News (USA)

MAGA candidate claims “Satanic forces” are “preying” on children through drag queen story hours

Pastor Mark Burns
Pastor Mark Burns Photo: Screenshot

South Carolina Republican Congressional candidate Mark Burns closed out his primary campaign Monday with a vicious anti-LGBTQ+ attack.

Ahead of today’s runoff election, the Trump-endorsed Burns released a video making his “final appeal” to South Carolina voters and reminding them of his virulently anti-LGBTQ+ position.

“Our nation is at a crossroad,” Burns says in the video. “And everyone I meet tells me they feel what I feel: that we are dangerously close to losing our country.”

Among his litany of MAGA talking points and outlandish claims about “terrorists and drug cartels” invading South Carolina, “traitor Joe Biden’s” Department of Defense destroying the military, and “medical tyrants” on a “homicidal march for total control” via vaccine mandates, Burns raised some familiar anti-LGBTQ+ specters to scare the state’s voters into supporting him.

“Our enemies are operating in plain sight,” he claims. “Evil is on the march and they’re not even trying to hide it. Satanic forces are taking over our schools, preying on our children with transgender surgeries and drag queen story hours.”

Contrary to Burns’s fear-mongering claim, South Carolina’s legislature passed a law last month prohibiting healthcare professionals in the state from providing puberty blockers, hormone therapy, or gender-affirming surgeries to people under the age of 18, even though such surgeries are almost never performed on minors.  

But wildly anti-LGBTQ+ statements and lies are just par for the course when it comes to Burns. The pastor and televangelist has run for Congress twice before, losing both his bids to represent South Carolina’s 4th Congressional District in 2018 and 2022. During his second campaign, Burns told right-wing radio host Stew Peters that parents who support LGBTQ+ children should be jailed for “abusing their child’s mind.”

“There is no such thing as trans kids, there are only abusive parents who are pushing that evil, evil sexual orientation onto their child’s mind,” he said.

In the same interview, Burns went on to describe “the LGBT, transgender grooming our children’s minds” as “a national security threat” and said that he wanted to revive the House Un-American Activities Committee “to start holding people accountable for treason.”

“We need to hold people for treason,” he said, “start having some public hearings and start executing people who are found guilty for their treasonous acts against the Constitution of the United States of America.”

And back in 2016, when Burns served as a campaign surrogate for Trump, he was also found to have lied about his education and military service. On his church’s website, he’d claimed that he’d earned a Bachelor of Science and served six years in the Army Reserve. He was never in the Army Reserve and he only attended North Greenville University for one semester. Burns claimed that the website had been “hacked,” but after CNN confirmed that there was no evidence of a hack, Burns released a statement admitting that he had “overstated several details of my biography.”

Burns is currently running for his party’s nomination to represent South Carolina’s 3rd congressional district, which the Associated Press has called “solidly Republican.” In April, he scored an endorsement from former president Donald Trump, and following the primary election earlier this month, he will face off against nurse practitioner Sheri Biggs in Tuesday’s run-off. Burns came in just ahead of Biggs in the June 11 primary, winning 33 percent of the vote to her 29 percent.

Whichever Republican wins on Tuesday will face Democrat Bryon Best in November’s general election.

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