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The Gospel Coalition ^ | 02/24/2014 | Joe Carter

Posted on 03/30/2015 10:18:04 AM PDT by SeekAndFind

This weekend Kirsten Powers and Jonathan Merritt stirred up controversy by writing in the Daily Beast that Christians have no biblical basis for claiming that religious belief should allow them to refuse to serve a same-sex wedding:

Before considering legal rights, Christians wrestling with this issue must first resolve the primary issue of whether the Bible calls Christians to deny services to people who are engaging in behavior they believe violates the teachings of Christianity regarding marriage. The answer is, it does not.

Nor does the Bible teach that providing such a service should be construed as participation or affirmation. Yet Christian conservatives continue to claim that it does.

This article was published only a few days after Powers and Merritt posted separate articles (here and here) claiming that discrimination based on sexual orientation is akin to discrimination based on race.

Such claims are often repeated but rarely examined. So let's consider whether race and sexual orientation are similar and equally deserving of legal protections.

Form of the Argument

The argument to make this comparison takes the following form:

Major Premise: A sexual orientation is analogous to the category of race.

Minor Premise: Race is a category protected by anti-discrimination laws.

Conclusion: Therefore, sexual orientation should have the same civil-rights protections as those afforded to race.

The question we will examine is whether the major premise is true. Is sexual orientation analogous to race? Before we can answer that question, we we must consider what constitutes a justification for anti-discrimination laws.

What Are Anti-Discrimination Laws?

In an article for Notre Dame Law Review, Richard F. Duncan provides a model for thinking through the issue. As Duncan says, in order to answer the question of whether sexual orientation should be protected by anti-discrimination laws we should first consider the purpose of such laws. “It is important to recognize, however, that civil rights laws codifying this principle are nothing more than exceptions to the general rule of free choice,” says Duncan. Employers, landlords, business owners, and so on, have historically retained the moral and legal right to freedom of association, which allows them to choose whom they will or will not do business with. In the latter half of the 20th century, certain exemptions to this general principle became codified in the United States to protect categories such as race and gender.

It is important to remember that these anti-discrimination laws are exemptions to the general rule. Except for the protected classes, business owners, et al., are allowed to discriminate (i.e., refuse to do business) with people for a variety of reasons. For instance, a landlord is not required to rent to a pornographer or a Klansman. In general, sexual orientation (however it was made known to a business owner) has been one of thousands of factors that are unprotected by antidiscrimination laws.

People who claim that legislation to protect sexual orientation is merely seeking to provide the same protections that are afforded to other people are incorrect: they already have the same rights everyone else has, i.e., the right to be protected against discrimination on the basis of their race, gender, and other protected categories. It is necessary that we are clear that seeking to make sexual orientation a protected class are seeking a special exemption that is not afforded to millions of other criteria.

A case could possibly be made that sexual orientation deserves this special exemption if it can be shown to be analogous to the category of race. So let's examine that claim.

What Characteristics Warrant Special Protection?

The three most common reasons for considering race as a protected class is because race is immutable, morally neutral, and that discrimination has a significantly detrimental economic and political impact. The only two that really matter, however, are the last two. Whether a characteristic is immutable (i.e., subject to change) is not all that important, and shouldn't really factor into the question of antidiscrimination laws. As Duncan says,

Suppose, for example, that a drug were invented that would enable human beings to change their race. In other words, blacks could take a safe, inexpensive pill and become Caucasian. Would anyone argue seriously that civil rights laws should not cover blacks who declined the drug and thereby chose to remain black?

The reason race is a category worthy of protection is not because it is immutable, but because it is a morally neutral characteristic that has proven to have a significantly detrimental economic and political impact. And based on these criteria, sexual orientation is not analogous to race.

What Is Sexual Orientation?

Critics of orthodox Christianity often claim that the writers of the Bible had no conception of sexual orientation in the way that we use the term today. I suspect they are right. Some Christians (including me) believe that the phrase “sexual orientation” should be abandoned altogether since it is a harmful social construct.

The phrase itself is rather new. It was almost never used before 1920, and only really entered common usage in the 1970s during the early gay rights movement. Since then, the term has expanded and contracted based largely on the political needs of activists. The typical definition of the term—for instance, the one used by the American Psychological Association—is that a sexual orientation “refers to a person's sense of identity based on those attractions, related behaviors, and membership in a community of others who share those attractions.”

The three broad categories of sexual orientation are heterosexual, homosexual, and bisexual, though there are other distinct—and often problematic—orientations as well. A prime example is pedophilia.

We can either say that pedophilia is a distinct sexual orientation, or we can say that it is a paraphilia associated with one of the three main orientations. For the past three decades this latter option has largely been rejected by the LGBTQ community. They insist there is no link between homosexuality and pedophilia. As a 2012 Huffington Post article says, “Quite often, pedophiles never develop a sexual orientation toward other adults.” However, if it is true that pedophiles don't develop an orientation to other adults, and hence are neither heterosexual nor homosexual, then pedophilia must be a distinct sexual orientation.

This has been the commonsense view, though it too has been rejected by the LGBTQ activists since it makes the protection of sexual orientation as a generic class not only problematic, but morally reprehensible. If they are being honest, what they want is not a protection for all sexual orientations but only for orientations that can be applied to adult homosexuals. What LGBTQ activists want is a special exemption for a special subset of sexual orientations.

The 'Morally Neutral' Criteria

But let's grant, for the sake of argument, that we are warranted in carving out a special exemption for a particular type of sexual orientation (adult homosexuals). Is homosexual orientation and behavior morally neutral?

The obvious Christian answer is “no.” There has never been a time in the history of Christianity—or even of Western Civilization—when sexuality has been considered a morally neutral characteristic of humans. Homosexuality, in particular, has historically been viewed by orthodox Christians as immoral behavior.

How then do LGBTQ supporters make the case that homosexuality is morally neutral and morally uncontroversial? By claiming that it is unreasonable to oppose homosexuality. And how do they do that? By claiming it is a morally neutral trait akin to race.

This argument fails, however, because it relies on a form of the logical fallacy called circular reasoning. Circular reasoning is often of the form: “A is true because B is true; B is true because A is true.” The LGBTQ argument is rooted in the idea that “Homosexual orientation is akin to race because it is morally neutral; and it is morally neutral because it is akin to race.” The argument needs an extra premise that ties homosexuality to race. The most likely candidate would be a detrimental impact of discrimination.

The Economic and Political Impact Criteria

The most obvious reason why the connection between homosexuality and race fails is because it does not currently lead to a detrimental economic and political impact. I won't belabor the point, since it is so obvious that LGBTQ advocates rarely attempt to claim that being gay is politically and economically harmful.

While individual cases obviously vary, as a class homosexuals have more political and economic power than any other minority group in America. The idea that homosexuals suffer the same detrimental impact as African Americans is so ridiculous that no one even bothers to seriously make such a claim.

What the Issue Is Really About

The main difference between antidiscrimination laws based on race and on sexual orientation is that the former were intended to recognize a morally neutral characteristic, while the latter is an effort to reclassify a non-neutral characteristic as morally good.

In previous decades this point was talked about, but not made obvious. As the LGBTQ journalist and activist Randy Shilts once said, the gay political agenda is “essentially a battle for social legitimacy.” Similarly, Frank Kameny, an early leader of the homosexual rights movement, said in 1964:

I take the stand that not only is homosexuality . . . not immoral, but that homosexual acts engaged in by consenting adults are moral, in a positive and real sense, and are right, good, and desirable, both for the individual participants and for the society in which they live.

This is the position of most, if not all, members of the LGBTQ community today. It is also widely shared by many Christians, despite that fact that is wholly and unequivocally incompatible with Christian belief. Christians who support making sexual orientation a protected class are not, as some mistakenly believe, supporting a morally neutral position; they are helping to transform and reframe the idea of sexual orientation—specifically homosexuality—as a moral good.

Should We Be Forced to View Homosexuality as 'Morally Good'?

That is the stated goal of antidiscrimination laws based on sexual orientation: such legislation compels people, by force of law, to recognize that sexual activities are morally good and provides a basis for societal censure for disagreeing with that viewpoint.

As Americans, we have a constitutional right to lobby the government to recognize and promote our favorite types of sin. We should not be surprised, then, to find secular LGBTQ activists promoting their views in the public square, even when their arguments are morally problematic, illogical, and offensive to racial minorities.

What we should not tolerate, however, is the efforts of our fellow brothers and sisters in Christ to promote laws that promote destructive behavior as morally good. We cannot love our neighbor by encouraging them to engage in actions that invoke God's wrath (Ps. 5:4-5; Rom. 1:18). As Christians we may be required to tolerate ungodly behavior, but the moment we begin to endorse the same then we too have become suppressers of the truth. We cannot love our neighbor and want to see them excluded from the kingdom of Christ (Eph. 5:5).

We must, therefore, challenge our fellow believers who are promoting hate by claiming that discrimination based on sexual behavior is similar to racial bigotry and Jim Crow-style segregation laws. These types of claims that sexual orientation is analogous to race are unbiblical, racially insensitive, and morally repugnant. We must correct such misperceptions in a spirit of gentleness and truth. But we must also do so forcefully and make it clear that we cannot be followers of Christ and promoters of evil.

Joe Carter is an editor for The Gospel Coalition and the co-author of How to Argue Like Jesus: Learning Persuasion from History’s Greatest Communicator. You can follow him on Twitter.

TOPICS: Moral Issues; Religion & Culture; Religion & Politics
KEYWORDS: homosexualagenda; homosexuality; indiana; libertarians; medicalmarijuana; mikepence; race; racism; rfra; sexualorientation
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1 posted on 03/30/2015 10:18:04 AM PDT by SeekAndFind
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To: SeekAndFind

All analogies limp. This one is limp wristed.

2 posted on 03/30/2015 10:21:07 AM PDT by Hieronymus ( (It is terrible to contemplate how few politicians are hanged. --G. K. Chesterton))
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To: SeekAndFind

It is, until you find genetic evidence, then its ambiguous. It’ll be illegal if you want to abort.

3 posted on 03/30/2015 10:21:16 AM PDT by Crazieman (Article V or National Divorce. The only solutions now.)
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To: SeekAndFind

Christians have scripture that homosexuality is an “Abomination” in the eyes of God; case closed.

4 posted on 03/30/2015 10:21:24 AM PDT by A CA Guy ( God Bless America, God Bless and keep safe our fighting men and women.)
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To: SeekAndFind
Individual moral views notwithstanding, freedom to choose ("discrimination") is our right and our privilege.

MLK helped give discriminating (freedom to choose) a bad name. But we as individuals have every constitutional right to choose and discriminate however we want.

The only constitutional limitation on choosing or discriminating is prohibition of STATE SEGREGATION laws against blacks (14th Amendment).

There is NO constitutional limitation on individual discrimination AT ALL.

A state can discriminate against gays or anyone else except blacks.

5 posted on 03/30/2015 10:22:47 AM PDT by PapaNew (The grace of God & freedom always win the debate in the forum of ideas over unjust law & government)
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To: SeekAndFind


Transvestitism is an obsession/desire/fetish. We are born naked, the desire to crossdress is not genetic. It is a compulsion contrary to societal norms.

Not all transvestites are homosexual or have desires to change sex.

Going through the other alphabet soup sexual identities, we’ve seen a number of heterosexuals who married and sired children “suddenly” awaken to announce that they never had any heterosexual tendencies and are more satisfied seeking a homosexual lifestyle (rejecting their kids, their spouse, etc.). We’ve also seen the “other” conversion, the one that homosexuals say never happens; public homosexual settling down into a heterosexual marriage/family.

“It’s fluid” they say. So are political opinions and religious beliefs. It’s not akin to skin color.

6 posted on 03/30/2015 10:24:28 AM PDT by a fool in paradise (Shickl-Gruber's Big Lie gave us Hussein's Un-Affordable Care act (HUAC).)
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To: SeekAndFind

No. Next question.

7 posted on 03/30/2015 10:25:26 AM PDT by dfwgator
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To: SeekAndFind

In a word, NO.

Homosexuality is BEHAVIOR. Like alcoholism, a serious mental disorder.

“Race” is ancestral and has no bearing on a person’s behavior or potential.

8 posted on 03/30/2015 10:25:41 AM PDT by Westbrook (Children do not divide your love, they multiply it)
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To: SeekAndFind

A gay dude can screw all the women he wants. Gay is nothing more than hormones, lust, and sexual kinks pretending to be the opposite.

A black man cant make himself white. A white person cant be Asian no matter what they do.

9 posted on 03/30/2015 10:26:06 AM PDT by VanDeKoik
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To: SeekAndFind

The point here is it is not for another person to decide what another’s faith demands.

10 posted on 03/30/2015 10:26:59 AM PDT by Gamecock ("The Christian who has stopped repenting has stopped growing." A.W. Pink)
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To: SeekAndFind

Well, every time I have to talk to some evangelistic homo, I want to race away. Is that close enough?

11 posted on 03/30/2015 10:27:06 AM PDT by Still Thinking (Freedom is NOT a loophole!)
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Comment #12 Removed by Moderator

To: SeekAndFind
Should We Be Forced to View Homosexuality as 'Morally Good'?

That is the central question, and the true reason all freedom-loving citizens -- Christian or not -- should oppose faux marriage. Should we allow the government to force us to recognize certain institutions as morally acceptable when our own beliefs, passed down through ages of history and civilization, insist they are not?

Does the government exist to define morality, or does it exist to enforce the morality defined by the people? In the case of homosexuality, it is the former, and a gross abuse of power.

13 posted on 03/30/2015 10:27:33 AM PDT by IronJack
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To: Crazieman

sex positive agenda advocates frankly don’t care if it is genetic or not. They seek end all moral judgments over sexual pairings of ANY kind regardless of sex, age, relation, marital status, number, or species of partner(s). Genetics has nothing to do with their belief.

Stalinists lie. ALWAYS

Marxist Feminism’s Ruined Lives ^ | 9-2-2014 | Mallory Millett

During my junior year in high school, the nuns asked about our plans for after we graduated. When I said I was going to attend State University, I noticed their disappointment. I asked my favorite nun, “Why?” She answered, “That means you’ll leave four years later a communist and an atheist!”

What a giggle we girls had over that. “How ridiculously unsophisticated these nuns are,” we thought. Then I went to the university and four years later walked out a communist and an atheist, just as my sister Katie had six years before me.

Sometime later, I was a young divorcee with a small child. At the urging of my sister, I relocated to NYC after spending years married to an American executive stationed in Southeast Asia. The marriage over, I was making a new life for my daughter and me. Katie said, “Come to New York. We’re making revolution! Some of us are starting the National Organization of Women and you can be part of it.”

I hadn’t seen her for years. Although she had tormented me when we were youngsters, those memories were faint after my Asian traumas and the break-up of my marriage. I foolishly mistook her for sanctuary in a storm. With so much time and distance between us, I had forgotten her emotional instability.

And so began my period as an unwitting witness to history. I stayed with Kate and her lovable Japanese husband, Fumio, in a dilapidated loft on The Bowery as she finished her first book, a PhD thesis for Columbia University, “Sexual Politics.”

It was 1969. Kate invited me to join her for a gathering at the home of her friend, Lila Karp. They called the assemblage a “consciousness-raising-group,” a typical communist exercise, something practiced in Maoist China. We gathered at a large table as the chairperson opened the meeting with a back-and-forth recitation, like a Litany, a type of prayer done in Catholic Church. But now it was Marxism, the Church of the Left, mimicking religious practice:

“Why are we here today?” she asked.
“To make revolution,” they answered.
“What kind of revolution?” she replied.
“The Cultural Revolution,” they chanted.
“And how do we make Cultural Revolution?” she demanded.
“By destroying the American family!” they answered.
“How do we destroy the family?” she came back.
“By destroying the American Patriarch,” they cried exuberantly.
“And how do we destroy the American Patriarch?” she replied.
“By taking away his power!”
“How do we do that?”
“By destroying monogamy!” they shouted.
“How can we destroy monogamy?”

Their answer left me dumbstruck, breathless, disbelieving my ears. Was I on planet earth? Who were these people?

“By promoting promiscuity, eroticism, prostitution and homosexuality!” they resounded.

They proceeded with a long discussion on how to advance these goals by establishing The National Organization of Women. It was clear they desired nothing less than the utter deconstruction of Western society. The upshot was that the only way to do this was “to invade every American institution. Every one must be permeated with ‘The Revolution’”: The media, the educational system, universities, high schools, K-12, school boards, etc.; then, the judiciary, the legislatures, the executive branches and even the library system.

It fell on my ears as a ludicrous scheme, as if they were a band of highly imaginative children planning a Brinks robbery; a lark trumped up on a snowy night amongst a group of spoiled brats over booze and hashish.

To me, this sounded silly. I was enduring culture shock after having been cut-off from my homeland, living in Third-World countries for years with not one trip back to the United States. I was one of those people who, upon returning to American soil, fell out of the plane blubbering with ecstasy at being home in the USA. I knelt on the ground covering it with kisses. I had learned just exactly how delicious was the land of my birth and didn’t care what anyone thought because they just hadn’t seen what I had or been where I had been. I had seen factory workers and sex-slaves chained to walls.

How could they know? Asia is beyond our ken and, as they say, utterly inscrutable, and a kind of hell I never intended to revisit. I lived there, not junketed, not visited like sweet little tourists — I’d conducted households and tried to raise a child. I had outgrown the communism of my university days and was clumsily groping my way back to God.

How could twelve American women who were the most respectable types imaginable — clean and privileged graduates of esteemed institutions: Columbia, Radcliffe, Smith, Wellesley, Vassar; the uncle of one was Secretary of War under Franklin Roosevelt — plot such a thing? Most had advanced degrees and appeared cogent, bright, reasonable and good. How did these people rationally believe they could succeed with such vicious grandiosity? And why?

I dismissed it as academic-lounge air-castle-building. I continued with my new life in New York while my sister became famous publishing her books, featured on the cover of “Time Magazine.” “Time” called her “the Karl Marx of the Women’s Movement.” This was because her book laid out a course in Marxism 101 for women. Her thesis: The family is a den of slavery with the man as the Bourgeoisie and the woman and children as the Proletariat. The only hope for women’s “liberation” (communism’s favorite word for leading minions into inextricable slavery; “liberation,” and much like “collective” – please run from it, run for your life) was this new “Women’s Movement.” Her books captivated the academic classes and soon “Women’s Studies” courses were installed in colleges in a steady wave across the nation with Kate Millett books as required reading.

Imagine this: a girl of seventeen or eighteen at the kitchen table with Mom studying the syllabus for her first year of college and there’s a class called “Women’s Studies.” “Hmmm, this could be interesting,” says Mom. “Maybe you could get something out of this.”

Seems innocuous to her. How could she suspect this is a class in which her innocent daughter will be taught that her father is a villain? Her mother is a fool who allowed a man to enslave her into barbaric practices like monogamy and family life and motherhood, which is a waste of her talents. She mustn’t follow in her mother’s footsteps. That would be submitting to life as a mindless drone for some domineering man, the oppressor, who has mesmerized her with tricks like romantic love. Never be lured into this chicanery, she will be taught. Although men are no damned good, she should use them for her own orgasmic gratification; sleep with as many men as possible in order to keep herself unattached and free. There’s hardly a seventeen-year-old girl without a grudge from high school against a Jimmy or Jason who broke her heart. Boys are learning, too, and they can be careless during high school, that torment of courting dances for both sexes.

By the time Women’s Studies professors finish with your daughter, she will be a shell of the innocent girl you knew, who’s soon convinced that although she should be flopping down with every boy she fancies, she should not, by any means, get pregnant. And so, as a practitioner of promiscuity, she becomes a wizard of prevention techniques, especially abortion.

The goal of Women’s Liberation is to wear each female down to losing all empathy for boys, men or babies. The tenderest aspects of her soul are roughened into a rock pile of cynicism, where she will think nothing of murdering her baby in the warm protective nest of her little-girl womb. She will be taught that she, in order to free herself, must become an outlaw. This is only reasonable because all Western law, since Magna Carta and even before, is a concoction of the evil white man whose true purpose is to press her into slavery.

Be an outlaw! Rebel! Be defiant! (Think Madonna, Lady Gaga, Lois Lerner, Elizabeth Warren.) “All women are prostitutes,” she will be told. You’re either really smart and use sex by being promiscuous for your own pleasures and development as a full free human being “just like men” or you can be a professional prostitute, a viable business for women, which is “empowering” or you can be duped like your mother and prostitute yourself to one man exclusively whereby you fall under the heavy thumb of “the oppressor.” All wives are just “one-man whores.”

She is to be heartless in this. No sentimental stuff about courting. No empathy for either boy or baby. She has a life to live and no one is to get in her way. And if the boy or man doesn’t “get it” then no sex for him; “making love” becomes “having sex.” “I’m not ‘having sex’ with any jerk who doesn’t believe I can kill his son or daughter at my whim. He has no say in it because it’s my body!” (Strange logic as who has ever heard of a body with two heads, two hearts, four arms, four feet?)...

14 posted on 03/30/2015 10:29:16 AM PDT by a fool in paradise (Shickl-Gruber's Big Lie gave us Hussein's Un-Affordable Care act (HUAC).)
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To: SeekAndFind

Homosexuality is a perversion.

15 posted on 03/30/2015 10:34:20 AM PDT by Jim Robinson (Resistance to tyrants is obedience to God!!)
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To: SeekAndFind

It has nothing to do with race except maybe when queers run track.

16 posted on 03/30/2015 10:37:11 AM PDT by arthurus (it's true!)
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To: SeekAndFind

We’re not to “okay” homosexuality” as something that is “confirmed okay” per the Bible. God makes it clear that it’s not. It’s one of many sins of the world that we’re in today. We don’t condone any of those sins ... all of which have been with us from the beginning of time ... right after Adam and Eve.

There is only one time that this will be addressed in our world, and that is on the Coming of the Messiah of Israel. Until that time, and until his coming One-World Government, we won’t see the end of all these sins, and their rampant spread!

We await the coming of the Messiah of Israel and his One-World Government for a truly righteous rule in the world!

17 posted on 03/30/2015 10:43:08 AM PDT by Star Traveler (Remember to keep the Messiah of Israel in the One-World Government that we look forward to coming)
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To: IronJack
Does the government exist to define morality, or does it exist to enforce the morality defined by the people? In the case of homosexuality, it is the former, and a gross abuse of power.

The most concise and brilliant statement I've ever read on the topic.

For the amoral liberal, the government exists to define morality and take the place of God. It is that simple.

18 posted on 03/30/2015 10:44:28 AM PDT by Vigilanteman (Obama: Fake black man. Fake Messiah. Fake American. How many fakes can you fit in one Zer0?)
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To: SeekAndFind

How can lifestyle be a genetic difference? How can clothing choice? How can who you have sex with and how be anything but a choice? Logic has to be thrown out the window to ascribe homosexuality to the same category as race.

19 posted on 03/30/2015 10:46:31 AM PDT by Glad2bnuts
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To: SeekAndFind

Ask most Blacks...

20 posted on 03/30/2015 10:46:32 AM PDT by goodnesswins (I think we've reached PEAK TYRANNY now.....)
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