Rev. Luis Leon gives benediction at Obama inauguration: ‘

JEWEL SAMAD AFP/GETTY IMAGES President Barack Obama, First Lady Michelle Obama (C) and family members listen to Reverend Dr. Luis … Continued

JEWEL SAMAD

AFP/GETTY IMAGES

President Barack Obama, First Lady Michelle Obama (C) and family members listen to Reverend Dr. Luis Leon during the 57th Presidential Inauguration ceremonial swearing-in at the US Capitol on January 21, 2013 in Washington, D.C.

The Rev. Luis Leon gave the benediction at President Obama’s inauguration Monday, praying that “with your blessing, we can see each other created in your image, a unit of God’s grace, unprecedented, irrepeatable (sic) and irreplaceable.”

Leon also included a reference to ‘gay or straight’ Americans as created in God’s image, contrasting with the controversial words on homosexuality spoken by Louie Giglio, who was first chosen to give the benediction but withdrew after scrutiny over his attitude about gay rights.

Leon is an Episcopal priest and rector at St. John’s Church, a historic congregation located across the street from the White House.

Below is the full text of Leon’s benediction:

Let us pray:

Gracious and eternal God, as we conclude the second inauguration of President Obama, we ask for your blessings as we seek to become, in the words of Martin Luther King, citizens of a beloved community, loving you and loving our neighbors as ourselves.

We pray that you will bless us with your continued presence because without it, hatred and arrogance will infect our hearts. But with your blessing we know that we can break down the walls that separate us. We pray for your blessing today because without it, distrust, prejudice and rancor will rule our hearts. But with the blessing of your presence, we know that we can renew the ties of mutual regard which can best form our civic life.

We pray for your blessing because without it suspicion, despair, and fear of those different from us will be our rule of life. But with your blessing, we can see each other created in your image, a unit of God’s grace, unprecedented, irrepeatable (sic) and irreplaceable.

We pray for your blessing because without it, we will see only what the eye can see. But with the blessing of your blessing we will see that we are created in your image, whether brown, black or white, male or female, first generation or immigrant American, or daughter of the American Revolution, gay or straight, rich or poor.

We pray for your blessing because without it, we will only see scarcity in the midst of abundance. But with your blessing we will recognize the abundance of the gifts of this good land with which you have endowed this nation.

We pray for your blessing. Bless all of us, privileged to be citizens and residents of this nation, with a spirit of gratitude and humility that we may become a blessing among the nations of this world. We pray that you will shower with your life-giving spirit, the elected leaders of this land, especially Barack our president and Joe our vice president. Fill them with a love of truth and righteousness, that they may serve this nation ably and be glad to do your will. Endow their hearts with wisdom and forbearance, so that peace may prevail with righteousness, justice with order, so that men and women throughout this nation can find with one another the fulfillment of our humanity.

We pray that the president, vice president and all in political authority will remember the words of the prophet Micah, “What does the Lord require of you but to do justice, to love kindness and always walk humbly with God?”

[Gives a brief prayer in Spanish]

Mr. President, Mr. Vice President, may God bless you all your days. All this we pray, in your most holy name, amen.

About

Elizabeth Tenety Elizabeth Tenety is the former editor of On Faith, where she produced "Divine Impulses," On Faith’s video interview series. She studied Theology and Government at Georgetown University and received her master’s degree from Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism. A New York native, Elizabeth grew up in the home of Catholic news junkies where, somewhere in between watching the nightly news and participating in parish life, she learned to ponder both the superficial and the sacred.
  • FrenchChef

    It’s just hilarious that today of all days, some anti-gay would claim he’s on a par with “the gods”:

    “What we and the gods really see”

  • FrenchChef

    Despite their efforts going back to Anita Bryant to keep LGBT Americans second-class citizens and at the far fringes of society, their misdeeds have placed anti-gays themselves at the fringe of society and unwelcome in America’s public life, such as today’s Inauguration, while a gay poet spoke at that same Inauguration. Anti-gays have not been denied any rights, despite their specious claims that we are “discriminating” against them when we prevent their attempts to subvert the United States Constitution’s guarantee of Equal Protection. Most Americans just laugh at anti-gays when they whine that their intended victims, LGBT Americans, are “the real bigots” or “the real haters.”

    Let the anti-gay below sputter his impotent rage from behind his veil of anonymity at the far fringe of American society, this rage is nothing more than admission that his anti-gay agenda has been utterly defeated.

  • alltheroadrunnin

    Why do these good reverends always leave out, “…the drunk or sober…,” in their blessings?

  • IntellectOne

    God will not condone abortion ( the killing of the helpless innocent of His creation) nor will He condone the ‘Redefinition’ of Marriage.

  • FrenchChef

    Sorry, One, but your nasty plaster deity has nothing to do with our laws.

  • Secular1

    Didn’t your god kill off all the Egyptian first born, just for the heck of it? So, on what basis do you say, your god will be pissed? Also did he not take Jephthah’s daughter as a sacrifice? So, on what basis do you claim, your god will be Tee’d of about it? Didn’t your god kill of everyone in Sodom & Gomorrah, including children? So, how can you be so certain that he will be miffed? Is this enough or you want me to go on, and on?

  • Catken1

    Then let your God deal with it, and if you’re uncomfortable living in a nation with freedom of religion, where you have to let others break your religious taboos, then go found a theocracy.

  • alltheroadrunnin

    Secular1 – Since you are a master at reading mythologies, would you mind relating your “feelings” about the rest of humanity’s mythologies? I’d like to hear your take on the Cherokee’s perhaps the Incan’s. Include the Left’s, if you like.

    I’ll wait.

  • salero21

    “Gracious and eternal God,…”

    Quote above straight from the horses’ mouth! Big, big Problema man, Mr. Luis Leon is off his hinges or clearly was NOT having a good day in Christendom, when he prayed like that. Because TRUE Christianity, TRUE Faith places us, the Believers in Jesus Christ, in a Relationship not only with Him but moreover with God His Father.

    In this Relationship in which the True believer is placed by the Grace of God and the Atonement of His Son Jesus the Christ, the True believer all True believers in Fact, can Call and Claim God as Father. Therefore we can go above and beyond just saying God but instead we Pray, Call and Claim God as Our Father.

    However that’s what happens when the Predicted Apostasy overtakes the hearts and minds of men like Luis Leon. Not only they start praying, preaching, talking, teaching and saying things against what the Bible clearly teaches, but they also loose touch with The Father [God]. Then they have no other place to go but back to square one, praying to God but not calling Him as we all should Our Father. So the, Mr. Luis Leon is basically an Apostate.

  • SODDI

    “It is a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.”

  • yeahwecool

    @ Secular1. Yes God did kill off the Egyptians firstborn, but with a edict of ‘those covered by the blood of the lamb would be covered from the sentence of death’, even the Egyptians would have been covered but, by rejecting the word of God, thus the imparting of his judgment. As is the case for those that reject the ‘lamb of God, Jesus Christ, who died for the sin of all, as the act that you mentioned was a shadow of. No condemnation to your comments…worth a biblical debate.

  • Catken1

    So the little babies with no judgment or ability to accept or reject anyone’s word – they were killed for their sins? The slave who ground corn lost her precious child because God didn’t like that she didn’t give up the religion she’d been taught since birth to follow the religion of a bunch of strangers with no connection to her?

    Do you think earthly torture – which is temporary and merciful compared to the eternal tortures of hell – is an acceptable punishment for someone whose only crime is not to follow your religion? If not, why is it OK for eternal Hellish torture to be a punishment for the same crime? Just because God does it, and if God is all-powerful, whatever he does, however cruel, must be right, because the Big Bully is Always Right?

  • dcrswm

    The christian god said he/she/it would get rid of all wicked people, Odin said he would get rid of all ice giants. Now let me ask, which have you seen more recently, an ice giant or a wicked person?

  • ThomasBaum

    salero21

    You wrote, “Therefore we can go above and beyond just saying God but instead we Pray, Call and Claim God as Our Father.”

    And also we can call God our Brother, seeing as God became One of us in the Incarnation and since we are human and the rest of humanity are also humans, we can call all of humanity, not only our brothers and sisters but God’s brothers and sisters.

    Therefore, since we can call and claim God as not only our Father but also our Brother, we can call and claim God as the Father and Brother of ALL.

    As Jesus said on the cross, “It is finished” which translates as PAID IN FULL.

    And as Jesus also said, “When I am lifted up, I will draw EVERYONE to Myself”, by the way, there is no * after EVERYONE.

  • Catken1

    Come to think of it, I think an ice giant just breathed on our neighborhood – brrrr!

  • RHURKER

    it is a prayer that did not reach the ear of God, who will not bless sin of any kind, including the prayer of false prophets and kings who rule as if they are a god. the votes of the majority doom all of us to the judgment of God and God’s protective hand no longer protect this dying nation.

  • Top8305

    Amen. God Bless His Truth.

    …and my servant Job shall pray for you, for I will accept his prayer not to deal with you according to your folly; for you have not spoken of me what is right, as my servant Job has done.’
    Job 42:8b

    [5] Trust in the LORD with all your heart,
    on your own intelligence do not rely;
    [6] In all your ways be mindful of him,
    and he will make straight your paths.
    [7] Do not be wise in your own eyes,
    fear the LORD and turn away from evil;
    Proverbs 3:5-7

    [20] Ah! Those who call evil good, and good evil,
    who change darkness to light, and light into darkness,
    who change bitter to sweet, and sweet into bitter!
    [21] Ah! Those who are wise in their own eyes,
    prudent in their own view!
    Isaiah 5:20-21

    [25] I do not want you to be unaware of this mystery, brothers, so that you will not become wise in your own estimation: a hardening has come upon Israel in part, until the full number of the Gentiles comes in,
    Romans 11:25a

    [16] Have the same regard for one another; do not be haughty but associate with the lowly; do not be wise in your own estimation.
    Romans 12:16b

    If you see your brother or sister committing what is not a mortal sin, you will ask, and God will give life to such a one—to those whose sin is not mortal. There is sin that is mortal; I do not say that you should pray about that.
    1Jn 5:16

  • Top8305

    Amen. False Prophets, Teachings
    Jer 6:16 Thus says the LORD:
    Stand by the earliest roads,
    ask the pathways of old,
    “Which is the way to good?” and walk it;
    thus you will find rest for yourselves.
    But they said, “We will not walk it.”
    Jer 23:1 Woe to the shepherds who destroy and scatter the flock of my pasture—oracle of the LORD.
    Jer 23:21 I did not send these prophets, yet they ran; I did not speak to them, yet they prophesied.
    Jer 23:30-33 Therefore I am against the prophets—oracle of the LORD—those who steal my words from each other. [31] Yes, I am against the prophets—oracle of the LORD—those who compose their own speeches and call them oracles. [32] Yes, I am against the prophets who tell lying dreams—oracle of the LORD—those who lead my people astray by recounting their reckless lies. It was not I who sent them or commanded them; they do this people no good at all—oracle of the LORD. [33] And when this people or a prophet or a priest asks you, “What is the burden of the LORD?” you shall answer, “You are the burden, and I cast you off”—oracle of the LORD.
    Eze 11:21 But as for those whose hearts are devoted to their atrocities and abominations, I will bring their conduct down upon their heads—oracle of the Lord GOD.
    Eze 34:8-10 As I live—oracle of the Lord GOD—because my sheep became plunder, because my sheep became food for wild beasts, for lack of a shepherd, because my shepherds did not look after my sheep, but pastured themselves and did not pasture my sheep, [9] therefore, shepherds, hear the word of the LORD: [10] Thus says the Lord GOD: Look! I am coming against these shepherds. I will take my sheep out of their hand and put a stop to their shepherding my flock, so that these shepherds will no longer pasture them. I will deliver my flock from their mouths so it will not become their food.

  • Top8305

    False Prophets, Teachings2
    Eze 34:18 Was it not enough for you to graze on the best pasture, that you had to trample the rest of your pastures with your hooves? Or to drink the clearest water, that you had to pollute the rest with your hooves?
    Neh 6:12 For on consideration, it was plain to me that God had not sent him; rather, because Tobiah and Sanballat had bribed him, he voiced this prophecy concerning me,
    Mt 7:15 Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but underneath are ravenous wolves.
    Mt 24:11-12 Many false prophets will arise and deceive many; [12] and because of the increase of evildoing, the love of many will grow cold.
    Lk 6:26 Woe to you when all speak well of you, for their ancestors treated the false prophets in this way.
    Jn 3:19 And this is the verdict, that the light came into the world, but people preferred darkness to light, because their works were evil.
    Jn 8:47 Whoever belongs to God hears the words of God; for this reason you do not listen, because you do not belong to God.”
    Rom 1:18 The wrath of God is indeed being revealed from heaven against every impiety and wickedness of those who suppress the truth by their wickedness.
    Rom 1:25 They exchanged the truth of God for a lie and revered and worshiped the creature rather than the creator, who is blessed forever. Amen.
    Gal 1:6-7 I am amazed that you are so quickly forsaking the one who called you by [the] grace [of Christ] for a different gospel [7] (not that there is another). But there are some who are disturbing you and wish to pervert the gospel of Christ.
    Colossians 2:8 See to it that no one captivate you with an empty, seductive philosophy according to human tradition, according to the elemental powers of the world and not according to Christ.
    2 Thes 2:11-12 Therefore, God is sending them a deceiving power so that they may believe the lie, [12] that all who have not believed the truth but have approved wrongdoing may be condemned.

  • Top8305

    False Prophets, Teachings3
    2 Tim 4:3 For the time will come when people will not tolerate sound doctrine but, following their own desires and insatiable curiosity, will accumulate teachers
    2 Pe 2:1-3 There were also false prophets among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you, who will introduce destructive heresies and even deny the Master who ransomed them, bringing swift destruction on themselves. [2] Many will follow their licentious ways, and because of them the way of truth will be reviled. [3] In their greed they will exploit you with fabrications, but from of old their condemnation has not been idle and their destruction does not sleep.
    1 Jn 4:1-6 Beloved, do not trust every spirit but test the spirits to see whether they belong to God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world. [2] This is how you can know the Spirit of God: every spirit that acknowledges Jesus Christ come in the flesh belongs to God, [3] and every spirit that does not acknowledge Jesus does not belong to God. This is the spirit of the antichrist that, as you heard, is to come, but in fact is already in the world. [4] You belong to God, children, and you have conquered them, for the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world. [5] They belong to the world; accordingly, their teaching belongs to the world, and the world listens to them. [6] We belong to God, and anyone who knows God listens to us, while anyone who does not belong to God refuses to hear us.
    2 Jn 10-11 If anyone comes to you and does not bring this doctrine, do not receive him in your house or even greet him; [11] for whoever greets him shares in his evil works.

    Jesus left One Church, His Body (Mt 26:26; Ac 20:7; Ro 12:5; 1 Co 11:23-24, 12:27; Ep 1:22-23, 4:12; Col 1:18, 24; Jn 6:51-63) , His Bride (Rev 19:7, 21:9) as the Pillar & Foundation of The Truth (1 Tim 3:15) His Church is where the Faithful go for Truth (Mt 18:15-17), not someone who ignores swaths of God’s Word.

  • silverangel75

    In realtime, this “benediction” sounded horribly clumsy and awkward. It’s great that he mentioned gays and all, but he also used some variation of the word “bless” what seemed like a million times within the matter of a few minutes. This was very distracting.

  • ThomasBaum

    Top8305

    Does any of what you cut and pasted actually mean anything to you?

    By the way, Jesus’s Church is people, living stones as it is presented and it was Jesus Who said, “I will send the Holy Spirit to guide you…”, is this not so?

  • Top8305

    Mr. Baum,

    While I may cut and paste, I know where to find Truth and I don’t expurgate it to conform to my wants and wishes. By the way, since most of us don’t have an original thought but repeat what has been explained by others that we agree (conform) with, what is the problem with referencing the Wisdom of Holy Scripture? Your views are not original, I’m sure. Why do you intellectually cut and paste?

    It means that I take God’s Word in its entirity, without proof-texting, that I conform to the Teachings of the Faith and not private interpretation. Where my understanding diverges from Church Teaching, the Truth, I am to conform to the Truth, which sets one Free. Falsehood is slavery. False teachings enslave.

    The Faithful aren’t called to like, agree with or even necessarily understand God’s Word, they are called to obey God’s Word. First comes faith, then comes true understanding.

    Many “Teachers/Pastors/Ministers” expurgate the Word of God and can present false teachings by ignoring / twisting much Scripture (to one’s own destruction). The Bible reveals that Truth is taught by God-inspired teachers, just as it was written by God-inspired writers. From the Old Testament to the New, there is a Teaching Authority vested in God’s Priests. As Scripture states, the respository for Truth is the Church. I don’t profess to know the Truth, I know the Church – a greater authority bestowed by Jesus Christ, Son of God, Savior.

    God Love you.

  • Top8305

    Yes Christ Jesus did send the Holy Spirit to the Apostles of His Church. Both the Holy Spirit and Jesus is with the Church until the End (I’m sure you know the verses, so I’ll spare you the quotes).

    Pax et bonum.

  • lancasterr

    Amen. Enough said.

  • lancasterr

    May God bless you Rev Leon.

  • Top8305

    You would do well to study and examine the history and development of Law in Western Civililalization. You will find that the Law of Man is deeply contingent upon the law of God.

    Many of our lawmakers are influenced by their faiths and legislate accordingly.

    “Man … must necessarily be subject to the laws of his Creator.. This will of his Maker is called the law of nature…. This law of nature…is of course superior to any other…. No human laws are of any validity, if contrary to this: and such of them as are valid derive all their force…from this original.” – Sir William Blackstone (Eminent English Jurist)

    Like it, acknowledge it or not, it is the truth, was the truth and deviation from the truth will ultimately flounder in failure.

    God Bless you and yours

  • ThomasBaum

    Top8305

    You asked, “Why do you intellectually cut and paste?”

    I have no idea what you are even asking here, could you explain?

    When I mentioned about you cutting and pasting huge sections and not even saying what any of these might mean to you, that is what I was trying to get at, what does it mean to you?

    We are not called to be parrots and just spout out words that are written, there seem to be many that can recite from memory huge sections, if not the whole bible, but don’t seem to take any of it into their heart or for that matter, to even think about it, just to recite it.

    You also wrote, “The Faithful are called to obey God’s Word.”

    What, in your words, do you mean by this statement?

    What do you consider “God’s Word”?

    To me, God’s Word Is LOVE since God just happens to be a Being of Pure Love and God’s Word is God.

    Didn’t Jesus extend the invitation to “Come follow Me”?

    You also wrote, “From the Old Testament to the New, there is a Teaching Authority vested in God’s Priests. As Scripture states, the respository for Truth is the Church”

    When Jesus walked this planet, it was some of the religious authorities of Jesus’s day that gave Jesus the hardest time.

    Jesus clearly stated that “He would send the Holy Spirit to guide us…”, He didn’t say that He would send the Church to guide us but that we are the Church, the living stones of the Body of Christ.

  • ThomasBaum

    Top8305 responds:

    You wrote, “Yes Christ Jesus did send the Holy Spirit to the Apostles of His Church.”

    I agree that Jesus did do this but Jesus continues to send the Holy Spirit to us, this is a teaching of the Church.

    The Church is an instrument of God and it is flawed because it is made up of us but it has a mission which Jesus spelled out when He said, “Simon, thou art Peter and upon this rock, I will build MY Church and the gates of the netherworld shall not prevail against it”.

    Not only is Peter a rock, living stone, but we are all called to be living stones.

    Jesus clearly said that it was HIS Church and that the gates of the netherworld (hell and death, physical and spiritual) shall not prevail against it.

  • RickWatcher

    Man’s laws and words do not negate God’s Word and moral law and God is the same yesterday, today, and forever. He does not change.
    God’s word is very clear on the matter of homosexuality, it is an abominable sin and this fact is made very clear in many places of His Word, Old and New Testament.
    God’s Word also tells us that in the end times many would depart from the faith. It also says, “For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears (that is teachers that will tell them what they want to hear and make them fell good); And they will turn away their ears from the truth, and be turned unto fables. 2 Timothy 4:3&4
    If you die not having repented of this sin, just as with any sin, you will be judged and condemned to outer darkness.
    We are now living in that day when many are departing from the faith and the nation is dying because of this sin and all the others and so many refuse to see the truth and repent.
    Another truth so many refuse to accept is that this life style is deadly for it’s participants. Some 250,000 homosexual men have died since 1977 due to the HIV/AIDS virus, this fact can be found in the CDC report on HIV/AIDS dated October 2010. Even the homosexual websites themselves list all the health hazards associated with this lifestyle. Whole pages could be written about the serious mental and physical hazards associated with this lifestyle yet because they love not the knowledge of the truth they will turn their ears to fables.
    This lifestyle is morally and naturally wrong and has been a danger to every society in history who have openly practiced it.
    Now you can say this is hate filled but it’s the same as if you saw someone you care for doing something dangerous that will harm themselves and others and you try to intervene before it’s too late.
    Sometimes tough love and hard truth is the only thing that will help.

  • Top8305

    Intellectual cut & paste means that most of the ideas promulgated in discourse are original, but are the repetition of the ideas of others.
    Quoting Sacred Scripture is my effort to illumine the words of others as to whether or not they are in conformity with God’s Word.
    The heart of the matter is that God’s Word speaks of His Merciful Love, but it also speaks with resounding greatness of his Justice. Love without Justice is not Love, Brother. In the King James Translation, Love is referenced approximately 396 times and Justice is referenced 249 times. Today’s preaching, for the overwhelming part, refers to God’s Love, but rarely to God’s Justice. Teaching His Love without teaching His Justice is a False Teaching.
    Obeying God’s Word means exactly that; in faithful obedience to God’s Word, we must not omit any of His Word as is being done by many to many today.
    God’s Word is the inerrant Holy Scripture in the context of 2,000 years of Christian Teaching Tradition (including Teachings of the Old Testament Moral Laws, excluding dietary and covenant law supplanted by Christ’s fulfillment of those laws). These Christian Teachings are in the Deposit of Faith and are explained in Church Teachings / Doctrine (Mt 16:18, 28:18-20, Mk 16:15-16; Jn 14:16-17, 14:17, 26, 21:25; Ac 1:8, 8:30-31; Ro 1:5, 10:17-18; 1 Co 11:2, Col 1:23; 1 Th 2:13, 15;1 Ti 3:15, 2 Ti 2:2; 2 Pe 3:16 for instruction of the faith by word OR letter; collectively, these verses and others reveal that God’s Word is to be taught by Scripture and Church –not individual– interpretation). As evidenced by scripture and the state of the ChurchES disunity (18-25 Jan is the week for Prayer for Christian Unity as Christ prayed to Father God for in John 17 and cited elsewhere in God’s Word).

  • Catken1

    Now, prove your god exists, and prove that his idea of law is identical to your preconceived notions of what he wants.
    Go ahead, we’re waiting.

  • ThomasBaum

    RickWatcher

    You wrote, “God’s Word also tells us that in the end times many would depart from the faith.”

    Such as: “Love one another as I have loved you”, Judge not lest ye be judged”, “The measure you judge with will be the measure you are judged with”, “When I am lifted up, I will draw EVERYONE to Myself”, “It is finished”, “It is GOD’S WILL that ALL be saved”, “For I will forgive their evildoing and remember their sins no more”, “Father forgive them, they know not what they do”.

    Are you trying to say that Jesus took All of the sins of All of humanity upon Himself for a tie?

    A tie would mean that satan wins some and that God loses some, I do not believe in a loser God, even tho many not only believe in a loser God but seem to want it that way, as long as they get to the “good place”.

    It is my faith and hope in God, Who Is a Being of Love, that God’s Victory is Total and satan’s loss is total, just as it alludes to in Genesis, “I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; They will strike at your head, while you strike at their heel.”

    A “tie” is absolutely and utterly unacceptable, God’s Plan, which God has had since before creation and is unfoling before our very eyes, is for ALL, ultimately, to be with God in God’s Kingdom.

    The seventh day shall arrive in due time, God’s Time.

  • EastCoastCommentator

    Interesting prayer.

    Bless us, bless us, bless us.
    No matter what we do, whether contrary to the Bible or not.

    No mention of Jesus.

    It would appear the reverend has not read:
    no one comes to the Father but through Me.

  • psmithphd

    Those with homoerotic attractions are children of God equal to others. They should be loved and protected from persecution.

    We much also protect those who believe in God’s law of chastity, which stipulates that sexual relations should be carried on only within the bounds of marriage. God also, through his prophets, has defined marriage as a union between a man and a woman. We should be allowed to honor these commandments in a spirit of religious freedom, and protect those who espouse and practice them.

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