RNC Chair Urges “Dignity and Respect” for All After Michigan GOP Official’s Facebook Post On “Filthy” Homosexuals

Priebus issues statement after young Republicans denounce official's citation of anti-gay article

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Joshua Roberts / Reuters

Edie Windsor, plaintiff in the hearing against the Defense of Marriage Act, celebrates after arguments outside the Supreme Court in Washington on March 27, 2013.

The Republican National Committee did little Thursday to quell the uproar over a controversial Facebook posting by committeeman Dave Agema of Michigan on “filthy” homosexuals that has prompted calls for his resignation or removal from the party’s leadership.

On Wednesday, Agema copy-pasted an article by “Frank Joseph, M.D.” entitled “Everyone Should Know These Statistics on Homosexuals” onto his Facebook page. The article includes the statement that “part of the homosexual agenda is to get the public to affirm their filthy lifestyle.”

The posting was quickly flagged and denounced by a group of young Republicans, including precinct delegate Dennis Lennox, operative Brad Fingeroot, and many college Republicans. “This isn’t about what we believe either politically or as women and men of faith,” the Republicans said in a statement to reporters late Wednesday. “This is about common decency and realizing that you cannot win an election by insulting a wide swath of the electorate, whose votes our Republican Party needs to once again form a national majority. We do not have confidence in Mr. Agema representing the best interests of our fellow Michigan Republicans and as a result ask him to resign from his seat on the Republican National Committee.”

RNC Chairman Reince Priebus responded to the controversy in a statement to TIME Thursday: “The party’s position on traditional marriage is clear but as I have been saying, all human beings deserve to be treated with dignity and respect,” he said. But Priebus stopped short of directly condemning Agema.

One GOP insider says the message should be clear, however: “Anyone who publishes something like that is too stupid to be a member of the committee; his comments are the opposite of what Reince has been advocating.”

That response echoed remarks by Michigan GOP chairman Bobby Schostak, who implied that the statement “undermines” the party platform but did not repudiate the posting or call for Agema to step aside. “Our party remains in support of traditional marriage but that should never be allowed nor confused with any form of hate or discrimination toward anyone,” he said in a statement. “Any statement or message in contrast undermines our party’s platform and our common sense conservative message.”

The effort to push Agema aside has drawn support from the gay Republican group GOProud, whose executive director Jimmy LaSalvia praised the Agema opponents for their comments.

“Conservatives in Michigan get it,” he said in a statement. “They understand that while we can disagree on issues like marriage, our movement and our party cannot and should not tolerate rank anti-gay bigotry.”

The young Republicans had called for Priebus to begin removal proceedings against Agema to unseat him as national committeeman, but an RNC official confirmed to TIME that the party’s rules do not allow the national party to remove state officials.

Each state has three GOP national committee members, a group composed of that state’s party chair, plus one committeeman and one committeewoman.

In a statement, Agema didn’t back down from posting the article, saying the media had taken someone else’s words as his own. “I copied and pasted a piece written by another author onto Facebook and some conservative publications and even a few liberal Republicans have chosen to take the words of someone else and cast them as my own,” he said. “I think it was a piece worth sharing given the debate over gay marriage that is happening in the Supreme Court. I strongly maintain my position in support of marriage as being between a man and a woman and will not back down from my core beliefs in support of strengthening the family.”

Lennox encouraged the RNC to take a tougher line against Agema.

“It’s clear that Republicans need to learn a lesson in the wake of Todd Aiken, Sharron Angle, and other candidates who have said deplorable things like this,” he said. “They spit in the face of voters whose support we need if we’re going to win the White House again.”

Update 1:

Here is a portion of the Facebook post:

Dave Agema

UPDATE 2: RNC Chairman’s Office responds to GOProud complaint.

GOProud Executive Director Jimmy LaSalvia questioned RNC Chairman Reince Priebus’ response to Agema’s comments in an email to a Priebus aide Thursday, calling the GOP chairman’s comments “very weak.”

“I’m sorry but we cannot respect anti-gay bigots. Just like anyone who hates blacks, Jews, women, or anyone else simply because of who they are,” he said in an email obtained by TIME. “Weak response. Very weak.”

RNC Deputy Chief of Staff Sara Armstrong responded by email that Priebus was being tough on Agema’s comments.

“Gosh, the Chairman wasn’t implying that at all. He was trying to say that he sees how Agema’s posting would offend people and that everyone should be treated with respect no matter if they are gay or straight. I’m sorry if you thought he was saying we should respect Agema for his statement. That was not the intent of the Chairman’s comment.”

78 comments
graveetas
graveetas

Typical GOP politician: Mention to your base un-politically correct diatribe, then apologize for for it later.  You want government out of your business, yet you want to limits women's rights on abortion.  I hope distention in the GOP continues to divide the party and reveal their true nature of bigotry.  (For those of you that want to know which tool I used, it was a 8" broad brush stroke with zero money from Corporations)  

curtisweathers
curtisweathers

@MaddowApp Hummm, loose social conservatives, gain blacks, gays, and latinos. Decisions...decisions...decision!

griffisk
griffisk

@MaddowApp Stop pushing perversion down Americans throats! We will NEVER accept this perversion. Bully all you want!

NorbitPeters
NorbitPeters

Yet there was nothing but silence and outspoken support by Democratic politicians over San Fransisco's Gay Pride parade, where lesbian radicals thrust crucifixes into their vaginas!

What the RNC should do is run those videos in a national ad campaign to educate the public on the bald-faced hypocrisy, insincerity,  and politically-calculated "outrage" of the Democratic Left - and their mainstream media echo chambers - over comparatively innocuous incidents such as this.

AtheistCatwoman
AtheistCatwoman

“The party’s position on traditional marriage is clear but as I have been saying, all human beings deserve to be treated with dignity and respect” -- Translation: "We don't respect you and we will deny you the dignity of being able to enter into a legally recognized marriage between you and the person you love because we think what you do is icky."

BruceS78
BruceS78

The GOP leadership and many other people in this country simply do not understand the concept of civility.  If you don;t have something constructive to say, then don't say it.  Insulting people isn't constructive if you want to rebuild a political party.

seraphimblade
seraphimblade

"No, no, no, no, no! You can't be HATEFUL while you're trying to make people second-class citizens, you have to be kind and compassionate about it! What is wrong with you????"

The cognitive dissonance here blows the mind.

bobcn
bobcn

Once again the gop is concerned with how to tailor their marketing to gain the votes of  a group that they have nothing but antipathy for.  First blacks, then Latinos, and now gays.  And always the poor.

Just days ago we heard :  "Priebus cited former governor Mike Huckabee of Arkansas as an example of someone who could be “a model for a lot of people in our party” in terms of discussing issues like marriage and abortion. “I always tell people: Listen to Governor Mike Huckabee,” he said. “I don’t know anyone that talks about them any better.”

http://www.nationalreview.com/corner/343723/priebus-huckabee-model-gop-andrew-stiles

From gop 'model' Huckabee we hear today that evangelicals will 'take a walk' if the gop supports marriage equality.

http://www.towleroad.com/2013/03/mike-huckabee-evangelicals-will-take-a-walk-if-gop-supports-marriage-equality-video.html#.UVIhKSjEJ2A.reddit

For years the gop establishment has been successful by using socially divisive 'wedge issues' to gain the votes of people that they had no real interest in supporting.  The primary goal of the party establishment has always been to redirect as much of the nation's wealth to their rich patrons and corporations as possible, while removing as many protections from the working class and poor as possible.  Now, as their wedge issues are becoming a liability, they're trying to find a marketing solution to get themselves out of the trap they've created for themselves.   But it's too late. 

After running against abortion for decades (with no real intention to do anything about it) they can't get away from it now.  They've elected extremists who are repeatedly passing laws that the majority of the country doesn't support -- and it's costing them votes.  

They never really had any concern about the deficit except as a campaign issue when Democrats are in power.  Now they're trapped by the fiscal extremists they've put in power.  We have a sequester that they refuse to fix but, at the same time, they complain about losing government services and military contracts.  They only know how to make points -- not govern.

Ninety percent of the country is in favor of firearm reforms, but after running with the wedge issues of  'Guns, God, and Gays' for so long, they just can't produce a rational approach to dealing with the issue.  Their response is to either deny (in the face of overwhelming evidence) that a problem exists or to hide from it.  Once again a wedge issue that used to be reliable is working against them.  If they succeed in killing gun reform they will have succeeded in frustrating 90% of the electorate.

The bigoted RNC committeeman who is the subject of this article isn't an aberration.  He's the modern face to the GOP.  

calatayud7
calatayud7

@jbarro The GOP just does not get it about what works and what doesn't. Piebus can talk all that he wants, but no one is listening.

Ohiolib
Ohiolib

One small problem here: the GOP wouldn't understand dignity and respect if it bit them on the arse..And then danced naked in front of them.

mantisdragon91
mantisdragon91

Good words of wisdom to live by is to be for anything guys like Kevin Groenhagen are against.

mantisdragon91
mantisdragon91

This party really can't go away fast enough. What ever replaces them is almost certain to be better for this country long term almost by default.

notsacredh
notsacredh

That response echoed remarks by Michigan GOP chairman Bobby Schostak, who implied that the statement “undermines” the party platform but did not repudiate the posting or call for Agema to step aside. “Our party remains in support of traditional marriage but that should never be allowed nor confused with any form of hate or discrimination toward anyone,” he said in a statement. “Any statement or message in contrast undermines our party’s platform and our common sense conservative message and should only be spoken in code. If we are to trick the people we despise into voting for us we're going to have to be a little sneakier about it”



 

Paul,nnto
Paul,nnto

As the republican "outreach" to the groups that have rejected them, that is to say everyone not make and white, continues I must give them points for honesty.

It's not about right and wrong, it's about "we need their votes".  I'm old enough to remember a day when the republicans were good at politics-always lousy with actual governing but good at winning elections-and now they can't go a day without stepping on their collective...let's go with message.

notsacredh
notsacredh

It was just an outreach feeler for inclusion.

Hollywooddeed
Hollywooddeed

So when is the GOTP going to stop being the stupid party again?  Reince?  Anybody?

kbanginmotown
kbanginmotown

We grow a *fine* batch of Haters here in Michigan...

deconstructiva
deconstructiva

I hope this is NOT another good cop / bad cop scenario, aka "oh wait, we really didn't mean that (but we said it anyway)". Reince Priebus acting as a "good cop" is ironic, and so insincere. No outright condemnations or success at stopping the venom? I've seen too many Law & Order: SVU episodes (and Stabler's constant beating up the perps) to be suspicious of RNC "we're sorry" comments when the diatribes keep coming from the GOP tribe anyway.

seraphimblade
seraphimblade

@BruceS78 Let them keep it up. I'm hoping to hear a tremendous number of "legitimate rape" and such comments in 2014 and 2016. The quicker they run themselves off the cliff, the better it is for the rest of us.

Ever since the Republicans got taken over by the far-right evangelicals and "tea party" types, they've utterly lost their mind, and there's no pulling them back at this point. Let them get over the cliff quickly and not drag it out.

bobcn
bobcn

@calatayud7 @jbarro 

Priebus has a worse problem -- people remember what he said.

bobcn
bobcn

@Ohiolib 

If dignity and respect were dancing naked in front of the gop --would it use a very dignified waltz?

bobcn
bobcn

@sacredh 

Haven't they learned anything from Romney?  Gopers should never say what they truly mean in public -- and confiscate the cameras the rest of the time.  

tommyudo
tommyudo

@sacredh 

I think that Preibus is seeking  more of a wrap around than he is a reach out:-)

bobcn
bobcn

@deconstructiva 

I expect that most here have seen this before -- but just in case:

Reincee Priebus has the perfect name for his job.  If you spell his name without the vowels you get ReiNCee PRieBuS -- or RNC PR BS.

fitty_three
fitty_three

@deconstructiva  

You aren't insinuizing that things like Mehlman's apology over the GOP's use of Southern Strategy is going to change things, am you?

notsacredh
notsacredh

bobcn, they need shock collars and babysitters. They've demonstrated an amazing inability to learn from anything. Priebus has his work cut out for him but he might as well be writing his suggestions in the sand with the tide coming in.

S_Deemer
S_Deemer

@KevinGroenhagen @llondo @Reince @BobSchostak @DaveAgema 

Representative Mitchell's statement is at least as reprehensible. Perhaps people have higher expectations for Michigan than for Alabama. I live in Georgia, and the unofficial license plate motto for many southern states is "Thank God for Alabama" (or Mississippi). Bigotry has no geographical limits.

outsider
outsider

Ignore him fifty$

A) he's changing the subject, and bY he isn't worth your time.

There will be enough drive by hate to comment on - groeny is just a bigot. Don't dignify him, or his bs.

@53_3 @KevinGroenhagen

mantisdragon91
mantisdragon91

@KevinGroenhagen @53_3 Take you stalking and insults elsewhere Troll. There is nothing you post that does anything other than bring shame to what was once a great national party.

fitty_three
fitty_three

-------------------------------> w   h  o  o   s   h

....................g  <----------------groeny

KevinGroenhagen
KevinGroenhagen

@53_3 If "this" is being an ignorant and demagogic moonbat, then, no, I'm not very good at this.

fitty_three
fitty_three

You're not very good at this, groeny.

KevinGroenhagen
KevinGroenhagen

@53_3Right. The moron who wrote "Maybe because blog posts aren't news?" thinks he made a point that was over my head. Hilarious.

fitty_three
fitty_three

----------------> whoosh

........Y <------Groeny

KevinGroenhagen
KevinGroenhagen

@53_3 @KevinGroenhagen See, this is why I consider you to be such a moron. The blog item I linked to came from the blog of a newspaper group in Alabama. You saw "blog" and figured it was just some individual who posted the item.