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> Christian Persecution, Some say it doesn't exist.
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Is persecution of Christians happening in the world today?
Absolutely [ 12 ]  [60.00%]
No way [ 6 ]  [30.00%]
I don't know [ 2 ]  [10.00%]
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SCShamrock 
Posted on 06-Dec-2005, 12:30 AM
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Some time back, there was a discussion going on in which I had stated that Christians were persecuted here in America. That statement brought about a small volley of dissent, to which I replied that I would cite examples. I had completely forgotten about that discussion until I read this, from the Drudge Report:

QUOTE
UK: GIRL SENT HOME FROM SCHOOL FOR WEARING A CRUCIFIX
Mon Dec 05 2005 19:45:41 ET

A school today defended its decision to exclude a pupil after she refused to take off her crucifix necklace.

Sam Morris, 16, was told to remove her cross and chain on Thursday by deputy head teacher Howard Jones at Sinfin Community School in Derby.

When the year-11 student refused she was told not to return until today and without the item of jewellery.

The 1,070-student comprehensive has a strict policy which bans most jewellery being worn.

Items can be worn out of view or if they are part of religious beliefs, such as the Kara, a bracelet worn by Sikh males.

But the policy has been described as "unfair" by Sam's mother, Debra Saunders.

Sinfin Community School deputy head teacher Howard Jones said her daughter's one-day exclusion had been a "last resort" after a 30-minute conversation failed to persuade her to take it off.

He said: "There was a long period of persuasion with her and she was given time. It was only at the end of that that I reluctantly had to exclude her for a day.

"I met with her mother today and readmitted her daughter."

Mr Jones said the strict jewellery policy, which bans large earrings or items worn on the outside of clothing - was to avoid accidents and to remove temptation from thieves.

However, Sikh male pupils are allowed to wear the Kara, one of five physical symbols worn by followers of the faith.

Mr Jones said: "As a Christian I don't have to wear a crucifix but Sikhs don't have that option and we have to be understanding. We live in a multi-faith society."

Mrs Saunders, of Thackeray Street, Sinfin, told the Derby Evening Telegraph: "Sam has worn this necklace for more than three years and it is of great sentimental value to her.

"No-one has told her to take it off before and she doesn't want to.

"She thinks it is very unfair when other people are allowed to wear religious symbols and it just ends up creating a divide between the pupils when everyone is told they should be living in unity."


Since Drudge's site is constantly being updated and archived, I can only imagine how long any link might be good. Just for fun, here it is.

I have, somewhere in my home, literally hundreds of examples just like this one, mainly from the U.S., but from other countries as well. I apologize to whomever I made the promise before to cite these examples, and will get to the task of finding them as quickly as I can. In the meantime, I would like other's opinions on the subject. I put this thread in the Politics Live Online forum because this discussion cannot exist apart from discussing politics as well, as it is most often government that orchestrates outward persecution of Christians in this country.


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Swanny 
Posted on 06-Dec-2005, 12:58 AM
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A news story regarding what may be an isolated case in the UK doesn't do much to prove that Christians are systematically persecuted in America.

Swanny


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WizardofOwls 
Posted on 06-Dec-2005, 11:18 AM
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Oh, I believe Christian persecution exists in the US! Absolutley! It is disguised as a little thing called "Separation of Christianity and State"!

Ooops! Did I say "Christianity and State"? I meant, of course "CHURCH and State"! Silly Wizard! angel_not.gif

We are not supposed to pray in public, can't have courses on the Bible in public schools, get persecuted and put down as nerds if we wear "normal" clothes rather than the Goth stuff and revealing clothes people wear today. And heaven forbid you carry a Bible with you somewhere in public! You get ridiculed and treated with anger and mockery.

But they can teach evolution in school (which, by the way, cannot be proved anymore decisively than can Creationism), kids can wear their devilish Goth clothes without ridicule, and they can celebrate Halloween but don't even mention Christmas.

Oh yes, persecution DOES exist in the US. All you have to do is open your eyes and look around.


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Swanny 
Posted on 06-Dec-2005, 12:00 PM
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QUOTE (WizardofOwls @ 06-Dec-2005, 07:18 AM)
Oh, I believe Christian persecution exists in the US! Absolutley! It is disguised as a little thing called "Separation of Christianity and State"!

Ooops! Did I say "Christianity and State"? I meant, of course "CHURCH and State"! Silly Wizard! angel_not.gif

We are not supposed to pray in public, can't have courses on the Bible in public schools, get persecuted and put down as nerds if we wear "normal" clothes rather than the Goth stuff and revealing clothes people wear today. And heaven forbid you carry a Bible with you somewhere in public! You get ridiculed and treated with anger and mockery.

But they can teach evolution in school (which, by the way, cannot be proved anymore decisively than can Creationism), kids can wear their devilish Goth clothes without ridicule, and they can celebrate Halloween but don't even mention Christmas.

Oh yes, persecution DOES exist in the US. All you have to do is open your eyes and look around.

1. Thee is no law that says you can't pray in public. Simply laws the prohibit the government from forcing you to do so.

2. You can have bible courses in schools, just not in government run schools. Neither can government run schools legally have Koran courses, Tibetan Book of the Dead courses, or any other courses that promote one religion over others.

3. If you dress like a nerd, you shouldn't be surprised if people treat you like a nerd. That's not persecution, that's life. Sikhs dress like Sikhs, and are sometimes shot as a result - THAT is persecution.

4. Lots of people carry their bibles around in public without any retribution at all. Some carry the Koran, some the Tibetan Book of the Dead, some the Book of Mormon and some the lastest issue of their local daily newspaper. If the people you hang with don't like what you carry around, find different people to hang with.

5. Yep, they teach evolution in school as part of the science program because it is supported by scientific evidence, not theological evidence. Creationism is supported by theology, not science. You want your kid to learn Creationsim then send 'em to a faith-based private school or better yet, teach them at home. Remember that pesky first amendment? The same one that prevents the government from forcing you to prayto someone else's god, gods or God in public? It's the same one that prevents the government from forcing you to believe someone else's religion. Creationism is part of YOUR religion, not necessarily everyone elses.

6. Kids can legally mention Christmas all they want. The schools can not. It's that pesky first amendment thing again. The one that does not force you or your kids to celebrate Ramadan, Kwanzaa, or Hanakah against your own beliefs.

Frankly, if those are the worse cases of persecution you ever face because of your beliefs I think you should count yourself pretty darned lucky. Think about it - you were never beaten by school officials for wearing religious icons, for speaking the language of your birth and religion, nor were you stolen from your parents to be placed with "adoptive" parents from a different culture and religion. You have not been shot because of your beliefs, you have not been fed to lions, you have not been thrown in prison or tortured and you haven't been hung from a crossed stick.

Christianity has not been outlawed, the government is simply not allowed to promote Christianity over other religions. I really don't see that as qualifying as "persecution".

Swanny






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WizardofOwls 
Posted on 06-Dec-2005, 12:10 PM
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You say all of this because, from all appearances (and forgive me if I am wrong), you are not a Christian. You have never been on the receiving end of any of this persecution. Try it one day. Try carrying a Bible around with you in public for one day, and we'll see what kind of reactions you get. Sure we are fortunate in the US in that we do have freedom of religion. We are not beaten , imprisoned or even put to death for our beliefs (Yet! and I can foresee a day when it could come to that!), but that doesn't make it any less persecution, its just a matter of degree.
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WizardofOwls 
Posted on 06-Dec-2005, 12:16 PM
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QUOTE (Swanny @ 06-Dec-2005, 12:00 PM)
4. Lots of people carry their bibles around in public without any retribution at all. Some carry the Koran, some the Tibetan Book of the Dead, some the Book of Mormon and some the lastest issue of their local daily newspaper. If the people you hang with don't like what you carry around, find different people to hang with.

I forgot to mention this one - it is considered "In vogue" nad even popular and cool to follow other religions these days. If you carry one of these books with you, you are likely to get curious people asking you questions about your religion. But not with a Bible! You'll most likely just gets snorts of derision and mockery. Even anger. I know. I've been there.
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stoirmeil 
Posted on 06-Dec-2005, 01:29 PM
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OK, there's something in what you both are saying. You don't have to be thrown to a lion to feel pretty damned bad at being ridiculed. It does happen, I've seen it happen. I have to say, some of the anger directed at bible-carrying believers has been in response to being proselytized without asking for information, but other instances have been unprovoked. Christian teens can also catch a lot of crap in public high schools, not all of which can be headed off by faculty and staff, and teen peer abuse can be quite damaging. On the other hand, Swanny has a point that it's a matter of degree. You are pretty much free to seek out and group yourself with like-minded people to find a source of support. To my knowledge, Christian groups are not regularly ghettoized, segregated, raided or otherwise dispossessed, and the like. I don't like to make small of your concerns, Allen, but I sincerely doubt Christians will ever be put to death for their beliefs in this country.

I don't know what other objective benchmark we can use to determine what "persecution" really is, other than violation of protection and rights extended under the law. I do know psychological persecution that is very severe can fall well within legal limits, however. (I have had a number of markedly obese kids I've counselled talk about ending their lives because of the constant, pervasive persecution they suffer.) There seems to be a price to pay for nonconformity across the whole animal kingdom, and part of your survival adaptability is to find a way to protect yourself. I think Americans in general are luckier than most in the world because we can form enclaves of the like-minded with a minimum of interference.
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SCShamrock 
Posted on 06-Dec-2005, 04:07 PM
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QUOTE (Swanny @ 06-Dec-2005, 12:00 PM)

1. Thee is no law that says you can't pray in public. Simply laws the prohibit the government from forcing you to do so.


This is a true statement, on the surface at least. However, the laws you refer to are abused and misinterpreted (misapplied, you pick) in an effort to ridicule/condemn/persecute Christians. ONLY Christians. There is not another religious group in this nation that is under such public condemnation as is Christianity. The word "God" is not the offense, but rather the word "Jesus." Muslims believe in God, but they call him Allah. See how this religion is held in high esteem by its followers being given the privileges they receive here in America. From their garb, to their prayer sessions, to their dress, Muslims in America are granted an unwritten waiver in public schools across the country. The same is true with Judaism. While there are those instances of a Muslim not being allowed their prayer cloth here, or the Jew his beanie (sorry, can't remember the proper name just now) there, these kinds of examples pale in comparison to the outright discrimination that Christians face. For all the hoopla surrounding the pre-game prayers, I find this to be a poor example of persecution. However, the example I supplied in the original post with the girl in the UK is a common practice here in our country. Now I promised examples, and I'll give them. But at the moment I have homework to do, so it may be tomorrow or Thursday before I can, but they will be here. Thanks for the opinions thus far, and do keep them coming. smile.gif
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Senara 
Posted on 06-Dec-2005, 05:06 PM
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Unfortunately, ridicule happens to individuals no matter what faith they believe in. I myself fall more into a pagan (not wiccan btw) category and it is ridiculed constantly even though I don't let people know what my beliefs are. Still, that ridicule only comes from people who were taught that my beliefs are "evil". Because I don't follow the christian/judiasm/hebrew based faiths it somehow makes me less of a person? I am just as spiritual as anyone else but my belief system is different. I'm far from evil and those that know me will concurr.

I grew up in a public school, went to a public university, and work in a industrial field now. The one thing that I think is severely lacking in any of these areas is the idea of acceptance (not just in religious matters). I have seen christians ridicule christians because there are certain people that just allow themselves to be victimized in such a way. Does it make it right? No...but it still persists and no amount of bible/koran/scroll thumping will change that. The only thing that will change the these things is for individuals take the time to try to understand where another person is coming from and willing to listen without bias to actually learn something from a new perspective.


Just because you are of one religion or another doesn't make you superior to anyone else. It still only means you're a human being with emotions and needs.


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Posted on 06-Dec-2005, 10:33 PM
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QUOTE
81% of American adults identify themselves with a specific religion


QUOTE
76.5% (159 million) of Americans identify themselves as Christian.


QUOTE
1.3% are Jewish.


QUOTE
0.5% are Muslim, followers of Islam


QUOTE
14.1% do not follow any organized religion.


QUOTE
The Graduate Center conducted a National Survey of Religious Identification (NSRI) in 1990. It questioned 113,723 individuals about how they viewed themselves religiously. A similar American Religious Identification Survey (ARIS) was conducted in 2001-FEB to APR. The latter included telephone interviews of 50,281 persons who were 18 years of age or older. Phone calls were limited to residential households from the contiguous 48 states. For a reason that is unclear, Hawaii and Alaska were left out of the survey. Additional questions were added, about religious beliefs, affiliation and change.  Although ARIS involves less than half the number of subjects than NSRI, it is still very accurate; ARIS's margin of error is +- 0.3 percentage points for the main questions. Additional questions were asked at a smaller sample of 17,000 households; the margin of error for those questions is +-0.77%.


That 76.5% of the US population (214.2 millon out of 280 million) are being bullied by the remaining 23.5% (65.8 million people). That says to me getover it, stop whining and grow up. I am sick of victims and I don't care where they are from even if they are in my own house



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Swanny 
Posted on 06-Dec-2005, 10:44 PM
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You say all of this because, from all appearances (and forgive me if I am wrong), you are not a Christian. You have never been on the receiving end of any of this persecution.


You are only partially correct. I am not Christian. Today you should feel really special, because I very rarely share my religious affiliation with others simply because I don't like being ridiculed, nor do I enjoy being threatened with physical violence. I also dislike people making assumptions about my life experiences based on their preconceived notions of my religion (that's a hint).

My religious beliefs are traditional Native American. I have frequently been on the receiving end of some of the sorts of "persecution" you described, including offers to kick my "Indian-loving a$$" While most of my ancestry is Scots, I also have Choctaw blood flowing in my veins (3 generations removed) and until recently I was married into the Comanche (2 generations removed). As just one example of government 'persecution' of my religious freedom, it is illegal for me to possess some of the 'icons' of my faith (specifically, feathers of migratory bird species, eagles, hawks or owls). Thus far I haven't heard of any widespread political movement to outlaw the Holy Bible, or crucifixes, or any other Christian icons.

Government persecution of some Native American religions (not my own, but nonetheless valid and widely accepted Native belief systems) continues to this day. In 1990 two Native American Church members were fired from their jobs for their ceremonial use of peyote. They filed claims for unemployment compensation, but were turned down because they had been dismissed for misconduct. Dozens of religious organizations supported their claim that their free exercise of religion should allow their religious use of peyote. The Supreme Court held that they had no right to free exercise of religion that transcended otherwise valid laws. The Congress responded by passing, in 1993, the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, which sought to extend free-exercise rights, but that was struck down by the Supreme Court in 1997 on grounds similar to those originally cited in the Smith case. (Reference Findlaw for Legal Professionals)

The reason I so rarely discuss my religious beliefs with others is because I grew weary of being referred to as a "heathen" or "pagan" or "wannabe" or "twinkie" or many far worse insults, which most frequently fall from the lips of self-proclaimed "good Christians". The occasional threats of physical violence didn't help my attitude one bit.

So please, don't presume that I don't understand 'religious persecution' simply because I am not a Christian and please don't expect me to extend more than a modicum of sympathy for your perceived 'persecution'. While I am a little bit sorry that you sometimes have to face the same sorts of issues that I've had to face because of my beliefs, I can't help but think that sometimes "what goes around comes around".

QUOTE
This is a true statement, on the surface at least. However, the laws you refer to are abused and misinterpreted (misapplied, you pick) in an effort to ridicule/condemn/persecute Christians. ONLY Christians. There is not another religious group in this nation that is under such public condemnation as is Christianity.


There isn't another religious group in this nation under such public condemnation? My first smart-aleck thought was "Sheesh!!! Try being a practicing Muslim or Sihk in Fairbanks, Alaska." As nearly as I can tell, Muslims aren't particularly popular in the Lower-48, either.

My more serious response is this. I agree that the laws I refer to are frequently misapplied, ignored and in some cases even abused. I believe that when they are, it becomes the responsibility of those whose rights are trampled to take the necessary legal means to correct the inequity. They are the ones with the necessary legal standing to do so. Yes, it's expensive, it's time consuming, it's aggravating and frustrating but taking action is usually far more effective than merely complaining about the situation.

Senara, hang in there. You have the right to your own beliefs, but if you see a bunch of conservatively dressed people in your front yard piling firewood up around a stake you might want to consider what Stoirmeil wrote about "survival adaptability." I don't think the fellow lighting the match will be terribly interested in the concept of 'religious tolerance". wink.gif

Swanny
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SCShamrock 
Posted on 07-Dec-2005, 12:01 AM
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QUOTE (Swanny @ 06-Dec-2005, 10:44 PM)



There isn't another religious group in this nation under such public condemnation?  My first smart-aleck thought was "Sheesh!!!  Try being a practicing Muslim or Sihk in Fairbanks, Alaska."  As nearly as I can tell, Muslims aren't particularly popular in the Lower-48, either.


First I want to say Swanny that I thoroughly enjoyed your last post. Brilliant. thumbs_up.gif

I can't help but think, however, that the quote of yours which I have captured here is an example of miscommunication. By "public", I don't mean society, I mean government. I'm sorry, but to me those words are fairly synonymous, e.g., public housing, public record, public property, etc.

With that in mind, I stand by my statement. The good people (citizens) of Fairbanks may well be unreceptive to the Muslim, as is the case with the good people of Lexington, South Carolina. However, the government of the United States, which in many ways permeates the fibers of the state and local governments, is receptive to them. Dare I say, they are very nearly embracing of them. I won't try to change your views, but would like to clarify my own for the sake of the discussion.

Before going any further, those of you who are interested in this topic might find this an interesting read. It is former Alabama Governor Fob James' letter to Judge Ira DeMent, written on June 27 of 1997. It is a lengthy piece, but worth the time in my opinion.

QUOTE (birddog2002001)
That 76.5% of the US population (214.2 millon out of 280 million) are being bullied by the remaining 23.5% (65.8 million people). That says to me getover it, stop whining and grow up. I am sick of victims and I don't care where they are from even if they are in my own house


I'm sorry, but I couldn't find a word of your entire post that bears any relevance to the discussion, or the question over the existence of Christian/religious persecution. Perhaps it is buried somewhere beneath the venomous blather?
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Swanny 
Posted on 07-Dec-2005, 11:08 AM
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However, the government of the United States, which in many ways permeates the fibers of the state and local governments, is receptive to them (Muslims). Dare I say, they are very nearly embracing of them.


This is off-topic, but may deserve to be addressed in it's own thread. Unless a skipped a groove somewhere, I belive that this thread has to do with the perceived 'persecution' of Christians in the United States, not the perception of special treatment of Muslims.

QUOTE
By "public", I don't mean society, I mean government.


I'm either very confused or your arguments are becoming a bit inconsistent. Sorry if I'm being terribly dense, but most of the 'abuses' you cited in the beginning of this thread were cases in which members of society allegedly "persecute" Christians, not of "government" persecution.

We've already shown that those laws and regulations promulgated by Government that have survived tests by the SCOTUS do not prohibit most of the acts that you alleged were behaviors of "persecution", and I've conceded that many of those SCOTUS rulings are fequently improperly interpreted or applied at the local level, and since you've not challenged that argument I assume that you've also conceded the point. We've also noted that it is the responsibility of those with legal standing to take legal action to address those issues, and that point also has not been argued.

I skimmed the letter you referenced, which refers to the issue posting the 10 Commandments on government property. It seems to me that failure to provide special recognition to one religious group over others does not quite meet the definition of "persecution".

If we want to change the subject I'd prefer we do so on a new thread, so that we can hear from others in this particular debate.

Swanny

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SCShamrock 
Posted on 07-Dec-2005, 02:01 PM
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QUOTE (Swanny @ 07-Dec-2005, 11:08 AM)
If we want to change the subject I'd prefer we do so on a new thread, so that we can hear from others in this particular debate.


QUOTE (SCShamrock)
I put this thread in the Politics Live Online forum because this discussion cannot exist apart from discussing politics as well, as it is most often government that orchestrates outward persecution of Christians in this country.


I think this adequately addresses your concerns.

As for your Muslims comment, preferential treatment of one group is discrimination against another--particularly when it pertains to groups that are as similar in their composition as are Muslims and Christians. Sorry, but this is all on topic. I'll monitor from here, thanks.
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Antwn 
Posted on 07-Dec-2005, 05:42 PM
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Without even getting into the centuries of actual persecution enacted by Christians themselves which make your examples of "persecution" laughable by comparison, I would like to suggest that I think Christians tend to deny their own complicity in this sort of social backlash. I don't deny that the events you've described occur, or that you deserve equal respect, but I suspect you collectively deny the effects of your own efforts at social reconstructionism coupled with the intimidation that the power of your numbers creates. If you perceive yourselves as simple people just following your faith, you also deny your collective influence as a social force historically. The idea that secular government would best secure the freedom for all religions might just have been inspired by the history of Christianity in Europe for example. Amid your whining about your victimization, you might take some responsibility for the incredible social influence you have and the repercussions which ensue in the way you brandish it.

For example, when you have a president who claims his presidential directives come directly from his christian god, christian reconstructionists who want to replace the constitution with some incarnation of biblical law, insistence that jurisprudence based on a set of secular laws contain outside its courts your religious edicts as if they had a rightful place, and people who believe that America was founded on the Christian religion and that fact bestows some inherent social-political entitlement to Christianity above all - AND you enjoy the vast majority of believers of any religion in the country, what kind of reaction do you expect? Perhaps its this belief in the inherent entitlements of Christianity like some spiritual manifest destiny that inspired the backlash you complain of. The only real entitlements you have, outside of the cosmic one's you may believe are part and parcel of your faith, are those you enjoy only because you're such an overwhelming majority. Yet rectitude is not synonymous with power, and an alteration of your public relations strategy may have a more productive effect than whining about victimization. I must say however, that in today's climate the benefits of holding up one's victimization as some badge of honor cannot be discounted either.


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Hon ydyw iaith teimladau,
Ac adlais i guriadau
Fy nghalon ydyw hi
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