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Claiming Trans People Are Sex Offenders, Pastors’ Spokesperson Turns Out To Be Serial Rapist

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A group of pastors and conservative businessmen in a small Arkansas town are fighting a bill that would protect LGBT people from discrimination. Claiming gay, and especially transgender people are dangerous pedophiles, violent rapists, and “sex offenders,” they are using a man who, it turns out, is a convicted serial rapist, as their spokesperson.

Eureka Springs, Arkansas has a population of just 2073. One of the area’s local businesses, a passion play recreating the last support and the crucifixion of Jesus, has a theater that seats twice that number. The area is known for its reputed healing springs, its religious extremists, and its LGBT community. 

It’s not surprising that the town council passed a bill to protect its LGBT citizens from discrimination, and it’s not surprising that local pastors and conservatives teamed up to fight the ordinance as if it were the battle of Jericho. They also claim the bill would dissuade Christians from visiting the town, harming its tourism industry.

LOOK: Little Rock Challenges Arkansas’ Religious Freedom Law

Pastors and conservatives paid for an ugly, lying ad, which appeared in a local newspaper.

“If you think tourists are going to be excited about even the possibility that their wives, daughters and girlfriends will be sharing a bathroom with a guy who decides he’s ‘transgender’ just to have a little fun (or worse) at the ladies’ expense, you don’t know tourists and you don’t know sex offenders,” the newspaper ad reads.

They also released a four-minute video featuring local area pastors, a pastor’s wife, a lawmaker, and a “concerned grandmother” as spokespeople fighting the bill. Voters will decide if the nondiscrimination ordinance will stay on the books or be repealed on May 12.

But the group that released the video included a local pastor who, as the Arkansas Times first reported today, “is a convicted serial rapist.”

“Acra Lee Turner, 60, currently serves as a pastor of Penn Memorial Baptist Church in Eureka Springs,” David Koon at the Arkansas Times reports today. “In an interview with the Times, he confirmed that he is the same Acra Lee Turner who, as a 22-year-old man, was convicted of three counts of rape in Stephens County near Lawton, Okla. In April 1977, he was sent to prison for three concurrent sentences of 30 to 60 years for those crimes, including — according to this story from an Oklahoma newspaper — the rape of an 80-year old woman who was beaten so badly that she was almost unrecognizable.”

In the video, Pastor Turner says LGBT civil rights are not a human rights issue. No LGBT person he says, “has been lynched, no one has to sit on the back of the bus. It’s not a human rights issue, it’s a human behavior issue.”

He says he has nothing against gays, and that he loves them.

That video also includes a speech from another spokesperson the group chose. Joann Turner, identified as a Baptist pastor’s wife.

Turner claims the LGBT nondiscrimination ordinance would give anyone “the right to come into the ladies’ bathroom.”

“As a mother and as a grandmother, and having young children, even innocent ladies going into the bathroom, this [bill] would open us up to being abused in any way.”

Watch:

 

Image: Screenshot via Repeal 2223 Vote Against May 12/YouTube

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OPINION

Trump Is a Threat to Democracy – Even if He Loses: Signorile

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This article first appeared in Michelangelo Signorile’s Substack newsletter. To see the article in its original location or to subscribe, click here.

Here we’ve been for almost four years, worried that Donald Trump will destroy us if he wins re-election in two weeks.

But what about if he clearly and decisively loses? Prepare yourself for the fact that none of us is going to be able to take a vacation — even if he does accept the loss and vacates the White House in January.

Right now, Trump is projecting an air of invincibility. “We are going to win,” he told his campaign staffers yesterday. Later he told reporters, “I’m not running scared. I think I’m running angry. I’m running happy and I’m running very content ’cause I’ve done a great job.”

But this seems like damage control meant to stop the media from continuing to focus in on his rallies over the weekend, in which he pondered what would happen if he lost (“Maybe I’ll have to leave the country”) and begged suburban women for their votes (“Suburban women, please like me”).

According the Associated Press, quoting three campaign and White House officials, “Trump himself has alternated between disbelief and anger at the idea that he could lose to a candidate whom he views as washed up and incompetent.”

He’s freaking out. Even Trump, who often seems so out of touch with reality, sees what’s happening quite clearly. My hunch is that he knows it’s highly unlikely that he can turn things around this late in the game by switching positions, reaching out to women and people of color and others he’s losing badly, since voters are locked in and many despise him. And if he even tries, he’ll depress and possibly enrage his own base.

Another politician in such dire straits might just take that chance — certainly we’re seeing some GOP senators doing that, moving away a bit from Trump, though it’s likely far too late — but for Trump, a loss of support among his base after his re-election bid failed would be a loss of what he sees as a protective mass movement that will do anything for him.

Trump has got to be worried about investigations and prosecutions, and would no longer have the Justice Department, the military or the pardon power to wield as tools. And even if he tries to pardon himself for any crimes, which would ultimately go to the courts — or enacts the scenario his former fixer Michael Cohen envisions, in which he steps down in the lame duck, and Mike Pence briefly becomes president and pardons him — that won’t protect him from state charges.

To read the remainder of this article, visit Michelangelo Signorile’s Substack newsletter.

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THIS IS WHAT FASCISM LOOKS LIKE

Trump Publicly Demands Bill Barr Appoint Special Counsel to Investigate Joe Biden in Off-the-Rails Fox News Interview

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In a wide-ranging and off-the-rails Fox News interview President Donald Trump is demanding Attorney General Bill Barr appoint a special counsel to investigate his Democratic opponent, former Vice President Joe Biden, over Russian disinformation spread by his personal attorney and a conservative media outlet owned by his friend.

Trump told “Fox & Friends” Barr has “got to act” against the former vice president and his son Hunter Biden, insisting the Attorney General give credence to the disinformation before Election Day.

“We’ve go to get the Attorney General to act, and he’s got to act, and he’s got to act fast. He’s got to appoint somebody. This is major corruption and this has to be known about before the election,” Trump demanded, before declaring, “we’re going to win the election.”

Fox News mentioned the letter sent to Barr by just 11 of the 198 House Republicans calling for a special prosecutor to investigate the Bidens.

Overnight Politico reported: “More than 50 former senior intelligence officials have signed on to a letter outlining their belief that the recent disclosure of emails allegedly belonging to Joe Biden’s son ‘has all the classic earmarks of a Russian information operation.'”

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Image: Official White House Photo by Shealah Craighead via Flickr

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PRESIDENT PANDEMIC

‘Doubling’: CNN Hosts Visibly Unnerved After Hearing Doctor’s ‘Bleak’ New COVID Projections

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CNN hosts John Berman and Alisyn Camerota appeared unnerved after an infectious disease expert warned the country is about to experience “one of the darkest chapters in modern American history” thanks to the novel coronavirus pandemic.

Dr. Peter Hotez, the co-director of the Texas Children’s Hospital Center for Vaccine Development, told CNN on Tuesday that the next three months were likely to be absolutely horrific when it comes to Americans’ health and well being.

Hotez began by offering a message of hope by saying that, by this time next year, the situation with the COVID-19 pandemic should be much more under control.

However, he warned that things in the country are likely going to get worse in the meantime.

“As bad as it’s been it’s about to get worse,” he said. “And that’s based on projections about a fall/winter surge as people are indoors more… some of the projections just awful. We could be looking at a doubling of the number of deaths a week before the inauguration. This is tough stuff.”

Hotez said that the problem could get worse if Trump loses the election and then gives up even pretending to care about the virus.

“They haven’t really been very involved in creating a national response to begin with, I can only imagine what it’s like during that lame-duck session,” he said. “So people are going to feel abandoned. They’re going to feel on their own in what is going to be one of the darkest chapters in modern American history.”

At this point, CNN host Berman took a deep breath and said, “It’s pretty bleak.”

Watch the video below.

 

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