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On May 12, voters in Eureka Springs, Arkansas, will vote on whether to repeal Ordinance 2223, an anti-discrimination measure protecting LGBT people. And of course, there is a group of pastors and assorted wingnuts who want to make sure their little oasis is protected from the scourge of gays, throat-cramming everybody with their “lifestyles” and their “marriages,” and from the transgender people, who insist on going to the bathroom, so they can do sexually predatory things to innocent women and girls.

So the local pastors have been buying ads, trying to convince people to vote for repeal. In the video above, a Baptist pastor’s wife tells everyone the ordinance allows cross-dressing men to just march right into women’s bathrooms and show everybody their todgers (false), and a grandmother cries about the todger-showing she imagines happening when she can’t personally supervise. Oh, and it includes this guy! His name is Acra Lee Turner, he is a pastor, and the Arkansas Times reports that he is a serial rapist!

acraturner

Turner says that gayness is not a human rights issue, because nobody’s been lynched (UM…) and also no gays have had to sit in the back of the bus either; also, Turner was convicted of violently raping three women in 1977, including an 80-year-old woman whom he beat “almost beyond recognition.” He has also reportedly admitted there was at least one more victim.

The Arkansas Times reports that Turner is now the pastor of the Penn Memorial Baptist Church in Eureka Springs, and he is very sorry for raping all those women. He says he has turned his life around, therefore he’s now allowed to have an opinion on who’s likely to rape whom, in Eureka Springs, Arkansas. And really, according to Turner, we are ALL missing the point, by focusing on the fact that a guy who raped and beat the shit out of an 80-year-old woman is in a video that encourages discrimination against LGBT people. Why does the media insist on distracting everybody from the REAL story, which is trans people in potties? And then he tries to justify his past behavior:

Think about this: You’ve got a kid raised in the ghetto. You’ve got, “Say It Loud, I’m Black and I’m Proud!” going on. You’ve got, “Every white man is a blue-eyed devil.” Angela Davis and Stokely Carmichael, go out and kill every white man. It’s wrong information, but you give it to a young man just like we were doing in the day, and — you understand? I can relate to people when they go and join up with the ISIS group, because they’ve been told misinformation — brainwashed. I’m a young man who was told, “white man this and white man that. Do you know what they did to us?” Then when I look back, there wasn’t nothing done to me, but they make it so strong like, “I was in slavery all that time.” … You’re talking about an angry young man, just like you got them angry terrorists. So when I look at my past, the thing about that is, I snapped.

Oh NOW we get it! He raped ladies, because he was taught to hate white men, and he totally understands why people join ISIS. Wait, huh? THIS is the guy with whom grandmothers and mothers appear on video, tearily telling everyone about the Transgender Bathroom Menace? Pssssssst, ladies — the rapist is the one in the video with you. Not the trans people.

Another ad bought by the group, which ran in the local Eureka Springs paper, lists the names of people who have been convicted of cross-dressing and spying on women, and generally suggests that LGBT people, and transgender people in particular, are sex offenders. The ad reads, in part:

“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.”

That’s lovely! And of course, maliciously dishonest, intended to scare people who live in their own bubbles away from the real world. But we deal with the Fundamentalist Christians we have, not the ones who try to love people like Jesus did. Those fundies don’t seem to exist.

Eureka Springs is little, but it’s a tourist attraction, for people who want to go see their widely renowned Passion Play, and it’s also a very, very gay town. It’s a liberal little place, in the middle of the very conservative Ozark Mountains. It was not at all surprising that Eureka Springs passed a nondiscrimination ordinance protecting LGBT people. And it’s also definitely not surprising that there’s a horde of wingnuts working to make sure they can codify into law special protections that give them a license to discriminate against LGBT folks. Because Jesus, and also hate and ignorance.

But hey, it makes sense. Acra Lee Turner asked Jesus to forgive him for violently raping women. Fundamentalists love them a good redemption story. Maybe they’ll be nicer to the transgenders if instead of using the bathroom so much, they get down on their knees and REPENT!

[Arkansas Times/The New Civil Rights Movement]

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