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Posted: 06 February 2007 06:22 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 16 ]
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[quote author=“BlueBugofJustice”]
Talking about the limits of censorship… should something I say, not do, ever be labeled a crime ??? ( with the obvious exception of yelling Fire ) Who are the writers of these hate crime laws ? Do we vote them in ? Are they a lobby ? Very scary.

Yes, I can think of several things you could say and not do that should be labled a crime.  And are you saying you are opposed to hate crime laws?

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If ye love wealth greater than liberty, the tranquility of servitude greater than the animating contest for freedom, go home from us in peace. We seek not your counsel, nor your arms. Crouch down and lick the hand that feeds you. May your chains set lightly upon you; and may posterity forget that ye were our countrymen. – Samuel Adams

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Posted: 06 February 2007 07:44 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 17 ]
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I certainly am opposed to Hate Crimes.  If someone beats you to a pulp I don’t believe it should matter what color, race, creed or sexual orientation you are.  It’s WRONG, it’s a crime and it shouldn’t be worse to beat up a gay guy than it is a straight guy or vice versa.  Why do we assign a greater degree of punishment to hurting one group of people over another?  Does that not imply we as a society are now assigning greater value to some people than others?

In terms of things you can SAY that’s a pretty small list in my mind.

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No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.
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Posted: 06 February 2007 08:45 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 18 ]
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Off the top of my head here are several things that would and should be a crime to say

Telling a depressed person to jump off of the ledge of a building

Inciting people to riot

Telling someone how to gather the components and how to construct an incendiary device that is used the next day to burn down a $50,000,000 condo complex in La Jolla

Convincing someone who is weak minded to strap on explosives and blow themselves up in a cafe


As far as hate crime laws go the difference is not just in the victim and number of victims impacted it is in the intent of the perpetrator.  As someone who investigated hate crimes for three years and was a member of the District Attorney’s Hate Crime Investigations team I can speak with some certainty that there is a HUGE difference between someone spray painting graffiti on the side of someone’s house and a skin head painting a swastika on the side of a Jewish family’s home.  While both might cost the same amount to paint over the fear instilled on the two families is vastly different.

When someone burns a cross on the lawn of an African-American family or a group of cowards beats up a Hispanic person for no other reason then the color of their skin it effects not only that individual victim but instills fear in a whole community.  The victimoligy effect is multiplied in that the reason for the attack is something they can not change ie the color of their skin.  And that is exactly the criminals intent while they might get some satisfaction in beating the original victim their goal is to instill fear and cause panic in the whole community.

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If ye love wealth greater than liberty, the tranquility of servitude greater than the animating contest for freedom, go home from us in peace. We seek not your counsel, nor your arms. Crouch down and lick the hand that feeds you. May your chains set lightly upon you; and may posterity forget that ye were our countrymen. – Samuel Adams

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Posted: 06 February 2007 08:47 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 19 ]
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[quote author=“BlueBugofJustice”]Exactly. A good topic.
...and a writers job, as sometimes is a political commentator’s, is to be colorful and often a bit over the top.

Well this is just my point.  I do not think it is necessarily a writers job to be over the top unless they are writing fiction.  A good writer should not have to result to theatrics to get their point across.  An otherwise good point such as, political correctness has gone to far and people should not be so sensitive,  that is somewhat addressed by this author should be for everyone but because of this writers tactics it will almost immediately be dismissed by a third of the population.  But having read other things by this author I do not believe educating the public to this was the goal, I believe the goal was to bash “liberals” and rally people on the author’s side against people on the other side.

And like GD before I get labeled by others (although I suspect it might be to late), let me label myself.  I do not consider myself a liberal. I also believe the government should stay the hell out of people’s bedrooms/personal lives.  I am an advocate for strong criminal sentencing including the death penalty.  I am against most government entitlements and feel we need to do more to secure our borders.  I also strongly support our troops and the important and difficult job they are doing to protect our country.—now label away

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If ye love wealth greater than liberty, the tranquility of servitude greater than the animating contest for freedom, go home from us in peace. We seek not your counsel, nor your arms. Crouch down and lick the hand that feeds you. May your chains set lightly upon you; and may posterity forget that ye were our countrymen. – Samuel Adams

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Posted: 06 February 2007 09:17 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 20 ]
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Very interesting DH.  I never thought about the fear aspect.  I have to go ponder this further…..

I understand the argument behind how the two crimes are different but in execution I see “hate crimes” legislation as having the same effect. The example GI brings up is a good one.  Now we have Pastors who are afraid to say “The bible says _________ is right/wrong” because they could get charged with a hate crime.  I see this as fear being instilled in Pastors and or those in ministry to prevent them from speaking their convictions.  (The point of the original article.)

I am also not too comfortable with writing laws which punish people for what they think rather than what they do.

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No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.
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Posted: 06 February 2007 09:34 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 21 ]
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DH
Good examples of things that you say having severe impact on someone else or society…but where do we draw the line and who draws it ? I am insulted by “Kill the infidel”  I believe that would qualify as a hate crime, if
we are applying equal measures. Certainly “Kill the Jew” would be considered hate crime language. It is just that equal, should be.
It does scare the heck out of me that we are considering making a lot more of our language to be illegal- political censorship is sure to follow.


I do agree with some Hate crime laws, but not with others.
BTW I think telling a depressed person to jump off a bridge would be MEAN, but should not necessarily be illegal. ( on the subject of labels, I am much more of a Libertarian than anything else)

I agree with Heather, that we cannot aspire to equal protection and espouse special protection at the same time. If the impact on one person is more severe, for whatever reason, should that affect punishment of the criminal…do we apply punishment for other crimes in this way ? The detail of how that system would have to be worked out is almost mind blowing.
Then again, we probably already do it.

DH
I have no question about your intent, knowledge integrity and committment and I hope that you enjoy lively debate. 
I believe it makes us all think,.

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Posted: 06 February 2007 10:19 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 22 ]
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[quote author=“Heather”]I understand the argument behind how the two crimes are different but in execution I see “hate crimes” legislation as having the same effect. The example GI brings up is a good one.  Now we have Pastors who are afraid to say “The bible says _________ is right/wrong” because they could get charged with a hate crime.  I see this as fear being instilled in Pastors and or those in ministry to prevent them from speaking their convictions.  (The point of the original article.)

I am also not too comfortable with writing laws which punish people for what they think rather than what they do.

I think their might be a misunderstanding in hate crime laws. 

In Heathers example with the Pastor he has the absolute right to say “The bible says ______ is right/wrong” in fact this is protected free speech .  For example if a gay person were to beat up the pastor solely because the pastor’s faith said homosexuality is wrong the gay person would be guilty of a hate crime.  Free speech is protected by the law which is why the KKK can have a parade.  I also know of no law written or proposed that would punish people for what they think.

[quote author=“BlueBugofJustice”]DH
Good examples of things that you say having severe impact on someone else or society…but where do we draw the line and who draws it ? I am insulted by “Kill the infidel”  I believe that would qualify as a hate crime, if
we are applying equal measures. Certainly “Kill the Jew” would be considered hate crime language. It is just that equal, should be.
It does scare the heck out of me that we are considering making a lot more of our language to be illegal- political censorship is sure to follow.

I agree with Heather, that we cannot aspire to equal protection and espouse special protection at the same time. If the impact on one person is more severe, for whatever reason, should that affect punishment of the criminal…do we apply punishment for other crimes in this way ? The detail of how that system would have to be worked out is almost mind blowing.
Then again, we probably already do it.

What is important to remember is the law does not offer special protection to certain groups it provides it to all groups.  If a gay person beats up a straight person solely because of that person’s sexuality the gay person would be guilty of a hate crime. Recently A group of black kids up north were convicted of a hate crime for beating up three white women solely because of their race.

And yes with many other crimes the impact on the person affects the application of the punishment.

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If ye love wealth greater than liberty, the tranquility of servitude greater than the animating contest for freedom, go home from us in peace. We seek not your counsel, nor your arms. Crouch down and lick the hand that feeds you. May your chains set lightly upon you; and may posterity forget that ye were our countrymen. – Samuel Adams

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Posted: 06 February 2007 10:50 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 23 ]
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There have been proposals and attempts to put into law hate crime status for people who speak out against certain behaviors. I have signed more than one petition and made more than one phone call asking my reps and senators not to sign legislation that would make a pastor’s words from the pulpit a hate crime. I would consider that being punished for what one thinks. And though these discussions and attempts to write into law such ideals have gone undetected by many (they are well-veiled), for my family it is a very real and frightening possibility that one of ours will go to jail for what he thinks. And so now we live in fear. Perhaps the confusion comes in the fact that these bills paint broad strokes that limit free speech for many in an attempt to offer special protection to the few, pastors just happen to fall squarely in that verbiage…once again solidifying my belief that legislating political correctness is dangerous and completely wrong. And once again, this is just a specific, personal example of how this type of thing can go awry. There are other examples.

Heather, The truth is, I don’t think most pastors are afraid to speak the truth. That is why they are coming under attack and potentially in danger.

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Posted: 06 February 2007 11:04 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 24 ]
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DH, I would like to echo BBOJ’s assertion about your integrity. I don’t know you extremely well, but I do know you enough to say I am quite comfortable with your personal character. I am glad to have someone like you protecting us.

I am of the opinion that a group of people become stronger and can only enact positive change when they are unafraid to discuss their differences rather than spend all their time nodding in agreement. To that end, I enjoy a good debate. Besides, it keeps the brain cells firing.

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Posted: 06 February 2007 12:12 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 25 ]
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GI

While I am not aware of the specific bills you are referring to I do not doubt that such things do happen.  Bills come from the fringe on all sides that are not initially well thought out,  but thankfully people like you hear about them and take the effort to notify your representatives.  I also still have a strong faith in the constitution which guarantees the protection of religion and speech and feel that any such law would ultimately be struck down by the courts.  While some people have taken their shots at the constitution and its protections it has withstood all these years.

BBOJ and GI

I have taken no offence (are you guys calling me over sensitive raspberry ).  I to enjoy good debate and feel we can learn and grow through it.

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If ye love wealth greater than liberty, the tranquility of servitude greater than the animating contest for freedom, go home from us in peace. We seek not your counsel, nor your arms. Crouch down and lick the hand that feeds you. May your chains set lightly upon you; and may posterity forget that ye were our countrymen. – Samuel Adams

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Posted: 06 February 2007 12:37 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 26 ]
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Okay,

I read this a few days ago and must admit I agreed with DH.  Not necessarily for any political view, but rather how the author lost me as an interested reader when he began to bash the left/middle/little right.

I did enjoy the discussion, but thought about these quotes from GD.  (Sorry, I could not get them to post as quotes like everybody else did.  I did it the old fasion way C & P.)


I believe that the comments people make reveal something about how they really feel. In the cases of Coulter and Kerry, I think the comments give a glimpse into the inner landscape that makes up who they are. To me Coulter is a non issue. She is a political commentator. Kerry, could have been president, and that is a concern.


The topic really is censorship of debate. I believe debate and discussion, exchange of ideas is a lost art in america. There was a time when politicians were our leaders. I believe they still are. But now they teach people to make a statement, and then hide from debate. They are too cowardly to back up what they believe…. or they are unable to.

I believe the media and our desire for expedious information has caused a large part of the censorship of debate.  In today’s sound bite driven world I think many politicians have become afraid to expound anything beyond a sound bite comment.  The debate format is lenthy and can often be misunderstood (case and point of DH, GI and BBOJ).  This was in a simple forum.  Now magnify the situation to a nation stage.

Given this I wonder how much I would be willing to say…

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Posted: 06 February 2007 06:51 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 27 ]
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DH, Naw, it’s not you. Another recent thread has made me a little paranoid about the reaction of others to my written words. I’m just throwing it out there since I care what you think.

Isn’t it about respect? If I say I disagree with someone, even strongly, that does not imply hatred. When we disagree, we have several civilized options. We can try to persuade one another, we can agree to disagree, or we can decide to part ways. I once knew a guy who had a noose tattoed around his neck and a swastika on his back. I let him know how offensive his choice of artwork was, in fact it made me downright mad. But I was never going to convince him that his beliefs were wrong. So I chose to excuse him from my life. I am not naive. I realize not everyone takes the civilized route. But we can’t have it both ways. Either we all have free speech, or no one does.

One of the things I liked about the article was its depiction of how subtle and gradual the giving up of rights can be. Someone in power has an agenda and misuses their power to impose it on others. There are some things the government should just stay out of. Legislating ideology inevitably tramples on the rights of someone.

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Posted: 07 February 2007 01:48 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 28 ]
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This article seems to fit this thread:

WALL STREET JOURNAL
February 7, 2007

LEISURE & ARTS
In Defense of ‘24’
An Arab-American defends the real-life Bauers.

BY EMILIO KARIM DABUL

I am an Arab-American as well as a fan of “24.” The two things are not mutually exclusive, despite what the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) and other such groups have to say about this season’s opening episodes possibly increasing anti-Muslim and anti-Arab prejudice in American society.

Most of the terrorists represented in “24” through the years have been Arab Muslims. Why? Well, probably because most terrorists today are, in fact, Arab Muslims. As a descendant of Syrian Muslims, I am very well aware that the majority of Muslims world-wide are peaceful, hard working, and law abiding. That still does not change the fact that the greatest terrorist threat to the U.S. today comes not from the ETA, the IRA, etc., but from one group: Islamic terrorists.

And this is what makes “24” a compelling drama every week. Instead of pretending Islamic terrorists don’t exist, the show presents frighteningly real worst-case scenarios perpetrated by Osama bin Laden’s followers. So CAIR thinks it’s over the top for the terrorists in “24” to blow up Los Angeles with a nuke? Please, if bin Laden and his crew had nukes, most of us would be way too dead to argue over such points.

There is a dangerous trend in the U.S. today that involves skirting the truth at the risk of offending any individual or group. When Bill Cosby talks to African-Americans about self-respect and responsibility, and says publicly what many have been saying privately for years, he’s branded a “reactionary,” “misinformed,” “judgmental,” and so on. When “24” confronts America’s worst fears about al Qaeda—whose goal remains to kill as many Americans as possible whenever possible—the show is said to be guilty of fueling anti-Muslim and anti-Arab prejudice.

Well, here’s the hard, cold truth: When Islamic terrorists stop being a threat to America’s survival, viewers will lose interest in “24,” because it will have lost its relevancy. Until such time, I will continue to watch “24”—because, believe it or not, the idea that there are Jack Bauers out there in real life risking their lives to save ours does mean something to me.

And as for “24” causing a possible backlash against Muslims and Arab-Americans, where’s the evidence of that? The show is now in its sixth season and there hasn’t been one recorded incident of any viewer ever slurring or attacking any Muslim or Arab-American because of something that happened on the show. More to the point, in the latest episode President Palmer stated, “The American Muslim community is the greatest line of defense against these terrorists.” He advocates strengthening ties with Islamic leaders across the U.S., and is opposed to measures that would in any way infringe upon the constitutional rights of Arab Americans.

That said, I would certainly welcome more characters in movies, TV programs and novels who reflect the overall Arab-American experience. Truth is, most of us don’t have bomb-making skills or a desire to become human missiles. And there are Muslim and Arab-American CTU heroes out there, as well as doctors, superdads, women scientists, etc. But just as it took Saul Bellow to give literary voice to the Jewish-American experience, we need our own storytellers to weave the pastiche of tales that make up Arab-American life.

In the meantime, the next time a journalist decides to report on Arab-American concerns about shows like “24,” maybe he could actually talk to someone other than CAIR and the Muslim Public Affairs Council, and seek out Arab-Americans with a different point of view. We actually do exist.

And maybe that same reporter could take a closer look at CAIR. Ask CAIR about the Holy Land Foundation and its support of Hamas. Ask it about the 1993 World Trade Center bombing and the CAIR board member who was named as an unindicted co-conspirator in that case—yet still sits on CAIR’s board. Look a little closer, and maybe you’ll find that CAIR has good reason to get nervous about shows like “24.”

Because terrorists and their supporters continue to hide among us in plain sight, we need Jack Bauer, now more than ever.

Mr. Dabul is a free-lance writer and the author of “Deadline,” a novel about modern terrorism.

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Posted: 07 February 2007 02:07 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 29 ]
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Now that I’ve thrown another essay into the pot, I wanted to add my two cents to the thread.

My problem with “hate crime” legislation is that it’s almost always devolves into “thought crime.” If Judeo-Christian ethics and the Constitution as understood by the Founders were the only yardsticks by which we judged motive in hate crime prosecutions, they’d make more sense—like the “special circumstance” clause that turns a murder into a death penalty case if it’s especially heinous.

But there are always people pushing the boundaries of “hate” because they want them to include even criticism. You and I know the difference between disagreement and hate. Lawyers do, too.  But look at what some universities call “hate speech” if you think I’m exaggerating the way the goal posts get moved (that’s part of the reason G_I worrries about her dad, I suspect).

DH, the example of those Bay Area youth who were recently convicted of a hate crime for beating up a woman solely because she was white—I’m glad they were convicted, but in my world it would have been for assault and battery, or possibly attempted murder. Hate’s kind of irrelevant, except perhaps as a signal to the larger community. Had they been in a cult where they thought they could beat people into enlightenment, they could have said they were doing her a favor, but her injuries would have been no less grievious. I’d rather the legal system rulings stuck to actions, rather than motives, though lawyers of course must address questions of means, motive, and opportunity.

Love the Garddawg line about keeping the government the hell out of my bedroom and my wallet. My sympathies on that, for sure. The only problem with that is that because it’s a slogan, it won’t stand up to analysis. On strict reading of something like that, you’d think the government should ignore a murder if it was committed in a bedroom, and of course that’s not the case.

But limited government is a whole lot better than limitless government. Come to think of it, I don’t like that the government tells me how many gallons-per-minute my showerhead can output.

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Posted: 07 February 2007 02:47 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 30 ]
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[quote author=“Dirty Harry”]I think their might be a misunderstanding in hate crime laws. 

In Heathers example with the Pastor he has the absolute right to say “The bible says ______ is right/wrong” in fact this is protected free speech .  For example if a gay person were to beat up the pastor solely because the pastor’s faith said homosexuality is wrong the gay person would be guilty of a hate crime.  Free speech is protected by the law which is why the KKK can have a parade.  I also know of no law written or proposed that would punish people for what they think.

Here is where I disagree.  While I think the effort to prevent groups of people from being harassed or spreading fear is a noble one I still see a flaw in the execution of it.  I agree with Patrick that it disinigrates into a way for people in power to shut others up they don’t agree with.  Here is an example:

When grandmas go to jail for witnessing

————————————————————————————————————————
Posted: February 7, 2007
1:00 a.m. Eastern


By Janet Folger


Arrested for sharing the Gospel? An expected outcome in North Korea, China or any Muslim country on the globe. But in Pennsylvania? Yep. Arlene Elshinnawy, a 75-year-old grandmother of three, and Lynda Beckman, a 70-year-old grandmother of 10 (along with nine others), were arrested for sharing their faith on the public sidewalk in Philadelphia, Pa., USA. They faced 47 years (the rest of their lives) in jail for spreading the Gospel because of a Pennsylvania “hate crimes” law that is nearly identical to H.R. 254 – the “hate crimes” bill reintroduced in Congress and said to be on the “fast track” in the House Judiciary Committee. This is the same bill that previously passed both the House and Senate and was killed only because of Republican leadership opposition in conference – something we no longer have.

Don’t believe hate crimes will silence your freedom of speech and freedom of religion? Think again.

Pastors in Pennsylvania are now seeking liability insurance to protect themselves from being prosecuted under the “hate speech” law. That’s right. They are reacting to Pennsylvania’s addition of “sexual orientation” to the state’s hate crimes laws. Of particular concern was the expansion of the definition of “harassment” to include “harassment by communication” – which means one could be convicted based upon spoken words alone.

Also paraphrased in my words from her article:

In Sweden they actually prosecuted and found guilty a pastor named Ake Green for violating “hate crimes” laws because he preached a sermon on Romans chapter 1.  The Swedish supreme court eventually aquitted him, but imagine the anguish and expense his family had to go through first.  (It took about 2-3 years.)

In Canada there is a pastor named Mark Harding who was convicted of “willfully promoted hatred” in violation of Canadian law that had just passed six months earlier. He was then forced to undergo two years probation and 340 hours of “community service” at the Islamic Society of North America in Mississauga, Ontario.  His crime was protesting the actions of a local high school which began handing out copies of the Quran and set aside a special room for Muslim students to pray. 

I find each of these scenarios to be TERRIFYING.  It is punishing people not for something they DID but for what they BELIEVE or SAY.

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No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.
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