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If you do not see the danger in this bill then there is nothing else worth fighting for. This bill will make America a Theocracy.

HR 235 was introduced to liberate clergy from the muzzle imposed by the absolute ban on all speech that may be regarded as "political," and thereby enable them to speak out on all vital and moral and political questions of the day. It will free houses of worship from the fear and anxiety and uncertainty created by the threat that the IRS will impose financial penalties or revoke tax-exempt status altogether.
Sponsor: Rep Jones, Walter B., Jr. [NC-3] (introduced 1/8/2003)      Cosponsors: 165


Religious Right groups have been pressing evangelical churches to get deeply involved in partisan politics, Lynn said, and this kind of controversy is the natural outcome.

Lynn said matters will become even worse if a bill now pending in Congress becomes federal law.

H.R. 235, a measure introduced by Rep. Walter Jones (R-N.C.), would allow clergy to endorse candidates from the pulpit and still retain a tax exemption of their house of worship.

"Introducing partisan politics into our churches is a terrible idea," said AU's Lynn. "I hope this incident in North Carolina will cause our members of Congress to reject Rep. Jones' bill."

Scared yet? Then start taking action and stop this bill. If we let them get away with this NC will only be the start of democrats being purged.

If you don't think this has meaning to the GOP then look at the Ohio plan for 2006.

4 - When the 2005-2006 cycle has been completed, our goal will be to have accomplished: * 2,000+ Ohio Pastors participating in seven key city Pastor Briefings (March – September) * Christian Minutemen mailing list enlarged to 300,000 and 100,000 e-mails. * 2,000+ Ohio Ministers become Patriot Pastors and attend major gathering in fall of 2005 * 30,000+ Christians sharing in a OHIO for JESUS Rally in early 2006. * 4 Million Voter Guides distributed in the fall of 2005 for first the May Primaries in 2006 and then for November 2006. * Video production and distribution of Patriot Pastors Briefing for 7,497 Ohio Pastors.

Update this Bill is not dead people
SUMMARY AS OF: 1/4/2005--Introduced. Houses of Worship Free Speech Restoration Act of 2005 - Amends the Internal Revenue Code to protect churches from losing their tax-exempt status because of the content, preparation, or presentation of any homily, sermon, teaching, dialectic, or other presentation made during religious services or gatherings. Permits church leaders to express personal views on political matters or elections during regular religious services without violating campaign finance laws, as long as such views are not disseminated beyond the members and guests assembled at such services.

Originally posted to AHiddenSaint on Sat May 07, 2005 at 04:01 PM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Isn't it almost a moot point by now? (none)
    Right now they stop just short of endording a candidate from the pulpit.  This might backfire on the religious right, if it drives out those who aren't right-wingers.
      •  The fundies are pulling support (none)
        from this bill (see my post down thread or read this article on Baptist Press online) because the new version, as influenced by John McCain, has "nullified" everything they liked about it.

        There's only one bill right now that will make us a theocracy and that is is HR 3799, The Constituional Restoration Act, which reads in part:

        Notwithstanding any other provision of this chapter, the Supreme Court shall not have jurisdiction to review, by appeal, writ of certiorari, or otherwise, any matter to the extent that relief is sought against an element of Federal, State, or local government, or against an officer of Federal, State, or local government (whether or not acting in official personal capacity), by reason of that element's or officer's acknowledgement of God as the sovereign source of law, liberty, or government.

        Is nothing secular?

        by aitchdee on Sat May 07, 2005 at 10:26:48 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  These two bills (none)
          although introduced during this Congress, are still stuck in committee. Stuck in committee in the HOUSE.  I don't think either is going to get a vote in the House, and even if they did, and managed to get passed, they would be dead in the Senate.  I really think there are more important issues: filibuster (now that one can have ramifications beyond this Administration), Social Security, just to name two.  Sure, keep a lookout, but I wouldn't waste time or energy on contacting Members of Congress. I want to save my phone calls for something really important and pending.  I don't want to be known as "that constituent" who calls weekly with yet another issue. IMHO, this isn't worth action.  If either bill gets close to a vote in the House, that would be a time to start action.

          We do not rent rooms to Republicans.

          by Mary Julia on Sat May 07, 2005 at 10:50:56 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  I agree with you 100%, Mary Julia, (none)
            What I meant to say is that if there IS a theocracy bill lurking about the House, it's this Constitutional Restoration act, not (forgive me, diarist) HR 235, which is currently hemorrhaging its sponsors.

            So yes, you're quite right; for the moment, we needn't worry about either.

            Is nothing secular?

            by aitchdee on Sat May 07, 2005 at 11:07:09 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  I agree somewhat (none)
            I can understand how people feel these bills are dead, but it's like someone else pointed out the people are still in power. I believe this should give us even more reason in 2006 to come together and fight the wacko's out of office. How many average people know that there are bills like these even in the works of congress? How much attention is given to the fact that just a few more members of congress could tip the balance for them?

            One important issue is the abuse of power and I believe this all lumps together. I also believe this would give us more reason to fillbuster these judges. If people knew that judges like these could decide the fate of our nation do you really believe they would say do away with the fillbuster? Remember these are prime issues and prime reasons to fight even harder for 2006 to bring back a democratic congress.

        •  Screwy on so many levels. (none)
          by reason of that element's or officer's acknowledgement of God as the sovereign source of law, liberty, or government.

          First, it sets up a Constitutional Crisis.  The Supreme Court could well overturn this law.  

          Secondly, this bill attempts to make it on official position of the government that God is the source of law, liberty and government, which is unconstitutional.  In any case, the Constitution is clear: "We the people" created our laws and government. The Bible isn't big on the whole liberty concept.  I'm not bashing the Bible by any means, but on the whole, the Bible is more duty-based rather than rights-based.

          Third, it's extremely vague just what the passage I quoted even means.

          •  more than duty, death (none)
            Your right, it is vague. Katherine Yurica, an expert in Domionist theology, in her article For Whom the Bell Tolls, interprets the passage this way:

            "Because the judiciary is 'an element' of the federal, state and local governments, this wording, if it becomes law, may allow any judge to institute biblical punishments without being subject to review by the Supreme Court or the federal court system [...]

            The writings of Dominionists are filled with examples of how they intend to extend biblical law, including the death penalty to homosexuals, adulterers and heretics."

            [Note to anyone following the movement of the Constitutional Restoration Act 2004: The Act of 2005 is virtually identical to the 2004 version, however the Bill numbers have been changed. The 2005 House bill is HR 1070 and the 2005 Senate bill is S. 520. I just learned this myself.]

            Is nothing secular?

            by aitchdee on Sat May 07, 2005 at 11:30:25 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

    •  maybe (4.00)
      someone should put on an amendment to allow all 501(c)(3)s to be involved in political activities. this would allow a whole lot of liberal non-profits to get back involved in politics too. personally, there is nothing to stop pastors from preaching from the pulpit and speaking in code to their flocks. it happens all the time; it has happened all the time.
      •  BEST IDEA OF THE DAY . . . (4.00)
        and very well may put a fork in this bill.

        "You want churches preaching politics? Then 501(c)(3)s have to go, and it's open season for non-profit politics. On BOTH sides of the aisle."

        Now, let's see if all those rabid "free political speech" banshees like George Will come out of the rafters for this idea?

        •  Umm, (none)
          churches are 501(c)(3)s. Unless this bill has some way of differentiating non-profits, it will affect everything.

          The UCC: to believe is to care, to care is to do. Also, they have cookies.

          by pastordan on Sat May 07, 2005 at 05:01:09 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  read the bill (4.00)
            it cites religious institutions only.
            •  fairs fair (4.00)
              Let's make 527's eligible to be churches then, as we canvass for MoveOn we can spread the truth, heal the weak and throw some pancake breakfasts...

              Although George Soros as Pope gives me pause...

              •  Isn't he Jewish? (none)
                That would give me pause too.

                "What in the wide, wide world of sports is a-goin' on here?" -- Slim Pickens in "Blazing Saddles";
                "I have more than 2 problems." - the Coach Z

                by AaronInSanDiego on Sat May 07, 2005 at 07:02:47 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  I'm pretty sure... (none)
                  ...he's Greek (like me), but you're not far off the mark! He might be Greek (or Eastern) Orthodox. I used to be (Greek Orthodox), but now I'm a liberal evangelical Christian. Yeah, I know: Go figure.
                  •  He was born in Hungary (none)
                    but I think I read somewhere that he's Jewish.

                    Anyway, there are Greek Jews, as well. My father's family are Jews from Greece and Turkey.

                    "What in the wide, wide world of sports is a-goin' on here?" -- Slim Pickens in "Blazing Saddles";
                    "I have more than 2 problems." - the Coach Z

                    by AaronInSanDiego on Sun May 08, 2005 at 08:08:10 AM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

            •  So? (4.00)
              "Religious Institutions". Just watch every single political organization drop some references to 'spirituality' in order to claim that they're a religious organization. Hosts of church fronts will pop up serving as nothing more than fronts for political groups. It'll be a disgusting wreck and the end of religious life in America as we know it.

              The world's address
              a place that's worn
              a sad pun that reflects a sadder mess
              In case you haven't already guessed:
              The world's a dress.

              by Jaiwithani on Sat May 07, 2005 at 06:10:09 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  [puzzled] (none)
                the end of religious life in America as we know it

                What's the downside?

                Imagine... the Church of Kos. . . the Church of Democracy. . .

                If this happens, how long before the mainstream stops taking religion seriously as a political force?

                Looking for intelligent energy policy alternatives? Try here.

                by alizard on Sat May 07, 2005 at 06:39:35 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

              •  Amen ! (none)
                Yes we may not recognize churches as anything more than a political meeting place with a steeple and in some cases, some nice stained glass windows.

                Jesus wept.

                We choose hope over despair; possibilities over problems, optimism over cynicism.-John Edwards

                by wishingwell on Sat May 07, 2005 at 08:15:47 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

            •  Religious institutions, yes (none)
              But does it have any definitions of what a religious institution is that would separate it from say, the local food pantry?  Without that, the bill will be a disaster, and not for the reasons many people would predict.

              The UCC: to believe is to care, to care is to do. Also, they have cookies.

              by pastordan on Sun May 08, 2005 at 04:56:14 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

        •  Sen. John McCain to the rescue? (none)
          The Southern Baptist Convention's Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission has pulled support from this bill. In a April 25 statement from the ERLC's president Richard Land, the new version is a "grotesquely bad idea."

          "We supported the original Jones bill because, while we believe that churches shouldn't endorse candidates, we also believe that it should be a church decision, not a government decision," Land said.

          "Congressman Jones is to be commended for his perseverance on this issue," said Barrett Duke, the ERLC's vice president for public policy and research. "Unfortunately, when the popularity of his free-speech restoration effort was at its highest level ever, [Congressman Jones] succumbed to the pressure of Senator McCain, who insisted on language that essentially nullifies most of what Congressman Jones originally intended and then potentially makes matters worse for churches that do attempt to exercise their supposed restored free-speech rights.

          "It is our hope that Congressman Jones will recognize his error" and reintroduce his original version, Duke said.

          The new language would mean political viewpoints by any speaker in a service would have to be edited out of audio and video tapes, as well as taped radio and television broadcasts, Duke said. Live broadcasts would need to be interrupted if such comments were made, he said.

          "In addition, the bill does not even allow a third party to disseminate this information," Duke said. "You have to wonder who is liable if someone does disseminate these opinions beyond the gathered assembly. I suspect that the church itself would have to prove that it had nothing to do with the dissemination, and the government would be the one deciding whether or not the church should be held harmless."

          Read the whole story on Baptist Press online.

          Is nothing secular?

          by aitchdee on Sat May 07, 2005 at 10:14:08 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  Get religion (none)
        Look, anyone can form a church. We can do that, too. Having meeting halls for our congregations could be a real good idea. Onward Kossian Soldiers!

        We'd do it, right? We wouldn't let these assholes be the only gang using houses of worship as organizing halls for whip ass. Again, it takes not much to become a legal church. Even evangelical idiots can quickly set them up. Look at how fast we got the 527 game down. Define the rules, we can play it. We can win.

      •  And the funniest part (none)
        is the opening line talking about all the fear, doubt and uncertainty they feel... BOO FUCKING HOO. You should feel scared and uncertain when you, as a pastor, are exploiting the people who trust you most simply to aid the most corrupt bunch of anti-spiritual, anti-earth, pro war death and famine bunch of fucks. I hope you lose some sleep at night ya fuckin whores.
    •  They have not stopped short... (none)
      ...I have both friends and relatives (my brother, for one) that were told in their respective churches whom to vote for just before the last election.  I was shocked to hear about it at the time.  Only a handful walked out then.  The law will only serve to make it legal.

      Be the creature. (But not a Republican.)

      by boran2 on Sat May 07, 2005 at 06:47:21 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  (AZ-R) JD Hayworth's pastor... (none)
        has been lining up his congregation from the pulpit for several years to work in JD's campaign for Congress!  Pretty much all the Democrats have left out of disgust.  In Scottsdale that leaves plenty of people because the non-Dems outnumber the Dems by 3-1!  G-d help us if this becomes legal and other churches start doing the same thing!
  •  Ok, I'm freaked out (4.00)
    I wrote a diary about this issue this morning. I deleted it because someone pointed out that no co-sponsers showed at

    I just went there again, and many co-sponsers appear this time...

    I wish I could un-delete my previous diary...grr...

    ...................... "My theory of evolution is that Darwin was adopted." Steven Wright

    by wrights on Sat May 07, 2005 at 04:12:49 PM PDT

  •  this one has GOT (4.00)
    to be stopped.  

    call your reps, call this schmuck from NC and raise hell folks!  just in case someone was living under a rock and missed it, here is the the story about democrats being kicked out of their church.

    •  Before you go flying off the handle (none)
      Any bill that was introduced in 2003 and hasn't been passed is dead. Deader than Queen Anne. Legislation that is not passed before the end of a congressional session is not carried over to the next Congress, unless it's reintroduced.
      •  Why? (none)
        The religiuos right has become very good at thinking five or ten years down the road.
        •  It. Doesn't. Matter. (none)
          If they can't get a bill passed through the Congress in which it is introduced, it's dead. Dead, dead, dead. It goes nowhere. It then has to be reintroduced in the next Congress, and the clock starts ticking again.

          So any bill introduced in 2003 that wasn't passed is irrelevant. If the same or a similar bill has been reintroduced in the present Congress, that is something to get worked up about and write to our Congresscritters to stop. But a dead bill from the last Congress? Barely good enough to line the parrot cage with.

          •  You're. Missing. The. Point. (none)
            I don't give a flying f*** if the bill is dead.  The people who proposed it are still in power.

            THAT'S. WHAT. MATTERS.

            •  No. I'm. Not. (none)
              You're the one missing the point, bub. If the bill is dead, and legions of Kossacks go flying off to write their Congresscritters about it, we look like fucking maroons--and that hurts us in future fights when we need the leverage.

              Sure, the maroons who proposed it are still in power, and that's a concern. But badgering them about a dead and buried piece of legislation doesn't really help the cause of getting rid of them, does it?

              •  You're. Still. Missing. It. (none)
                To the extent that Congresscritters* read these letters AT ALL, they expect a lot of ignorance from their constituencies, and are if anything mildly interested in the opinions.  So the constituency is STILL against a bill that failed in 2003?  Guess the lesson is: DON'T FUCK AROUND WITH LEGISLATION LIKE THAT AGAIN.

                (*and I'm including their staffers here too)

      •  i remain (none)
        closer to the handle than you, m'dear.  

        "Lynn said matters will become even worse if a bill now pending in Congress becomes federal law."

    •  I noticed the timing on this too.. (3.66)
      I am wondering if the NC church incident was deliberately timed to incite re-introduction of this bill. A suit to have the tax-exempt status of that church revoked would fire up the Chriscons in Congress enough to get it re-introduced. Given that both the sponsoring Rep. and the church are both NC based, I am highly suspicious of the timing of this whole thing. Church is the one place you should be able to go to get away from politics.

      What happens when Bush takes Viagra? he gets taller. Robin Williams

      by Demfem on Sat May 07, 2005 at 06:18:02 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  what slays me (none)
    about this one is the ramifications for campaign finance law.  there have to be several lines that get very blurry in all this nonsense.  i imagine bureaucrats and legislators would be none too keen to tackle that one.
  •  Think it can't get worse. (none)
    It can.

    It can get much worse.

    "I am not a crook" - The Honourable Richard M. Nixon

    by tricky dick on Sat May 07, 2005 at 04:45:53 PM PDT

  •  Establishment Clause (none)
    The Establishment Clause of the First Amendment is still alive and well, despite the Religious Right's prayers to the contrary.  This act is clearly a violation of the First Amendment.

    God and ego are not equivalent expressions of reality.

    by Othniel on Sat May 07, 2005 at 04:47:12 PM PDT

    •  Picture Janice Rogers Brown on Supreme Court (4.00)
      One or two wingnut justices and the first amendment, if fact all amendments other than the second, are going to be seriously reinterpreted. Freedom of speech? Freedom from religion? Free press? Bwa-hahahaha! Gone. We'll be thinking of Rehnquist fondly in a couple of years.

      We the undersigned urge you to support Federal funding for research using human pluripotent stem cells. -80 Nobel Laureates to Pres. Bush

      by easong on Sat May 07, 2005 at 05:17:35 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Fifth Amendment (none)
        They can't live without the takings clause of the 5th Amendment, as they have to protect their property above all else.  Justice Rogers Brown has been very zealous in protecting property rights.

        I agree with you that the judicial nominations are a critical battle.  Justice Owen would have armed federal marshalls escorting girls to mandatory religious counseling if she had her way.

        God and ego are not equivalent expressions of reality.

        by Othniel on Sat May 07, 2005 at 05:40:07 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  How, specifically? (none)
      Is it any more of a violation than the tax code is already as it regards churches?
  •  I posted a diary on this today (4.00)
    without actually checking to see if one was on the rec list.  Oh well, there's some more info in there so take a look and Spread the Word!
  •  big whoopee (none)
    african american churches have been tacitly and overtly endorsing Democratic candidates for a heck of a long time from the pulpit. my episcopal church spoke out against bush and the war very very clearly. we didn't endorse anyone, but it was clear we were anti-Bush and could hence be construed as partisal political speech.
    •  You might want (none)
       to read this website in it's entirely and  click on the issues page and then the link (pdf) entitled 'Houses of Worship' you will discover a more reasoned and non-republican response.

      One of the odd things about the AAMIA site and particularly the 'Issues' section is that over the months I've seen you argue the opposite side on every one of these wedge issues. It's fascinating.

      "...the definition of a gaffe in Washington is somebody who tells the truth but shouldn't have." Howard Dean

      by colleen on Sun May 08, 2005 at 09:17:03 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  As a devout atheist (4.00)
    I kinda like this bill. It makes it all so obvious.

    I guess the calculation is just how many of these creeps are there out there?

    If there is a distinct minority of them, then this will just expose their shenanigans and weaken their movement.

    If there are enough of a majority of them, then it's probably just a matter of time before they put people like myself up against the wall anyway.

    I don't think this bill would make America a theocracy...that is already more or less evident. It would make churches just more political action committees, or at least, make that more evident. What I would actually enjoy seeing is the latter more evident and the former less so.

    The dark at the end of the tunnel is an oncoming age.

    by peeder on Sat May 07, 2005 at 05:32:53 PM PDT

    •  Agreed but there is a problem (none)
      If this goes forward, not only will there be transparency between churches and the public but there will also further divisions between sects and they may splinter even further, weakening their collective power.

      Problem: Getting their lobbying to be reported to the campaign finance authorities.

    •  I would look forward to.... (none)
      ...having a good screaming political debate unstead of another damned sermon about Job....gawd...just listening to all those Job sermons make me feel like Job......gawdamighty.
      •  What about another end-of-the-world sermon (none)
        If I have to sit through one more sermon where my minister tells us what Tim Lahaye thinks the book of Revelation means... I gonna Jesus freak out, begin swearing in "tongues," start throwing hymn books all over the place, and get myself excommunicated from the church and sent to facility for insane former-Baptists.

        Tell the captain "this boat's not safe and we're drowning." Turns out he's the one making waves. -Pearl Jam

        by Thunderbird343 on Sat May 07, 2005 at 08:20:54 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  not sure how much political debate there would be (none)
        It would be more preaching and lecturing and arm twisting and trying to evict Democrats from churches. I think more politics in church would only seek to divide people even further apart than they all ready are. And remember some people are gullible and easily play follow the leader. The Preacher or Board Members say something, they take it as Gospel whether the Bible says it or not.

        We choose hope over despair; possibilities over problems, optimism over cynicism.-John Edwards

        by wishingwell on Sat May 07, 2005 at 08:23:52 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Partisan Churches (none)
          Presumably the end result of one party being endorsed from the pulpit, in a society without a single state church established by law with compulsory membership, would be to split the politicised churches on partisan lines.

          I fail to see how halving the target market is a satisfactory business model. I presume the pastors involved are the sort who are only want personal power and enrichment. They certainly do not seem interested in real religion.

          I seem to recall that Christians are supposed to aspire to a single church, which is why there are ecumenical discussions between different denominations. A Leninist approach, of splitting the organisation as many times as necessary to retain complete control, does not seem to fit with fundamental Christian doctrine although it is an old pattern in the history of Christianity.

          There is no man alive who is sufficiently good to rule the life of the man next door to him. Sir Rhys Hopkin Morris, M.P.

          by Gary J on Sun May 08, 2005 at 01:37:15 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  was this persons point of view wrong then? (3.66)

    Friday, April 8, 2005 5:42 PM CDT

    Local pastors don't necessarily want politics in pulpit

    "I look upon this with the idea that political issues are not of prime importance; theological issues are," said Schopper. "Although I can't see a pastor sued for standing up for the protection of life, speaking against abortion."

    Schopper said he would caution anyone against falling in line with a named party or candidate.

    "When you turn our churches into a place to get votes, you have crossed the line. When it comes to being in the pocket of a candidate, it is disruptive to the unity of the church," said Schopper. "Your church, sir, was not founded to promote a political party, but to promote Jesus Christ."

    He thinks there are enough moral and spiritual issues to deal with in his Sunday sermons, and many members of local congregations agree.

  •  Is Jones making a move? (none)
    Anybody know Jones's standing in the Republican Conference?

    This bill, combined with Jones's co-sponsorship of Mollohan's bill (H.Res. 131) to roll back the ethics rules protecting DeLay, makes me think he's looking to set himself up for a jump into leadership, in anticipation of DeLay's departure. As in, "Look at me, I'm independent and standing up for ethics, but I'm also acceptably pro-theocrat. Howzabout putting me on the ladder?"

  •  This might be a good way to frame this (3.80)
    "While Scientology will now be able to engage in elections, the environmental group the Sierra Club won't be able to."
  •  Fix the Title (none)
    This won't affect the government and won't turn America into any more of a theocracy What it will do is destroy religious life in America as we know it as thousands of 'churches' and 'spiritual organzations' pop up as political front groups. They'll replace 527's, being actually more free from taxation and regulation, and all they have to do is reference some 'spiritual goal', which pretty much any political organiation could legitimately do.

    The world's address
    a place that's worn
    a sad pun that reflects a sadder mess
    In case you haven't already guessed:
    The world's a dress.

    by Jaiwithani on Sat May 07, 2005 at 06:12:48 PM PDT

  •  The next question is... (none)
    What is a church?  What are the requirements for the tax-exempt status?  
  •  I say we start to think (4.00)
    like evangelical Republicans and do exactly what they would do.  

    Think about it -- they have gone completely nuts and are totally out of control.  And it seems to have kicked in recently all of a sudden. The timing isn't an accident.  It has been calculated.  

    These nutcases are refusing to fill prescriptions at pharmacies, they're kicking Democrats out of their church congregations, they're removing science from the classrooms in favor of religious dogma.  They are threatening judges with physical harm and kicking them out of their churches too, and they are misusing public tax money to do their bidding.  They are shameless.  And they're extremely well organized and they're working very very hard.

    So what is our response?  We simply pre-empt them by doing what they would do:  Individually or in small groups, we visit their "churches", sit quietly and when the preacher begins the political rhetoric, take a deep breath, stand up, and shout him down, asking why he's acting like a politician instead of a preacher. Ask why he feels the need to sway from an inspirational message to a hate-filled political one.  They need to be disrupted and disturbed and awakened as to their insane invasions into the majority's beliefs.  And the best way to awaken them is in their special, private place where they assume we won't venture.

    Would the evangelicals do this?  You bet your ass.  But they need to be outsmarted and beat at their own nasty game.  When they turn houses of worship into political rallies, then those buildings with crosses atop should no longer be considered "churches" just because somebody says so.  And that makes them fair game.

    Now before somebody screams at me, know that I am not anti-church, anti-religion.  I am simply anti-nutcase.  Not all "churches" are created equal, and I would suggest we pick and choose our targets.

    •  Well, hot damn... (none)
      You're a fine tactician. That's one of the better approaches I've heard in a long while.
    •  Good idea but choose church carefully (none)
      Research the church a little as I have heard of some isolated but real cases of a member or guest standing up in a church service and speaking out and other church members physically tossing him out,or the preacher or members beating the guy up. It happened at one church but not about politics but a different matter where a member called out the pastor on being a thief. The member was right but the Preacher came out of the pulpit and start beating on this guy. The preacher later was kicked out of the church and faced charges but for the longest while, members were getting threatened and mob mentality was kicking in.

      We choose hope over despair; possibilities over problems, optimism over cynicism.-John Edwards

      by wishingwell on Sat May 07, 2005 at 08:28:49 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  And Anne Coulter (none)
        When those guys threw a pie at her, those guys were later beaten up by a mob and she sanctioned it and apparently do did law enforcement. People may turn a blind eye to a liberal in their midst who gets beat up because some are paranoid and think we go around inciting riots and violence. The religious right feels easily and unjustifably threatened and persecuted quite frequently. In fact, some advocate violence against sinners and Ann Coulter even said that MoveOn. Org starts something with her, they will end up in the ER. Remember these people think they are God's Avenging Angels and do not care if they end up in Jail as Martyrs.

        We choose hope over despair; possibilities over problems, optimism over cynicism.-John Edwards

        by wishingwell on Sat May 07, 2005 at 08:31:56 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  before you get your panties in a twist (none)

    Title: To amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to protect the religious free exercise and free speech rights of churches and other houses of worship.
    Sponsor: Rep Jones, Walter B., Jr. [NC-3] (introduced 1/8/2003)      Cosponsors (167)
    Latest Major Action: 1/8/2003 Referred to House committee. Status: Referred to the House Committee on Ways and Means.ALL ACTIONS: (color indicates Senate actions)

    I think it's dead, Jim.

    While these people scare the holy living shit out of me, we may be jumping the gun by freaking out at this point.

    •  carry over to 109th (4.00)

      Title: To amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to protect the religious free exercise and free speech rights of churches and other houses of worship.
      Sponsor: Rep Jones, Walter B., Jr. [NC-3] (introduced 1/4/2005)      Cosponsors (None)
      Latest Major Action: 1/4/2005 Referred to House committee. Status: Referred to the House Committee on Ways and Means.

      Houses of Worship Free Speech Restoration Act of 2005 - Amends the Internal Revenue Code to protect churches from losing their tax-exempt status because of the content, preparation, or presentation of any homily, sermon, teaching, dialectic, or other presentation made during religious services or gatherings.

      Permits church leaders to express personal views on political matters or elections during regular religious services without violating campaign finance laws, as long as such views are not disseminated beyond the members and guests assembled at such services.

    •  I agree it's dead (none)
      Over at Baptist Press they have an article dated 4/25/05 relating to this bill, plus additional articles if you do an on-site search for HR 235.

      Here's one of the more recent articles:

      ERLC no longer supporting Houses of Worship bill
      Apr 25, 2005
      By Tom Strode

      WASHINGTON (BP)--The Southern Baptist Convention's public policy entity has withdrawn its support for a bill it says no longer protects the free speech rights of churches.

      The Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission announced April 25 it would not back the latest version of the Houses of Worship Free Speech Restoration Act, H.R. 235, because of revisions the ERLC sees as increasing the likelihood of government intervention in churches and other religious bodies.

      Full Article

    •  Ha ha (none)
      Sent to committee, that means it's as good as dead for now...but there's always next year.

      Tell the captain "this boat's not safe and we're drowning." Turns out he's the one making waves. -Pearl Jam

      by Thunderbird343 on Sat May 07, 2005 at 08:23:16 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  think they had this in mind? (4.00)

    3 - Encourage ministers across the state of Ohio to become Patriot Pastors. Patriot Pastors will be challenged to:

      Preach and inform their congregations on issues relevant to the Christian Community. These ministers of the Gospel who are needed to encourage their church families to be engaged in the culture as a light set on a hill that refuses to be hid.

    Help build a network of addresses and e-mails that will equip concerned Christians to become informed "Minutemen" of our day. Patriot Pastors will work towards adding 200 names to our statewide mailing and 100 e-mails. We presently have 60,000 names on our AFA Ohio mailing and 55,000 on other lists that have been made available. This does not include the 55,215 e-mailing addresses that we currently have. We would like to build that to a total of 300,000 on the mailing list and 100,000 e-mail addresses. In a single day, we could educate and mobilize hundreds of thousands who are able to pray at a moment's notice. A website could be developed helping thousands of families to have access to information that equips these folks to make a stand.

    Host nonpartisan voter registration drives in their churches. Patriot Pastors will work toward registering 300 new voters by April 2006. These can be solicited in nonpartisan registration drives in a variety of ways. There are 88 counties with more than 7,000 churches. If we could see 00,000 new registered voters involved in the process, this would be a serious step towards the "Stewardship of our Citizenship."

    Include Voter Guides and inserts provided from Christian Coalition, American Family Association, and Center For Moral Clarity.
    Informed voters appreciate these tools in discovering where candidates stand on the issues. These Voter Guides are great tools to help engage their communities with conviction and confidence. These guides help clarify the positions of various candidates who, at times, would like to remain vague and noncommittal.

    Mobilize voter participation through transportation for the elderly, childcare for young families, congregational prayer meetings for elections, praying for those candidates requesting prayer, being involved and engaged as "salt and light" within the culture.

    Encourage their church families to participate in Pastor Policy Briefings and regional "God and Country Rallies" where the issues of the day are underscored and highlighted and the Judeo-Christian ethic is affirmed. Nationally known speakers Franklin Graham, Zell Miller, Secretary of State Ken Blackwell, Bob McEwen, Pastor Lawrence White, Pastor Rod Parsley, Ambassador Alan Keyes, Jerry Falwell, James Dobson, Chuck Colson, Pat Robertson and Tony Perkins will be asked to participate.  

  •  I propose (4.00)
    that DKos become First Hedonist Presbyterian
  •  So all our orgs should form "churches" (4.00)
    I can see it now.  The Church of the Move-On.  Hail the Spirt of Liberty and Freedom!
  •  My main concern in all of this (none)
    is not whether pastors mouth off to their congregations on politics, or whether they encourage them to vote for a particular candidate

    My concern is that taxpayer money is being funneled to them in the form of "Faith-Based Initiatives" (and, of course, tax deductions)

    When one party already controls the three branches of government, it's easier to open up the spigot of taxpayer money and let it flow to only the "right" churches

    I'm also remembering a news story in the last year or two where a Unitarian Universalist congregation in Texas lost its tax exempt status because it doesn't profess faith in one god

    Well-behaved women rarely make history - Laurel Thatcher Ulrich

    by jaysea on Sat May 07, 2005 at 08:09:45 PM PDT

    •  The revocation of tax-exempt status (none)
      was later reversed, but it's a hint of what they're willing to try

      Here's one article on that story:

      Strayhorn reverses herself on church's tax status
      c.2004 Fort Worth Star-Telegram

      AUSTIN - Reversing an earlier decision, state Comptroller Carole Keeton Strayhorn said Monday that a Unitarian church in Denison on the Texas-Oklahoma border will get tax-exempt status.

      The decision came after the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reported May 18 that the comptroller's office had ruled that the Red River Unitarian Universalist Church was not a religious organization for tax purposes.

      The status was denied, the state said, because the church "does not have one system of belief."

      Stunned church officials said it was the first time in U.S. history that any state had denied tax-exempt status to the Unitarians because of their religious philosophy. Father-and-son presidents John Adams and John Quincy Adams are among past adherents of the Unitarian church.

      Jesse Ancira, the comptroller's general counsel, sent a letter Monday to Dan Althoff, board president of the Denison church, informing him of the change.

      "Comptroller Strayhorn asked that I review the file on your congregation's application for tax exemption," Ancira wrote. "After reviewing the submitted application ... it is my opinion that the Red River Unitarian Universalist Church is an organization created for religious purposes and should be granted the requested tax exemption."

      Rest of article:

      Well-behaved women rarely make history - Laurel Thatcher Ulrich

      by jaysea on Sat May 07, 2005 at 08:15:00 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Jesus chased out the moneychangers (none)
    In the New Testament, Jesus chased out the moneychangers. If Jesus was on earth today, I suspect He would chase the Religious Right out.  
    Haven't they turned His father's house into a fundraiser for the Republican Party?  
  •  To Constitutional Law Scholars (none)
    What are the chances this would be struck down as unconstitutional (by the present court)?
    •  I'll take a flier on it (none)
      The first problem I notice is an equal protection problem.  The bill would create two categories of 501(c)(3) organizations -- religious and nonreligious -- and discriminates with regard to a fundamental right -- free political speech.

      This tends not to go over well with the Court.  I think even Scalia might have a problem with this.  I would have to go back over his opinions on fundamental rights equal protection, but his free speech jurisprudence has been generally good.

      Others may come along with more from-the-top-of-the-head knowledge.  My guess is it doesn't survive, and may even be a 6-3 or better split.

      "The only way we can ever beat/These crooked politician men/Is to cast the moneychangers out of the temple/Put the Carpenter in." -- Woody Guthrie

      by Pho on Sat May 07, 2005 at 08:48:14 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Here's a list of representatives who (none)
    co-sponsored this in the past by state and party affiliation. This is overwhelmingly a Republican measure, as only three Democrats co-sponsored it. Sorry for the long post.


    Rep Bonner, Jo  (R)
    Rep Everett, Terry  (R)
    Rep Bachus, Spencer  (R)
    Rep Rogers, Mike D.  (R)


    Rep Young, Don  (R)

    American Samoa

    Rep Faleomavaega, Eni F. H. (D)


    Rep Boozman, John  (R)


    Rep Flake, Jeff  (R)
    Rep Franks, Trent  (R)
    Rep Renzi, Rick  (R)
    Rep Shadegg, John B.  (R)
    Rep Hayworth, J. D.  (R)


    Rep Calvert, Ken  (R)
    Rep Cox, Christopher  (R)
    Rep Hunter, Duncan  (R)
    Rep McKeon, Howard P. (Buck)  (R)
    Rep Miller, Gary G.  (R)
    Rep Rohrabacher, Dana  (R)
    Rep Cunningham, Randy (Duke)  (R)
    Rep Doolittle, John T.  (R)
    Rep Herger, Wally  (R)
    Rep Issa, Darrell E.  (R)
    Rep Pombo, Richard W.  (R)
    Rep Radanovich, George  (R)
    Rep Gallegly, Elton  (R)


    Rep McInnis, Scott  (R) (No longer holds office)  
    Rep Hefley, Joel  (R)
    Rep Tancredo, Thomas G. (R)
    Rep Beauprez, Bob R
    Rep Musgrave, Marilyn N. (R)


    Rep Bilirakis, Michael (R)
    Rep Brown-Waite, Ginny (R)
    Rep Crenshaw, Ander (R)
    Rep Diaz-Balart, Mario (R)
    Rep Feeney, Tom (R)
    Rep Harris, Katherine (R)
    Rep Putnam, Adam H. (R)
    Rep Shaw, E. Clay, Jr. (R)
    Rep Diaz-Balart, Lincoln (R)
    Rep Foley, Mark (R)
    Rep Mica, John L. (R)
    Rep Miller, Jeff (R)
    Rep Ros-Lehtinen, Ileana (R)
    Rep Keller, Ric (R)
    Rep Weldon, Dave (R)


    Rep Collins, Mac (R) (No longer holds office)  
    Rep Deal, Nathan (R)
    Rep Isakson, Johnny (R)
    Rep Kingston, Jack (R)
    Rep Norwood, Charlie (R)


    Rep Simpson, Michael K. (R)
    Rep Otter, C. L. (Butch) (R)


    Rep Hostettler, John N. (R)
    Rep Burton, Dan (R)
    Rep Pence, Mike (R)
    Rep Souder, Mark E. (R)


    Rep King, Steve (R)
    Rep Latham, Tom (R)
    Rep Nussle, Jim (R)


    Rep Weller, Jerry (R)
    Rep Crane, Philip M. (R) (No longer holds office)
    Rep Hyde, Henry J. (R)
    Rep Shimkus, John (R)
    Rep LaHood, Ray (R)
    Rep Manzullo, Donald A. (R)


    Rep Whitfield, Ed (R)
    Rep Rogers, Harold (R)
    Rep Lewis, Ron (R)
    Rep Northup, Anne M. (R)
    Rep Fletcher, Ernie (R) (No longer holds office)


    Rep Ryun, Jim (R)
    Rep Tiahrt, Todd (R)


    Rep Alexander, Rodney (R)
    Rep Baker, Richard H. (R)
    Rep McCrery, Jim (R)
    Rep Tauzin, W. J. (Billy) (R)
    Rep Vitter, David (R)


    Rep Bartlett, Roscoe G. (R)


    Rep Hoekstra, Peter (R)
    Rep McCotter, Thaddeus G. (R)
    Rep Rogers, Mike (R)
    Rep Camp, Dave (R)


    Rep Pickering, Charles W. (Chip) (R)
    Rep Wicker, Roger F. (R)


    Rep Akin, W. Todd (R)
    Rep Blunt, Roy (R)
    Rep Graves, Sam (R)
    Rep Emerson, Jo Ann (R)


    Rep Kennedy, Mark R. (R)
    Rep Kline, John (R)
    Rep Gutknecht, Gil (R)
    Rep Peterson, Collin C. (D)
    Rep Ramstad, Jim (R)


    Rep Rehberg, Dennis R. (R)


    Rep Terry, Lee (R)


    Rep Gibbons, Jim (R)

    New Jersey

    Rep Garrett, Scott (R)
    Rep Smith, Christopher H. (R)
    Rep Saxton, Jim (R)

    New York

    Rep Sweeney, John E. (R)
    Rep King, Peter T. (R)
    Rep Reynolds, Thomas M. (R)
    Rep Walsh, James T. (R)
    Rep McHugh, John M. (R)

    North Carolina

    Rep Burr, Richard (R)
    Rep Coble, Howard (R)
    Rep Taylor, Charles H. (R)
    Rep Ballenger, Cass (R) (No longer holds office)
    Rep Myrick, Sue (R)
    Rep Hayes, Robin (R)


    Rep Boehner, John A. (R)
    Rep Tiberi, Patrick J. (R)
    Rep Turner, Michael R. (R)
    Rep Ney, Robert W. (R)
    Rep Chabot, Steve (R)
    Rep Oxley, Michael G. (R)


    Rep Istook, Ernest J., Jr. (R)
    Rep Lucas, Frank D. (R)
    Rep Cole, Tom (R)
    Rep Sullivan, John (R)


    Rep Peterson, John E. (R)
    Rep Pitts, Joseph R. (R)
    Rep Shuster, Bill (R)
    Rep Weldon, Curt (R)
    Rep English, Phil (R)
    Rep Hart, Melissa A. (R)
    Rep Toomey, Patrick J. (R) (No longer holds office)

    South Carolina

    Rep Barrett, J. Gresham (R)
    Rep DeMint, Jim (R)
    Rep Brown, Henry E., Jr. (R)
    Rep Wilson, Joe (R)

    South Dakota

    Rep Janklow, William J. (R) (No longer holds office)


    Rep Blackburn, Marsha (R)
    Rep Duncan, John J., Jr. (R)
    Rep Wamp, Zach (R)


    Rep Barton, Joe [(R)
    Rep Brady, Kevin (R)
    Rep Carter, John R. (R)
    Rep Culberson, John Abney (R)
    Rep Johnson, Sam (R)
    Rep Sessions, Pete (R)
    Rep Thornberry, Mac (R)
    Rep Bonilla, Henry (R)
    Rep Burgess, Michael C. (R)
    Rep Combest, Larry (R) (No longer holds office)  
    Rep DeLay, Tom (R)
    Rep Hall, Ralph M. (R)
    Rep Granger, Kay (R)
    Rep Paul, Ron (R)
    Rep Hensarling, Jeb (R)


    Rep Cannon, Chris (R)
    Rep Bishop, Rob (R)


    Rep Davis, Jo Ann (R)
    Rep Forbes, J. Randy (R)
    Rep Goodlatte, Bob (R)
    Rep Wolf, Frank R. (R)
    Rep Davis, Tom (R)
    Rep Goode, Virgil H., Jr. (R)
    Rep Schrock, Edward L. (R) (No longer holds office)  
    Rep Cantor, Eric (R)


    Rep Hastings, Doc [(R)
    Rep Nethercutt, George R., Jr. (R) (No longer holds office)
    Rep Dunn, Jennifer (R) (No longer holds office)

    West Virginia

    Rep Rahall, Nick J., II (D)


    Rep Green, Mark (R)
    Rep Ryan, Paul (R)  


    Rep Cubin, Barbara (R)  

  •  It's absurd to block churches from politics (3.00)
    Churches are about people's belief systems, what is good and what is bad, what should be done, what shouldn't. It is simply absurd to assume that people's religious belief will not interact with their political thinking. Most of the major issues have a philisophical/religious component: do we have an obligation to heal the sick, feed the hungry?  Should we turn the other cheek or have an eye-for-an eye.

    It is impossible to have discussions in a church setting that will not impinge in some way upon the issues of the day, and that brings them into the political realm. So every institution winds up in at least partial violation of the ban. Which churches will be penalized for it?  Figure it out -- the ones speaking against whoever is in power!

    It won't make a big deal of differences, there are churches on both sides of the political spectrum, and anyway, the people who are going to let the pastor tell them how to vote have already been told.

    Anyway, do you really think the Catholic Church should lose it's tax status because the Pope (John-Paul) thought it was wrong for the U.S. to go into Iraq?

    •  if the pope (4.00)
      were to endorse the republican party, and threaten to excommunicate democrats, then yes, i would then argue that it should. the wall between church and state is there to protect both of them, as the english civil war ought to illustrate.
    •  Belief systems are fine (none)
      It's fine for a church to address individual issues and say "this is wrong because of [religious reasoning]". A church telling people who or what to vote for constitutes the implication divine right and spiritual endorsement of a human creation.

      I think the idea of forming churches is rather, well, absurd. People are drawn to churches for the spiritual guidance, not their politics. I personally hope some grassroots action starts up over this bill, the media notices, and it's forced by publicity to be a vote. It'd be further fuel for the hubris fire, at least; at best, the GOP would jump the shark. Let them either alienate the base that put them in power these last few cycles, or let them alienate the middle.

      The Bush Plan:
      Step 1.: Invade Iraq.
      Step 2.: ???
      Step 3.: Democracy!

      by the good reverend on Sat May 07, 2005 at 09:27:58 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Tax churches (4.00)
    I've been saying this for years, but the solution to the problem of excessive ecclesiastical influence on politics is simply to revoke the tax-exempt status of churches. There simply is no justification for it in the first place, and it leaves the religious right with an inexhaustible source of tax-free funding.

    Churches could still set up tax-exempt charities, which would certainly merit tax breaks for performing vital social services, but the church itself, an ideological social club, ought to pay taxes like everyone else.

    Support Our Troops: Send the Commander-in-Chief to the Front!

    by eodell on Sat May 07, 2005 at 09:07:54 PM PDT

    •  Tax exempt charities? (none)
      Come to think of it, why should charities be tax exempt?  If they spend the money on the good deeds that they are 'in business' for, then that should be deductable. If they have retained earnings, well then perhaps they should pay taxes. That would encourage them to spend the money on what it was gathered for.
    •  The issue,... (none)
      ...I think, with this is that if churches pay taxes, they then become taxpayers, which means that, almost by definition, elected officials are very likely to pay them all sorts of attention then. It puts the church and the government much too close to each other.

      You know how cities and villages compete for businesses to locate within their limits by offering tax breaks and so forth? Just imagine if one of the mega-churches decides to re-locate. The repurcussions of religions claiming they were treated unfairly because Church A got a better tax break than Church B...    And that's just ONE example...

  •  MOOT? I DON'T THINK SO!!! (none)
     Heterosexual mommy here. HELLO! Wake the Fuck Up America!

    A real totalitarianism regime wants to control every aspect of your life. Margaret Atwood

    by blueohio on Sat May 07, 2005 at 11:03:54 PM PDT

  •  Un-tax-exempt delinquent churches to fix SocSec (none)
    Really. Social Security would be solvent, healthy and fat forfrickenever. Public schools too, probably.

    Hell, if deadbeat corporate scofflaws were required to pay what they owe -- rather than BushCo's current fixation on how to squeeze more blood out of the poor and middle class -- who knows how far that would go towards providing affordable health care for everyone.

    (No, making corporations responsible wouldn't wreck the economy -- let's get off this idiocy that whatever hurts the stocks of the FatCatocracy is bad.) It would go a long way to fixing what BushCo broke.

    Nahhhhh ... imagine making a workforce healthier, smarter and replenished by smart, better trained new potential employees coming out of schools that actually taught stuff like technology, science and math. WHAT A FUCKING NIGHTMARE!

    It's downright unmoral and anti-religious.

    This machine fights fascism - motto on a Woody Guthrie guitar

    by Peanut on Sun May 08, 2005 at 12:21:34 AM PDT

    •  Think it through a bit (none)
      because if public schools, K-12 through universities, have to pay taxes, including property taxes (that will be next) . . . that all has to come out of your taxes.  So you will have to be taxed more so that schools get more funds to turn around and pay as taxes.

      Seems like it all would even out, I know -- but any time there's money changing hands several times this way, someone is taking handling charges along the way.  And we would pay and pay.

      "Let all the dreamers wake the nation." -- Carly Simon

      by Cream City on Sun May 08, 2005 at 04:28:09 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Once Again (4.00)
    It seems appropriate to remind people of Sam Harris's The End of Faith:  Religion, Terror, and the Future of Reason.  As the rhetoric heightens and the risks correspondingly increase, there has to come a time when reasonable people say no.  Harris's book is provocative and challenging.  

    Deval Patrick for Governor of Massachusetts

    by lightiris on Sun May 08, 2005 at 04:55:32 AM PDT

  •  Baptists oust Kerry voters (none)
    Here in North Carolina... got this link from
    My favorite part is the woman who says They're like your family, even the ones who voted*.

    *ie, for John Kerry.

    The less a man knows about how sausages and laws are made, the easier it is to steal his vote and give him botulism.

    by SensibleShoes on Sun May 08, 2005 at 08:01:55 AM PDT

  •  Let me see if I read this right ... (4.00)
    Do you mean to tell me that there is a proposed bill that not only will chip away at the wall of separation between church and state, but also will increase the power of politically-motivated religious denominations to become a central part of the political process?

    However, when the priests/ministers of those denominations exercise their first amendment rights to disagree with the political positions of their leaders (a la the editor of the US Catholic publication America) they lose their positions, their flock, their collars?

    I think I'm going to join the Church of Democracy for America!

    "You don't lead by pointing and telling people some place to go. You lead by going to that place and making a case." - Ken Kesey

    by Glinda on Sun May 08, 2005 at 08:22:51 AM PDT

  •  ohio restoration project (none)
    is it just me or does this guy look kinda like the chimperor in chief?

    "It says in the Bible that the morning-after pill is wrong. I believe the passage is Pharmaceuticals 3:16." -Adrian Roy, Systems Analyst

    by mediaprisoner on Sun May 08, 2005 at 10:10:27 AM PDT

  •  Sounds like a loophole we could exploit! (none)
    Let's make our own churches!  They'll be progressive and non-religious. AND TAX EXEMPT. I don't know if the sponsors of this realize what a Pandora's box it is...
    mmmmmmmm The Feast of Maximum Occupancy!

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