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Bake me a Cake and Mark it with B for Bigot

The text of this article on Premier is below….click the link above for the full article.

The ‘gay cake’ ruling against Ashers Bakery is another example of double standards being imposed, say Free Church of Scotland moderator David Robertson.

Last night I happened to be at a really posh dinner, sitting beside a Lady who is also a senior judge.  We had a most interesting conversation talking about the limitations and powers of the law (as well as the wonder of the Gospel).  I asked her about the Ashers case and…well, I’ll wait a bit to give you her considered response.

What is the Ashers case?  Ashers Baking Company in Northern Ireland was approached by a gay man who asked them to bake a cake.  They refused and were reported to the Equalities Commission who then proceeded to take out a court case against them.  Yesterday the owners, the McArthur family, were found guilty of breaking political and sexual discrimination laws.  Rightly so.  It is absolutely terrible to discriminate against people because of their political or sexual orientation.  It’s also another one in the eye for these backward Christian fundamentalists in Northern Ireland who need to step out of the religious darkness of the 18th Century and ‘progress’ into modern times.


We could think for ourselves and take a somewhat different perspective.   Because Ashers did not refuse a gay person a cake.  They refused to bake a cake with a message supporting gay marriage.  And that changes everything.

Does this ruling now mean that a Jewish baker should be forced to bake a cake with a Swastika on it for the BNP (neither the sign nor the party are illegal in the UK)?  Would the equalities commission sue a Muslim baker who refused to bake a cake with a cartoon of Mohammed on it, for a Charlie Hebdo party?

‘But that’s ridiculous’, you say.  Indeed.  Just as it is ridiculous for a Christian who thinks that Same-Sex Marriage is against the Word of God to be compelled to bake a cake with a message supporting it.  There is discrimination in this case, but it is not discrimination against the gay man who brought the case (a heterosexual asking for such a cake would also have been turned down), but rather against the Christian baker who is being told he will have to close down if he is not prepared to provide cakes with messages that contradict his beliefs. To refuse to bake someone a cake because they are gay would be wrong.  To refuse to decorate that cake with a message which you find offensive is your right (and  it’s also worth remembering that SSM is not yet legal in NI at this point).

There is a double standard in British society

Let’s return to my judge.  What did she say?  She accepted my examples and said that it would clearly be a ridiculous principle to absolutise.  That there has to be balance and reason brought into the judgement.  But then comes the $64,000 question – who decides what that actually means?   The Scottish Christian Party during the recent general election, sent their leaflet off to a printers to be published.  The printers refused on the grounds that they did not agree with the messages on it.  The messages were not illegal but nonetheless they refused.  Could they not be sued for the same reason?

The fact is that there is a double standard in British society just now.  The law is being interpreted and enforced in one way for those who represent the cause celebres of our culture, and yet used in a completely different way for those who don’t agree with the shibboleths of our elites.

The irony is that in the name of equality, there is legalized inequality and in the name of tolerance there is state enforced intolerance.   The Ashers Bakery case is a red flag warning us of the irrational, unreasonable, intolerant and unequal treatment that those who dare to disagree with the new State absolutist morality, can expect to receive.  We need to pray that our Christian freedoms (which are freedoms for all) are not eroded by PC politicians and activists using a compliant judiciary to impose their totalitarian worldview.

Two additional notes;

1). The man who brought the law suit is a member of a homosexual group called queer space who just happens to visit a bakery which was well known for its Christian owners, miles from his hometown.  All entirely coincidental! 

2) SSM is illegal in Northern Ireland.  The judge is supposed to uphold the law yet he finds that a bakery which refused to put a message of support for something that is illegal, are the ones breaking the law! The law is sometimes an ass!


  1. Double standards everywhere. I recently had a conversation with a printer in France who was printing a leaflet for our church. It was at the time of the departmental elections and this printer was doing some of the election leaflets for several of the parties. I asked him if he had the right to refuse business from, for exemple, le Front National. He said that he didn’t have the right to refuse but that he simply gave them a quote that was so expensive that there was no way they would accept or he just told a lie and said that he was too busy with other work to take on their job. I then noticed that he had a “Je suis Charlie” poster up in his office. I asked him what it stood for in his eyes. Answer – The right to say and print what you want”. my reply, but le Front National, do they not have that right? Pas de réponse, just a knowing smile.

    1. What if they had made a cake but decorated it “Reject Gay marriage”. Presumably that would have been allowable and the entrapment foiled at the cost of reimbursing the person who requested the cake! It is certainly one set of rules for PC relativists and another for Christians. And Muslims? Why does no-one ever want to offend them? I wonder….

  2. You really don’t understand this issue do you? Firstly the baking of the cake and the message on the cake are not different issues. The cake and the message on it are one and the same. I hope that, although we disagree on an awful lot of topics, my arguments are at least impersonal and lacking insult but in this issue I can’t see where you are coming from? I know you often mistake the ending of Christian privilege as an attack on Christianity but this case isn’t even about that. It is about harm.

    Lets start with the bakery. It is a commercial enterprise. It is governed by the laws of the land in terms of how it operates as a commercial enterprise. Unlike the US, here and in NI, commercial enterprises are not synonymous with the individuals who own them. Furthermore, it is a commercial enterprise that, prior to this case anyway, positioned itself as a cake baker for all those who wish to avail itself of its services. It is not a Christian bakery. It did not say Christian customers and messages only on the door (whatever those would be). Therefore, as a bakery, it has a duty to serve all its customers *equally*. That is the law. And in Northern Ireland that is actually enforced quite a bit given local history.

    The bakery as an entity has a duty to do no harm and follow equality laws. The religious beliefs of a commercial entities owners do not matter. Now, since an open, unaligned commercial bakery has no default position to agree or disagree with the message does not matter. When the owners of the business intervened in the transaction between the customer and the commercial enterprise by refusing to print a certain message they were causing the commercial enterprise to cause harm. Which is not allowed.

    Your example of the printers for the Scottish Christian Party leaflet is not the same as the cake. The harm in the bakery came from the actions of the owners. The harm in the leaflet is the leaflet itself. The leaflet demands the removal of an equal right enjoyed by some people in Scotland. Again, this is against equalities legislation. You may disagree with same sex marriage but to seek to remove an equal right is a harmful thing. It may be something that needs to be tested in law but the printers erred on the side of existing legislation (that SSM is an equal right). By the way, if the printer had said they wouldn’t print the leaflet because they were against Christianity that would have breached equalities legislation.

    Now, your example of the BNP or swastika again fails. You are correct that the BNP and swastika are allowed in the UK. However, neither are they protected by equalities legislation. It is equalities legislation (not political laws as you mention above – what are political laws by the way) that seeks to protect certain groups from harm. In fact, given the policies of the BNP and the association of the swastika to similar policies, a printer or cake maker would be within their rights to refuse the sale in the same way as the leaflet printer. Likewise the Charlie Hebdo party is not protected in legislation.

    If a Christian bakery owner feels harm by having to incorporate messages they arent happy with then there is an option for them. There is nothing stopping a Christian baker creating a Christian bakery to sell cakes with messages that they agree with to Christians and people who agree with them. And to refuse to sell non-Christian cakes as that is not what the enterprise would be for. This is the same “protection” that Kosher and Halal stores have from someone demanding that they can buy pork from them.

    Equalities legislation is designed to protect people from harm. The protection that stopped people denying services to black people or Jews has been extended. That is all. By decrying the fact that one group of people should not be protected from harm by a commercial enterprise and blaming that protection on an elite shibboleth is concerning. Who deserves protection and why? And what does that protection actually mean?

    No-one is telling Christians what to believe or how to behave. Christian denominations spend a lot of time and generate a lot of angst about that themselves. What the law is saying is that commercial enterprises cannot discriminate. If they could, if Christians could be discriminated against, would you accept it? I think not.

    1. Douglas –

      1) the cake and the message are two different things.
      2) SSM is illegal in Northern Ireland (that blows your whole case apart – they were being asked to promote something which is illegal!)
      3) Ashers do have a stated policy of not putting anything on their cakes which they would regard as blasphemous and inappropriate.

      You are an intelligent man but it is beyond belief that you think no-one is telling Christians what to believe or how to behave – that is beyond any rational discussion….

      1. 1. It really isnt different.There were not two commercial contracts with one for the cake and the other for the decorating of said cake. One commercial enterprise, one order for one product, one example of denying the product due to the beliefs of the person placing the order.
        2. I made no comment on SSM in Northern Ireland. I said all customers had to be treated equally by the commercial enterprise.
        3. In that case the policy should have been clearer at point of sale. Also, saying something is blasphemous and inappropriate lacks any context. Just as some Christians will view homosexuality and SSM as blasphemous, others do not. Where was the policy stating what type of Christians they were and what particular interpretation of Christianity they were following.

        No-one is telling Christians what to believe or how to behave and its is easy to discuss rationally. Rightly or wrongly, commercial enterprises are not people. Therefore they have to follow the laws of the land. And the laws say do not discriminate. I told you how this can be avoided. Be a Christian bakery for Christians and the promoting Christian messages.

        Or would you prefer a law change that allows people to deliver services in a way that meets their beliefs, free from equalities laws?

      2. Douglas – my position is as stated in the article. I don’t think someone should be forced to put a message on a cake etc that they find offensive. I don’t think a Catholic should be forced to put ‘the pope is the anti_Christ’. a Muslim a cartoon of Mohammed, or a homosexual ‘SSM is sinful’. Its called tolerance and common sense….but in the absolutist world of the new secular morality it appears that this is in short supply….

      3. Actually, I meant no-one in terms of equalities legislation telling Christians what to believe or how to behave.

        Obviously there is the ongoing debates between Christians telling people how to behave, Muslims doing the same, atheists etc.

  3. Great point about discrimination. I agree about the double standards. Great illustrations with the Muslim baker and a cartoon of Muhammad and the Jewish baker with a swastika.

    I might see things slightly differently and say rather that there is a double standard in British society just now, that it has always been thus. What I find difficult and challenging is when to show grace and when to assert equal rights. I guess it comes down to what rights am I willing to surrender for the sake of the gospel.

    In the meantime, what you express David reminds me of the words of Wilberforce:

    “Christianity has been successfully attacked and marginalized… because those who professed belief were unable to defend the faith from attack, even though its attackers’ arguments were deeply flawed.”
    ― William Wilberforce, Real Christianity

  4. At the risk of using subjective morals to assess this cake problem, one Philosopher said, “Give unto Caesar, that which is Caesar’s”. Which is thought to mean, “abide by the laws of the state.”

    Christians are being bigots when they deny services based on their moral leanings when it conflicts with the laws meant to reduce bigotry.

    In effect, they are not doing it for moral reasons, but for the reasons Christ would have been appalled at – to proudly announce their religious feelings in the public square, like the Pharisees, and not in private as Jesus taught.

    Bake the damn cake, and pray in private for the cake eaters. Or, what,. do you think you can do God’s work? You think Christians can do what only God can do – convert someone to God… one cake at a time?
    it’s foolishness.

    Christians, join society! Join us in a more peaceful and joyous world. We don’t need to cower in fear and live with the ancient, backwater beliefs of the ancient Palestinians.

    All we require is that you get married to some one of the same sex, or a cow or refrigerator. Is that too much to ask? Well, that and eat babies on Friday.

    1. And here is the irony Brent. SSM is illegal in Northern Ireland – do you abide by that law? Even more ironic the bakers were prosecuted for not baking a message which asked for something that is against the law!

      1. You aren’t allowed to ask for something that isn’t legal? What a repressive society! I hope abortion isn’t legal for your sake, lest you ask for laws against it and you get prosecuted!
        I hope you aren’t asking for laws to be changed! i’d hate to see you wind up in jail!

    2. Brent, You will know that the render to Caesar quote in full is “Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.”

      In context, it was with religious hypocrites asking Jesus if the should pay taxes to Caesar to try and trip him up. Knowing that Jesus was surrounded by people who were occupied and under forced dominion of Rome, if Jesus were to say yes to them, they knew that his popularity would wane among the people. Jesus is wise to this and not only does give instruction to pay taxes but also for those religious hypocrites to cease in their hypocrisy, to their amazement. So – it was instructions to the religious.

      Jesus did the very thing that you talk of with being in society. However how did society respond? By crucifying him, not very peaceful and joyous at all is it? The truth is that the world isn’t and if you were to press for evidence of such then it would be a simple matter of pointing to any news article that shows humankind’s inhumanity. If this is to change, it’s not going to be humanity that does it alone.

      So while you rightly highlight that there are Christians who can be bigots you omit to mention the same is true for the rest of humanity. You talk of laws “meant to reduce bigotry”. The Equality Act of 2010 is perhaps what you are alluding to. So, therefore within the act protected charateristics being among other things religion, sexual orientation and disability. So in principle it least it protects against bigotary in whatever for it takes.

      Sir, are you as willing to take a stand for religious freedom as freedom from religion in the interest of reducing bigotry and making the world more joyous and peaceful, or is your preference to do as society did to Jesus – kill him off as someone rumoured to be a troublemaker with a murdered spared instead of him?

  5. Also, lost on the author is that “The State” is made up of people and reflects the beliefs of the people. Not all people, but the majority with some understanding of the rights of minorities. No one is taking away the rights to be of a religious group. Thoughts/beliefs are different from actions.
    What is also interesting is the problem Britain, et al, is having with Muslim immigrants. I imagine India, Australia, South America, North america and every other colony of GB felt the same way as Christians killed and forces their their religion on the people of those countries.
    Secularists are offering an alternative to this ugliness: NO laws based on religious reasons. NO laws based on supernatural/magical beliefs.
    But, no, the Supernatural Believers MUST have their way. They MUST demand that society abides by the laws of their gods, demi-gods, spirits, and whatever craziness they believe in….

  6. What are your opinions on this: Over the years there has been a large inequality supporting Christians and discriminating the LGBT community. For this to be addressed the LGBT community has to be overcompensated so the pendulum will eventually equal out. This is the same as female equality, for women to achieve full equality the pendulum has to overcompensate so it will eventually result in equality.

    1. Bob – I think it is a dreadful ‘eye for eye’ idea. This has nothing to do with equality and everything to do with imposing a new morality on the whole populace.

  7. Whilst the examples you have used are given with the intention of coming across as extreme, these examples all describe discrimination in a business environment. The aim of these businesses is to make a monetary profit, not a religious profit. Could it not be argued that by refusing to print these orders, that each of the businesses are limiting free speech. Yes, there are double standards in our society today, but we should be using this case to fight them in all regards, not in using them as evidence in support of discrimination. I have seen people laying blame on the customer for having the audacity to go into a bakery, ‘apparently’ known to be of Christian ownership, and dare to make an order that was in contention with their beliefs. We cannot have a society in which we pick and choose which businesses to support based on religion and religious views. A fair society which allows room for everyone’s right to live without fear of condemnation is what we should all be promoting, not a return to a segregated society. Galations 3:28 There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male or female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. If God does not divide us into groups, but sees us as one, then why are we unable to do the same?

    1. Why can’t we have a society in which we pick and choose which businesses to support based on religion and religious views? I would not support a business which used its money to fund Isis? Or the Moonies? Would you?

      Your quote of Galatians 3:28 is a misquote. It is IN CHRIST that their is no slave, nor free, male nor female etc. Not out of Christ. Ironically the text you quote says the very opposite of what you declare – God does divide us into groups – in Christ or out.

      1. David, do yo think people should be able to deny services to Christians? To Blacks? Women? Where does it stop, David?

        Your religion IS divisive, that is true. That’s not a good thing. Islam is divisive, too. Should Muslims deny services to Christians? A Muslim refuse to help a Christian? Why do you want this kind of world?

        Because you chose a religion, when you were 12, that happens to hold gay people in low esteem. That’s it. That’s ridiculous.

        Join the 21st Century. You’re not in Ancient Judea anymore. Moses has no sway over you.

        You don’t need to be so afraid of him that you hate people who didn’t convert when they were children.

  8. from my blog:

    Free Church of Scotland Moderator, David Robertson, has written a piece concerning the now infamous Ashers Bakery “gay cake” case.

    You can read the Ashers judgment here:

    You can find Robertson’s article here:

    Upon reading this, I tweeted in frustration:

    “Yet another commentator who hasn’t bothered to read the judgment….”

    To which Robertson replied:

    “yet another tweeter who presumes ignorance. Feel free to answer the points made in the article. If you can.”

    Challenged extended!

    Challenge accepted!

    Robertson’s central point is that the ruling of the judge is an example of double standards being imposed. But before we get to that Robertson makes a few comments:

    He states: “Ashers did not refuse a gay person a cake. They refused to bake a cake with a message supporting gay marriage. And that changes everything.” This is flat-out false; it doesn’t change anything, not under the law. Ashers offered a service whereby a customer could design their own cake and Ashers would bake it and print the design. In this case the customer – a gay man – chose a slogan – “support gay marriage” – which is defined as “political opinion” under the law, and Ashers, after first accepting the order, refused to follow through. In other words, they discriminated on the grounds of sexual orientation and political opinion – both protected categories in Northern Irish law, made abundantly clear in the judgment Robertson claims to have read. Moreover, Robertson ignores the fact that in law Ashers is a commercial business which exists for profit. Commercial enterprises are not legally identical with their owners. Ashers therefore doesn’t have a religious conscious which is protected by the European Convention on Humans Rights, and it isn’t a religious organisation which can appeal to certain legal exemptions. Again, the judgment makes this abundantly clear.

    Next, Robertson asks:

    “Does this ruling now mean that a Jewish baker should be forced to bake a cake with a Swastika on it for the BNP (neither the sign nor the party are illegal in the UK)?”

    If Robertson is speaking of the wider UK, then the answer is: no, because political opinion is not explicitly a protected category in England, Scotland or Wales. In any event, a Jewish baker could quite easily adopt a policy – which Ashers didn’t do – of rejecting all political or religious slogans, which is entirely legitimate under Northern Irish law.

    Robertson’s other example also betrays a misunderstanding:

    “Would the equalities commission sue a Muslim baker who refused to bake a cake with a cartoon of Mohammed on it, for a Charlie Hebdo party?”

    Firstly, Robertson incorrectly identifies the Equality Commission as the plaintiff in such cases. In the Ashers case it was not the Commission who sued – it was the customer, which again should be abundantly clear from the judgment. In any event, since a picture of Muhammad would not represent anyone’s genuinely held religious belief, political beliefs, or identity, it would be difficult to make a case for discrimination here. And, of course, a Muslim-owned bakery is perfectly entitled to refuse all religious slogans (and probably would).

    Robertson’s misunderstandings continue to pour forth, as he claims that “it is ridiculous for a Christian who thinks that Same-Sex Marriage is against the Word of God to be compelled to bake a cake with a message supporting it.”

    Again, this isn’t true. Remember, the issue is not with a private individual but with a commercial entity. Anyhow, Ashers cannot be compelled to bake a cake with a message supporting same-sex marriage. It has been announced today that Ashers are now only printing birthday and Christening cakes – and no one can compel them to put “support same sex marriage” on a cake. Why? Because they no longer put any such slogans on their cakes. However, the problem before was that they did offer a service, which they then denied to a gay man on considerations pertaining to sexual orientation and political opinion.

    Robertson then points out that in his view there was no discrimination in this case because “a heterosexual asking for such a cake would also have been turned down.” However, the judgment makes it explicit that this is not relevant. After citing a number of case law authorities the judge said: “it is my view that….the correct comparator is a heterosexual person placing an order for a cake with the graphics either “Support Marriage” or “Support Heterosexual Marriage.”” The judge deemed it clear that Ashers would have made such a cake for a heterosexual, and thus were making decisions based on sexual orientation in refusing Mr Lee (a homosexual) his cake with the slogan “Support Same Sex Marriage.”

    Now beginning to lose the run of himself, Robertson claims that the real discrimination in this case is against “the Christian baker who is being told he will have to close down if he is not prepared to provide cakes with messages that contradict his beliefs.” Again, this is simply flat-out factually incorrect. The baker was not told to bake cakes with slogans contradicting his beliefs or close down. Remember, the entity in question is a commercial “for profit” business – which in law does not have religious beliefs that can be protected under the European Convention of Human Rights (as the judgment – which Robertson has read – makes abundantly clear). In any event, as I’ve already explained, Ashers will continue to bake and sell cakes and will not have to print any slogans with which they disagree.

    Anyhow, to the crux of Robertson’s point: “There is a double standard in British society.”

    To demonstrate this double standard Robertson mentions the example of The Scottish Christian Party (SCP), who during the general election had their election leaflet rejected by a printer because the printer, says Robertson “did not agree with the messages on it,” and that “The messages were not illegal but nonetheless they refused. Could they not be sued for the same reason?” Robertson laments that “The fact is that there is a double standard in British society just now. The law is being interpreted and enforced in one way for those who represent the cause celebres of our culture, and yet used in a completely different way for those who don’t agree with the shibboleths of our elites.”

    Now this baffles me entirely. Robertson is comparing apples with oranges. There are several significant disanalogies between the two cases. Firstly, the Ashers case involved a private individual with rights under the European Convention. The SCP is a political party which, like a commercial business, enjoys no such protection. Secondly, the two cases emerge in different legal jurisdictions! It’s astounding that Robertson hasn’t noticed this fairly obvious fact. Ashers were brought to court under the following pieces of legislation:

    The Fair Employment & Treatment Order (Northern Ireland) 1998, and the Equality Act (Sexual Orientation) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2006.

    Both pieces of legislation are mentioned in paragraph 1 of the Ashers judgment (maybe Robertson skipped paragraph 1?). Notice that both are uniquely applicable to Northern Ireland. They do not apply to Scotland. This clearly isn’t an instance of the law being interpreted and enforced differently in one case than another. It’s a case of different law applying in different legal jurisdictions! Perhaps Robertson misunderstands the nature of the United Kingdom. Our country is the United Kingdom of Great Britain (England, Scotland & Wales) and Northern Ireland. There is some legislation that applies to all jurisdictions, some applies fully to some jurisdictions and only partly to others, and some that is only applicable to one jurisdiction (which happens increasingly these days since Northern Ireland, Scotland, and Wales have their own regional assemblies with certain legislative powers). So, the legislation in the Ashers case simply doesn’t apply to Scotland. Scotland has its own equality laws. Note further that in the case of the SCP no case was brought before the courts, so unlike the Ashers case there was no legal interpretation or enforcement taking place at all. So, why didn’t the SCP case go to court? Simple: under Scottish law, political opinion is NOT explicitly protected as it is in Northern Irish law. The reason for political opinion being protected in Northern Ireland traces back to our political tensions and the grief that has come from political disputes here. Clearly Robertson has made a blunder. The law simply isn’t “being interpreted and enforced” differently in different cases, and certainly not to suit some grand anti-Christian or politically correct conspiracy. The laws in each jurisdiction are simply different, and thus cases that occur in Northern Ireland will be treated differently.

    [It’s worth noting in passing that the Scottish Christian Party member in question – John Cormack – gives a slightly different reason for the rejection than Robertson gives. Cormack says, “The printer I had lined up refused to print the leaflets for me because they have a policy of not printing material that might offend people.” He claimed further the printer was afraid to print the leaflets – not that they refused do so for the reason Robertson claims “[they] did not agree with the messages on it.” Given that the Scottish Christian Party is borderline homophobic – it’s election material spoke of REAL marriage – capitals in the original – as opposed to, presumably, “fake” (though legal in Scotland) same-sex marriages – it is entirely legitimate for a printer to err on the side of caution and not print material which is potentially inflammatory or homophobic. Anyhow, I digress….]

    I agree with Robertson in his desire that our Christian freedoms not be eroded, but what he splendidly overlooks is that he lacks no right or freedom whatsoever that a non-Christian enjoys. The law applies equally to Christian and non-Christian alike. And this was upheld by the Ashers judgment.

    Stephen J. Graham


    On Robertson’s own blogsite he reproduces this article but includes two notes:

    “1). The man who brought the law suit is a member of a homosexual group called queer space who just happens to visit a bakery which was well known for its Christian owners, miles from his hometown. All entirely coincidental!”

    Again, Robertson is showing his ignorance of the case. Gareth Lee had previously been a customer of Ashers, because it was near the office where he worked. Coincidence? No. Conspiracy theory? Maybe….

    “2) SSM is illegal in Northern Ireland. The judge is supposed to uphold the law yet he finds that a bakery which refused to put a message of support for something that is illegal, are the ones breaking the law! The law is sometimes an ass!”

    Another misstatement. SSM is not “illegal,” it’s simply that there is no legal provision for it. Murder is illegal. Theft is illegal. SSM is not illegal. Moreover, the judge was not a “he” – the judge was Isobel Brownlie – a she.

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