Wisconsin High School Student Endorses Biblical Death Penalty for Gays

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There’s nothing quite like the right to write an article  in your school paper endorsing murdering people because you don’t like who they have sex with. That’s what happened in Wisconsin, recently, when 15-year old Brandon Wegner, a Shawano High School student, wrote a column for the editorial page of the Hawks Post that, says the Green Bay Press Gazette, “cites Bible passages and calls homosexuality a sin punishable by death.” A column appearing with Wegner’s, by Maddie Marquardt took the position that gay people “are as compassionate, caring and suitable parents as heterosexuals.” Copies of the student paper went out as inserts this month in the Shawnee Leader, the local paper. (Green Bay Press Gazette has a pdf of both articles, which can be read in full here).

This is, in part, what Wegner had to say:

“If one is a practicing Christian, Jesus states in the Bible that homosexuality is (a) detestable act and sin which makes adopting wrong for homosexuals because you would be raising the child in a sin-filled environment.

“A child adopted into homosexuality will get confused because everyone else will have two different-gendered parents that can give them the correct amount of motherly nurturing and fatherly structure. In a Christian society, allowing homosexual couples to adopt is an abomination.”

He further cites Leviticus 20:13 which states that “If a man lies with a man as one lies with a woman, both of them have done what is detestable. They must be put to death; their blood will be on their own heads.”

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A gay couple was outraged and pointed to the school that this is what fuels that attitudes that lead to bullying and suicide. The school right apologized and promised to review the processes that allowed the article to be published.

Said district Superintendent Todd Carlson in a written statement: “Offensive articles cultivating a negative environment of disrespect are not appropriate or condoned by the Shawano School District.”

Leave it to Liberty Council, a group supporting Newt Gingrich, to step in at this point. In a gross misuse of the term “bullying” Liberty Council addressed the issue with this headline: “15-Year-Old Student Bullied for Supporting Biblical View of Family.”

Shame, apparently, does not rank very high on the fundamentalist list of things to embrace.

Here is what Liberty Council had to say about the incident:

Liberty Counsel sent a letter to school officials at Shawano High School after they censored and punished Brandon Wegner, a 15-year-old, for writing an op-ed article explaining the Biblical view of homosexuality and supporting natural mother-father adoption. The letter demands that the school apologize for its unconstitutional and irrational censorship and humiliation of Brandon.

Brandon quoted several verses from the Bible regarding homosexuality. After Brandon wrote this article he was pulled into hours of meetings with school administrators and staff, without his parents’ knowledge. This caused him to miss exam preparation classes and at least one exam.

Brandon was hauled before the superintendent on charges that he had violated the school’s bullying policy. Superintendent Todd Carlson told him that the column “went against the bullying policy,” and asked him if he “regretted” writing it. When Mr. Wegner stated that he did not regret writing it, and that he stood behind his beliefs, Superintendent Carlson told him that he “had got to be one of the most ignorant kids to try to argue with him about this topic,” that “we have the power to suspend you if we want to” and that the column had “personally offended me, so I know you offended other people!”

The First Amendment protects the opinions of all, including student journalists. The bullying at Shawano High School is by Superintendent Todd Carlson and the school officials, not the student, Brandon Wegner. The school officials have displayed blatant intolerance of a view on homosexuality held by many people. The school’s actions are shocking and unjustified. The superintendent should immediately apologize and stop the bullying.

Of course, Liberty Council isn’t going to mention Leviticus and the endorsement by Mr. Wagner of killing gay people. The Bible is full of blood, offering us the eating of the flesh of captives (Deut. 32:42), drinking the blood of victims (Isa. 49:26) and wading in the blood of the vanquished (Pss. 58:11; 68:24). Fine images for any school and community to embrace. Maybe they want to pick up on the human sacrifice God demanded as well.

God demanded in Exodus:

“Do not hold back offerings from your granaries or your vats. You must give me the firstborn of your sons. Do the same with your cattle and your sheep. Let them stay with their mothers for seven days, but give them to me on the eighth day” (Exodus 22.29).

And reiterated in Ezekiel:

“I let them become defiled through their gifts – the sacrifice of every firstborn – that I might fill them with horrors so they would know that I am the LORD.” (Ezekiel 20.26).

And this wasn’t just rhetoric, or something metaphorical, as we see from the story of Jephthah, one of the Judges of Israel who lived in the time before the first king. When the Ammonites invaded, Jephthah vowed to YHWH,

“If you give the Ammonites into my hands, whatever comes out of the door of my house to meet me when I return in triumph from the Ammonites will be the Lord’s, and I will sacrifice it as a burnt offering” (Judges 11.29-31).

Of course, Jephthah won and when he returned home from his campaign, the first to come out of his house was his daughter, who “was only a child.” Her father, we are told “did to her as he had vowed. And she was a virgin” (11.32-39). This event was not decried afterwards. Rather, it was celebrated, since “From this comes the Israelite custom that each year the young women of Israel go out for four days to commemorate the daughter of Jephthah the Gileadite” (11.40).

And young Mr. Wegner wants to quote Leviticus?

In Leviticus (27.28-29) where we find the following, showing victims were not simply “consecrated” rather than killed:

But nothing that a man owns and devotes to the LORD – whether man or animal or family land – may be sold or redeemed; everything so devoted is most holy to the LORD. No person devoted to destruction may be ransomed; he must be put to death.

Good times for those preschoolers! Let’s get them plugged into this program right away.  Nothing like filling the little children with “horrors” so they know who God is. Maybe we can really roll out NFL’s Play 60 program with all the little kids fleeing for their lives. That’s a good cardio workout, isn’t it?

I don’t know why Brandon wants to kill the gay people but not first born. Maybe he is a first born himself? And why isn’t Mr. Wegner attacking those who eat shellfish? That’s an abomination too, according to (Leviticus 11:11), and if a man has sex with a woman during her period, they’re both supposed to be deported (Leviticus 20:18). And a personal favorite:  anyone cursing their mother or father must be put to death (Leviticus 20:9). We don’t hear a lot about these divine prohibitions these days. Suddenly it’s only gay people God hates?

Let’s face it, claiming First Amendment protections for people calling for the death of anybody else based on their lifestyle, or what they eat, or their order of birth, etc.,  is a bit of a stretch. If we all now called for the death penalty for those who denigrate gays and lesbians, for example, I don’t think any of us would get any support from Liberty Council, free speech or not. They don’t really care about the First Amendment; they only care about their continued ability to spread hate and fear, even in our public schools.

 

42 Replies to “Wisconsin High School Student Endorses Biblical Death Penalty for Gays”

  1. “If one is a practicing Christian, Jesus states in the Bible that homosexuality is (a) detestable act and sin which makes adopting wrong for homosexuals because you would be raising the child in a sin-filled environment.”

    1. Jesus said no such thing.
    2. Our laws are not, and should not be, based on Christianity or any other religion. As such, what Jesus or any other mythological figure allegedly said has nothing to do with anything.

  2. No paper printed by a publicly- supported school should be endorsing the murder of anyone, or the institution of the death penalty for any status crime. As for the argument that every child needs two opposite-gendered parents, that would equally bar a divorced or widowed mother who moves in with her sister, or a divorced or widowed father who moves in with his father, from having custody, wouldn’t it?…

  3. “…“If one is a practicing Christian, Jesus states in the Bible that homosexuality is (a) detestable act and sin…”

    Yeah, right…and where, when, why, once again, did “JESUS” say this???

    People who teach this kind of garbage, to hate as a birth right need their citizen revoked. We need to start kicking these people to the curb or we’ll never have peace in our country; soon, we’ll have “zones” of religious-sectarian violence cropping up all over the place if these Vandals aren’t deported.

  4. Liberty Counsel take note: 20 years ago you high school paper had a black box where a gay positive article was to have been. The black box was put there to call attention to the fact that it was being censored. That was censorship. Having the article published and distributed is not censorship. And despite what you believe and what you assert in every singe failing lawsuit you file, christians are not being persecuted in this country.

  5. Ahh, I love the old-testament hypocrites that pick and choose their bible verses to support their own bigoted views.

    I would also like to point out to the legions of Gingrich supporters that the same bible that they use to bully gay people also condones adultery as well.
    Deuteronomy 22:22 states:
    “If a man is found sleeping with another man’s wife, both the man who slept with her and the woman must die. You must purge the evil from Israel”

    Hmm.. interesting.

    Now, most Gingrich supporters will probably argue that Jesus came and died for our sins and that the old testament punishments were abolished because of that. They would be correct in this argument. But that would be the case for ALL the sins that are punishable by death and there are a LOT of them.

    Now why does this young man condone killing gays, but not Mr. Gingrich?

  6. Reynardine, as you know, these “biblical arguments” are immune to logic. The New Testament conflicts with the Old Testament, individual books conflict with one another, all of them fused together centuries ago and argued about ever since. Modern Christians pick and choose the bits they like and go all fundamentalist on the bits that really flip their switch, but it all comes down to rationalizing what they already believe. The fact that the source for their “appeal to authority” fallacy is rife with inconsistencies is irrelevant because the circular reasoning always takes them back to where they started: faith, or belief in something that defies a rational explanation.

  7. I did not review the kids writing to see if he was using it as his opinion or simply an exposé of how homosexuality was treated in the Bible. However I have to agree with Hraf in that if these people are going to use Old Testament Biblical Scripture done they themselves need to start living said Scripture.

    That means your women are going to be very happy with you as they wont be working outside the house, there’ll be no work on Sundays you will not travel further than a quarter-mile from your house. You will give sacrifices to God most specifically in sheep, which means that your neighborhood is going to be up in arms when they smell the burning sheep in your backyard. And there is an entire cast of totally ludicrous things that you have to do. I suggest a nationwide call for these people to immediately begin to live by the Scriptures that they use to debase others.

    By the Way your wives will not be wearing slacks or make up because by wearing slacks they are dressing like a man which is a no-no in the Old Testament, and the wearing of makeup is also discouraged.

  8. In publishing Brandon’s screed, the school newspaper also created a huge headache for the administration with regard to separation of church and state. The rule is, if a public school allows any religion to preach or proselytize on its premises, then it cannot exclude other religions from doing so as well. Reason being, public schools are funded by taxpayers of many faiths, beliefs and non-beliefs, and therefore one religion cannot be promoted to the exclusion of any other religions.

    While this may appear to be a gay vs. anti-gay issue–which of course it is in the eyes of the Christians–the problem for the school administration is that they cannot turn a blind eye to Brandon’s little opinion piece without having to grant equal time to Muslims, Buddhists, Shintoists, Hindus, Jews, Wiccans and, yes, even Satan worshipers.

    Methinks the good people of Shawano might frown a tad at that.

  9. The kid’s views are disgusting and sad, but the school newspaper is also part of the fourth estate and should be protected. As another article with an opposing view was also in the newspaper, it appears that the letters were written as opinion pieces. We can and should speak out about the ideas the kid expressed, but even a school newspaper has the right to publish disgusting free speech.

  10. “Yeah, right…and where, when, why, once again, did “JESUS” say this???”

    I donno, SinghX, probably about the same place and for the same reason he condemned abortion. Like, you know . . , nowhere.

  11. Well before the topic of gayness is introduced, creatubg instant conflict and distraction, is the simple legal fact that IF this is a public school,
    its newspaper cannot discuss any aspect of organized religion. This is called separation of church and state and is pretttttttttttttttttty basic
    to our constitution and other formal governing structures. The article never should have been published with the Christian references in it; let the student write about gay marriage without referencing religion. Why did this happen like this?

  12. Various studies in Canada (where same sex marriage has been allowed for several years) are showing that kids in homes with same sex parents enjoy a much more stable, “functional” home/family life on average, than kids with heterosexual parents. Teachers, especially, are aware of this.

  13. The one Satanist I’ve communicated with seemed to be a far more moral and ethical person than the dominionists.

    My wife and I have been treated far better by those hated by the dominionists then we ever were by the “Good Christians” – and while the “Good Christians” were always playing the blame game and trying to manipulate us into serving their interests at the expense of our own needs, those the dominionists and fundamentalists hate have always tried to keep our needs and concerns at heart whenever they did anything that affected us.

  14. Tremors or brainfog?

    (It usually takes me 30 minutes, sometimes much more to become functional in the morning – even my eyes are foggy for the first little while and I can’t see very well!)

  15. We’ve got those types in this area… all rabidly dominionist.

    (God, where do they dig up those hideous and stifling dresses? In the Florida heat, they must be suffering!)

    Oh, and men aren’t supposed to shave or wear long hair.

  16. There are limits on free speech… the brat’s letter was a call to violence and advocated murder.

    That is much like calling out “FIRE!” in a crowded theater with no fire… that also isn’t considered free speech.

  17. It happens all the time. I remember a letter I’d written to our school’s newspaper back when I was a Pentecostal (dominionist) – and I’m ashamed I wrote it. It was denigrating towards any other religion and as I remember, abusive towards gays.

  18. I’m glad he lives in a Christian society–I live in an American society–different races, religions, different cultures. If he wants to live in a society that murders for what he considers a sin then he should find a country that accepts his violent views. He could buy and Island, form a government based on his beliefs and see how many visitors he gets or maybe he could just join Westboro Baptist Church. He should be careful though, if he’s not with out sin he could end up on the wrong side of the Christian law.

  19. Frankly, I’m siding with the bigot on this one. Free speech is free speech and the price you pay is that some people will say things you don’t like.

    I think the school paper did exactly the right thing by also having an opposing point of view. I think the school staff were very wrong to attack and harrass the boy for writing an honest op-ed, even though most people would be disgusted with what he wrote. He made his argument and backed it up with quotes from his religious text. Telling him he can’t say what he believes, is unAmerican.

  20. Wow, biblical death threats from a high school student in a high school paper. IOKIYAR

    I wonder if the school would have printed it if the death endorsing text had been, say, from Mein Kampf.

  21. Something both Santorum and Gingrich need to be reminded of, assuming Gingrich survives the required biblical stoning for infidelity

  22. Nope, real ones…benign essential; occasionally, it feels like I’m on a bumpy bus ride down a dirt road both physically and mentally (I only mention it because my comments occasionally hop around without my doing a good proof-reading…)

    It would be more fun if they were from “hair of the dog”, or if I were from the same gene pool as Lewis Black…

  23. That is the crux of the conundrum. If you’re a Christian, you are supposed to embrace all people, no exceptions. However, these folks are NOT Christians but Old Testamentarians who lift what applies to others (or those whom they dislike) while leaving out what applies to them or their favored few. When people draw from the OT exclusively and then ascribe it to Jesus (who was a real prophet with an amazingly new view) they show not just their ignorance but their desire to bend their own faith to evil and disgusting ends. Anyone can cherry pick the Bible as they do the Constitution. Are you a “tenther” avowing state’s rights? Well oops – what about Artile VI placing federal law above all other? We live in a world where self delusion is a powerful force based on the single proposition that what I want is what must be, never mind how wrong I am in my justifications.

    We have become entirely solipsistic in our views of universality, and this young man is the manifestation of that foolishness which, ultimately, is very dangerous. For his sake I hope he never does something “Biblically incorrect” since there are others of his ilk prepared to do unto him as he has advocated. Scary world they’ve made.

  24. There’s a few “Ya’buts” as seen in many of the rebuttals on what consist of constitutional free speech, public school “screes”, civil rights, ect., so I ask that you re-read a few…

    But, I’m not so sure, if the shoe were on the other foot, if that kid would have allowed an opposing point of view if he had a choice in the matter. His religion world-view trumps all; this too has been explained on Fox News (sorry I don’t have the clip of Ducey the Douche interviewing some guy saying religion trumps all laws and Ducey almost having an orgasmic “700 Club” amen moment).

    Telling you, in his world-view, what you can and can’t say, is American; whatever you want to say would make you UN-American…that’s how they roll…I think it’s fair to “side” with belief as a right, but, any behavior based upon killing another because it’s you’re belief
    system…not.

  25. Well, of course you’re “right”, but that just makes THEM unAmerican, and the idea is to NOT be unAmerican, right? Are you really going to use “their” behavior as an excuse to decide who the constitution applies to and who it doesn’t? Isn’t that what people like Michele Bachmann do? Isn’t that what we’re supposed to be against?

    I don’t care how “they” would’ve handled it or what their world view is, that has ZERO to do with anything. We’re all here because we don’t want their way of doing things. You seem to be arguing for tit-for-tat as though that’s a valid rationale to infringe someone’s rights and liberties?

    You sound like a “Libertarian” I know who is all about everyone’s freedoms and liberties… unless he can find some excuse to validate it when he doesn’t. Like, his response to the “ground zero mosque” was that is was right to shut them down because “Al Jazeera said it would be a flag planting”. See how easy it is? Hey, it’s okay to infringe the rights of muslim Americans because “Al Jazeera” said something!

    He’s also utterly committed to the destruction of ANYTHING related to environmentalism because the only “fact” that matters to him is that Stalin said something about “tyranny” and “environmentalists.”

    I understand why there could be examples so egregious that free speech rights might be suspended, but I just don’t think this is one of them.

    I’m talking only about this particular case, and in this particular case the kid was not trying to openly rally people to murder gays, he was defining his opinion based on his personal beliefs, backed with examples from the Bible. Like I said, he made an ARGUMENT. You don’t agree with it. Neither do I. But I respect his right to state his case, as sick and wrong as I think it is.

    If anything, I’m GLAD he did it because it puts the evil and the hypocrisy out there for the rest of us to see. It’s important to know these things so we know who we’re dealing with when the same group comes out, for example, claiming Muslims don’t deserve the same first amendment rights the rest of us have because Islam is “a religion of violence and hate”.

    All the kids in his school now equate Christianity with hate and intolerance. I say: “nice job, kid”. ;P

  26. Jesus never stated anything about abortion and homosexuality.
    All that crap was in the Old Testament.
    Therefore, his article was inaccurate.

    Never ceases to amaze me that “Christians” by definition, are those that follow Christ.
    The New Testament was written after Christ was on earth. So why do they constantly quote the old testament?
    Because Jesus was all about love, forgiveness and helping other less fortunate then yourself.
    That does not fit in well with the current republican dogma.

  27. My guess would be that he hasn’t actually read either book – Old or New Testament. This is a failing of many of our leading fundamentalists and I’m sure one shared by the rank and file, based on my own experiences.

  28. Probably someone has already said this but I’ll say it again: This kid has undoubtedly been fed this crap since the day he was born by his bigoted, bible believing parents. I’m hard pressed to believe that he just all of a sudden decided this on his own, eh? And as for putting words in Jesus’ mouth, hell, they all do that. Anything to justify their rampant hatred for someone different than themselves. Haters are very afraid and the rightwing political party plays on their fears day in and day out never mind the bloody Pope and fundagelical churches. If they’re different fear ’em first, hate ’em second, and then, thirdly, find a scripture to justify your hatred. Never stops and probably never will.

  29. I wonder if this was an “underground” paper rather than a school sactioned one. If a school paper, why was this “essay”, whatever, allowed to be published? I cannot imagine a legit school paper sponsor letting this go through. In 31 years of teaching high school, I read a lot of student huff and puff, but never anything such as this…it just wouldn’t have been permitted.

    As to 1st Amendment rights, the “rights” of Americans are not 100% allowable. The First does have it’s limits. We see this in such laws regarding hate speech where such is prohibited by law. However, SCOTUS has said in the past that one may THINK whatever they wish, but they may not necessarily be permitted to ACT those thoughts. Along with this, schools have traditionally had the ability to control speech and behavior in school if the school administration rules certain speech and action to be disruptive in the school building and/or other property.

    I do have to agree with the argument that the introduction of such religious speech violates the traditional separation of state and religion. A school may rent or grant it’s space to a religious organization during non-school hours, but it may not permit the teaching of a specific religion during the class day UNLESS it is a comparative course that includes all religions as literature, culture, etc. Christian evangelizing during the school day is verboten.

  30. Well said, Churchlady!

    “..they show not just their ignorance but their desire to bend their own faith to evil and disgusting ends…”

    Great line!

  31. “…Are you really going to use “their” behavior as an excuse to decide who the constitution applies to and who it doesn’t? Isn’t that what people like Michele Bachmann do? …”

    Yes. We DO use the constitution as the “law” to distinguish “bad” behavior (which judges are mandated to “judge”) from civilized community “good” behavior, regardless of whether he/we agree with it or not…in his world view, we don’t/should not have “rights” because biblical certainty trumps any and all man-made systems of rights. This is about taking freedom from, not freedom of…

    And no, that isn’t what Bachmann is doing; she is using the biblical morality as the basis of “law” in order to subvert the secular law based on the a “for the people by the people” Constitution. Again, she’s “taking” not “giving” free speech.

    “…he was defining his opinion based on his personal beliefs, backed with examples from the Bible. Like I said, he made an ARGUMENT…”

    To this young man and other fundamentalist christians, the bible IS their law, their constitution. It isn’t his opinion, it’s GOD’S LAW, the covenant between man and god. He thinks he’s quoting law as a spokesperson acting as an “attorney” in God’s court. He is making himself a self-appointed judge and jury over a group of human regardless of the fact that human beings in this country are protected by constitution law that has been “voted” as our power structure, for the people by the people.

  32. I would like to add that it is very noble of you to defend societies “misfits” the disenfranchised who don’t see eye-to-eye with the “established” majority law, meant for all..but in this case, the “Constitution” is not “persecuting” him or any religion based upon their “belief”…

    If he and his family continue to “act out” in order to break the law, then they should go to another country…just like Mittens grand dad, the polygamist who fled to Mexico because he was “persecuted” for having plural wives.

  33. Why in the hell anyone would want more than 1 wife is beyond me. 1 wife and 15 or 20 girlfriends yes, but more than one wife?

  34. Well, when I first read this yesterday, I had some reactions and thoughts which I had to mull over.

    First, my initial reaction to the headline was a tiny bit of puzzlement along the lines of “So, what’s new about this?” I do tend to forget that there are areas that aren’t as rabidly Religious Right/Dominionist as this area. That sort of letter has been very common – we get them in the local newspaper on a regular (and sometimes frequent) basis, and I’m pretty sure some of them were from kids. It’s not news for this area. If you go to the local mainstream churches, you are CERTAIN to hear the same sort of sentiments from some of the members (usually leaders of some sort).

    A second or two after reading the headline and while starting to read the article, rage erupted because quite a few of my friends are LGBT, and some of our “couple-friends” are gays or lesbians, with whom we are VERY comfortable. They’re all good people and they’ve treated both of us far better than any of the damned churches. I remembered all of the gays whose homes had been torched in this county (known to the LGBT community, but generally ignored by everyone else EXCEPT their friends), and the LGBT friends I have who fled this county because of the hate and persecution (and danger) they encountered. That people claiming to be “good” and “Godly” would call for the death of people who WERE good and kind (and in certain cases True Christians – others had been driven from Christianity by the hate)… that’s the sort of thinking that makes one twist inside.

    Then my brain kicked in and I thought about justice and the intolerance issues. If they don’t like LGBT people (they probably don’t know any, or if they do, those people keep it hidden from them) they should practice toleration, because we ALL are supposed to have equal rights. Then I thought about how the churches and parents are teaching this crap to their kids, and I felt a bit sick.

    H. Roy Kaplan came up with a school program that is very effective in stopping bigotry and discrimination, described in his book “Failing Grades” (I was lucky to be able to study race with him for a semester). The conservatives don’t like it because it WORKS and the research shows that it does much to eliminate racism and the other disgusting isms. The kid needs to go through that program… he’d be ashamed of what he wrote, just as I’m ashamed of the things I said and wrote back when I was Pentecostal.

  35. A school for minors stands in loco parentis, and as such, has the right to control violent or vulgar speech and the duty to do so if that speech may lead to violence or disruption. A public university, whose students have usually reached majority, has less power to control speech, but must provide a reasonably safe learning and (for residents) living environment. Because of this, they are often involved as both defendants and plaintiffs in everything from free speech cases to those involving hazing and sexual assault.

  36. This kid’s only 15..it would be very funny if by the time he’s 20 he comes out !!!I don’t know if the school newspaper should have censored the kid’s article or not…but now that it’s been printed they should do the right thing and publish some Gay postive articles, especially those about Gay families with children. It’s only fair to give the other side equal time and space in their newspaper. Additionally, I don’t know what sort of Bible he was quoting from…but I don’t recall Jesus saying anything at all about homosexuality or abortion. (Maybe that was just made up by the local preacher?)

  37. The more these guys spout this stuff the more it proves that they don’t know the Bible. It’s embarrassing to hear them. Jesus does not endorse stoning anyone.

    If they were truly interested in changing behaviour they would be sharing what is says in the gospel, not trying to enact OT laws that are not relevant now. Nor would they focus solely on homosexuality. The OT condemns many sins, including the abuse of public office, of which many Republicans are guilty.

    By the way, Jesus is not a mythological figure, His existence is not disputed by most historians.

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