce or adultery but enough to make a list look morally wicked. Moral issues are not just sexual in nature.


The one who is without sin among you should be the first to throw a stone at her. Matthew 8:7b, HCSB

We'd be in major trouble if the determination of our vote for President, or any other office, came down to a list of moral issues. Not only that, but what voter would be morally qualified to cast a ballot on that basis?

Turning all of this into a partisan political agenda is where I have the problem with this. The whole recent history of conservative Evangelical involvement in politics, going back to the foundational movement of Jerry Falwell's "Moral Majority" emphasized the morality of both political issues and politicians as deciding factors for Christians to cast ballots. A judgement was made of what was "Christian," and what wasn't, not on any Biblical standard, but mainly by partisan affiliation and one or two specific issues which certain Evangelical "leaders" determined were more important, weightier, and which would be more likely to bring down the wrath of God upon our heads if we didn't vote correctly than others.

What it has come down to, IMHO, is that many Evangelical leaders got a little too close to the flame, and got caught up in the experience of wielding political power to get results. In a Biblical sense, they tried to sew the wind, and now they are reaping the wirlwind. They used stiff moral qualifications they claimed were based on Biblical principle to hammer at politicians, mainly Democrats, not following their agenda, while ignoring many of the flaws of the candidates they supported. That was, as many of their leaders openly stated, and which is clearly reflected in the writings and speeches of two generations of the "religious right," the cornerstone of their entire movement. Until Donald Trump came along. Then lip service, though not really even much of that, and a superficial acknowledgement of a vague sense of agreement with their pro-life position (which Trump not only never held in his entire life, but which he actively opposed, and contributed generously to the other side) was enough for all of that to evaporate. Poof! One quick "convenience conversion," which is only a photo of a few prominent preachers with their hands on Trump, and absolutely no acknowledgement from him whatsoever of any kind of "experience" on his part, and they've become his disciples.

Frankly, I think there's a lot of alt-right philosophy embedded in what has become the "Conservative Evangelical" political movement. Most of these people use the language of a belief in "white Christian America," and when you speak of "taking our country back," that is a direct reference to President Obama's dark skin and racial origin, and that of anyone of a non-Caucasian racial or ethnic background. "They" are involved in a world wide conspiracy to "take over" and run the country. That's the thinking. I've run into it often in the many years I've served in a church or denominational related vocation. It's a theme that I see in subtle social media posts many times a day. And it isn't in any way consistent with being either a Patriotic American, or having a Biblical worldview.

Gay rights and abortion are not the only evils in the world. If you want to get into making a Biblical list of all of the things the Republican party advocates for, and stands for, and has in its platform that are contrary to the principles of the Bible, I've already done that, with chapter and verse cited, starting with Matthew 19:23 and Luke 6:24, and I used my Holman Bible to do it. Evangelical is not a political term, but it has been co-opted by a group from within that movement itself who have been sucked into the vacuum of valuing political power over spiritual power. The end result is visible. Churches are declining and disbanding, membership and attendance is on a downward spiral, and the children and youth being raised within this movement are leaving it at their first moment of independence from Mom and Dad.

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Re: “Evangelical” Is Not a Political Term

Postby Jon Estes » Fri Jul 28, 2017 5:35 am

Sandy wrote:
Jon Estes wrote: Not enough time or desire to do so but I hope you will at least admit Clinton has a list of moral issues herself. Maybe not divorce or adultery but enough to make a list look morally wicked. Moral issues are not just sexual in nature.


The one who is without sin among you should be the first to throw a stone at her. Matthew 8:7b, HCSB

Interesting. My comments were in direct response to Timothy's speaking to Trumps sin. Maybe you meant for your verse to go to the one who threw first... maybe not.
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Re: “Evangelical” Is Not a Political Term

Postby Tim Bonney » Fri Jul 28, 2017 10:30 am

JE Pettibone wrote:Ed: Tim you have told me nothing about Masons that I did not know. What you have said does not negate the fact that "Indeed some but not all evangelicals support Donald Trump, but so do many Methodist and Masons, two groups with whom you affiliate."

By the way the chief anti Mason SBCer Dr. Larry ______ was a participant on the old SBC net and perhaps here until he got upset with my disputing his vitriol.


Ed, what I’m saying is that there are stats that you could likely look up to show that many Methodists voted for Trump. You can’t possibly know that “many Masons” voted for Trump. You can surmise. But you have zero proof about “many Masons” only about the Masons you know. Given that there around 1.3 Million Freemasons in the US, I can’t imagine you know a very high percentage of the Masons in your state, much less in the US. That is what my objection is. You are generalizing about something you have almost no data for. If that doesn’t both you, so be it. But it doesn’t make me want to take statements you make about the fraternity very seriously.
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Re: “Evangelical” Is Not a Political Term

Postby Tim Bonney » Fri Jul 28, 2017 10:37 am

Frankly Ed, you are sounding kind of “Trumpy.”
Lots and lots of Masons voted for Trump! The Masonic vote was biggly! - JEP channeling Donald Trump
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Re: “Evangelical” Is Not a Political Term

Postby JE Pettibone » Fri Jul 28, 2017 12:10 pm

Tim Bonney wrote:
JE Pettibone wrote:Ed: Tim you have told me nothing about Masons that I did not know. What you have said does not negate the fact that "Indeed some but not all evangelicals support Donald Trump, but so do many Methodist and Masons, two groups with whom you affiliate."

By the way the chief anti Mason SBCer Dr. Larry ______ was a participant on the old SBC net and perhaps here until he got upset with my disputing his vitriol.


Ed, what I’m saying is that there are stats that you could likely look up to show that many Methodists voted for Trump. You can’t possibly know that “many Masons” voted for Trump. You can surmise. But you have zero proof about “many Masons” only about the Masons you know. Given that there around 1.3 Million Freemasons in the US, I can’t imagine you know a very high percentage of the Masons in your state, much less in the US. That is what my objection is. You are generalizing about something you have almost no data for. If that doesn’t both you, so be it. But it doesn’t make me want to take statements you make about the fraternity very seriously.


Ed: Tim, I honestly have no idea of how many Masons I know or have known but I can count 20 in my extended family. As a teen I was "Master Counselor" of the largest DeMolay chapter in the country. Most of the men who where in that chapter went on to Join the Masons, some of them are now deeply involved in Indiana politics. You do know how Indiana went in the election do you not ? And as many of the participants on this forum know My wife and I have been traveling since Early May and have thus far visited 14 states, In the 6 months prior to the election we had our motor-home in 10 additional states. I listen to local TV and Read local papers and most importantly talk with local people, and visit local churches when possible.
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Re: “Evangelical” Is Not a Political Term

Postby JE Pettibone » Fri Jul 28, 2017 12:16 pm

Tim Bonney wrote:Frankly Ed, you are sounding kind of “Trumpy.”
Lots and lots of Masons voted for Trump! The Masonic vote was biggly! - JEP channeling Donald Trump


Ed: And Tim, I resent this cheep shot at attempting to make others believe that I said some thing that I did not say.
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