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Michigan

Republican leaders put the heat on GOP committeeman for gay, Muslim attacks

Monday, January 20, 2014

LANSING, Mich. — As the Republican National Committee prepares for meetings in Washington this week, Gov. Rick Snyder and other party leaders in Michigan are criticizing committeeman Dave Agema for repeated anti-gay and anti-Muslim remarks.

The 64-year-old former state representative from western Michigan who serves on the Republican party’s national board.

Dave Agema

Dave Agema

Snyder made a semi-veiled reference to Agema in Thursday’s State of the State speech.

“In recent days and recent months in the state of Michigan, we’ve had people make comments that were derogatory, that were negative towards other people,” Snyder said. “I’d like to make a call to all citizens of Michigan to ask us have a greater degree of civility and respect to others of different backgrounds and different views.”

Last March, Agema posted an article on Facebook claiming gays account for half of murders in large cities. In December, he told Berrien County Republicans that his experience as an American Airlines pilot made him familiar with efforts by gays to get health insurance coverage because of the ravages of AIDS.

He also came under fire from the Council on American-Islamic Relations for a Facebook posting in 2012 questioning Muslims’ commitment to charity.

Ex-Republican National Committeewoman Betsy DeVos told The Detroit News that Agema was hurting the party.

“Leaders have a responsibility to create an inclusive, welcoming party, not to exclude,” DeVos said. “What’s going on is cause for concern about our future prospects as a party and our ability to bring people around to our point of view and long-term agenda. We are driving people away who might otherwise support what we stand for.”

Democratic state Chairman Lon Johnson issued a statement Sunday criticizing GOP leaders for not going further.

“It’s time for Republicans to remove Agema from his post, and to finally embrace common sense equality and non-discrimination protections for everyone in Michigan,” Johnson said.

So far, Agema has been largely mum on the controversy. He didn’t respond to a message from The Associated Press sent through Facebook last week or through his website Sunday. Agema doesn’t have a listed telephone number, and the AP left a message Sunday at a Grandville number that had been listed for him.

Republican consultant Joe Munem of Warren said he takes personal offense because his father is a Muslim. But Americans generally are alienated by this kind of talk, he told the Detroit Free Press.

“We have a national committeeman who feels it’s his duty to handicap the entire party by running around and creating this kind of divisiveness,” Munem said. “This nonsense is taking the entire party off message.”

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17 more reader comments:

  1. Hurry up. We have to be the last state to discriminate against the gays before SCOTUS tells all of us it’s UNCONSTITUTIONAL. Fucking republicans.

    Posted on Monday, January 20, 2014 at 4:51pm
  2. Just looking at that picture says it all. Come out of the closet, man. We’re all here waiting for you…

    Posted on Monday, January 20, 2014 at 5:02pm
  3. They just want to show up, freaking liarssss

    Posted on Monday, January 20, 2014 at 5:02pm
  4. Kinda late for them to be cleaning up their own house. They’ve already committed republicide all over the place. Glad to see some effort on their part to hold people accountable for they crap they spew. But the whole party is responsible for pandering to an ideological demographic and peddling an anti-equality and anti-constitutional agenda in order to pander for their votes. It’s called you made your own bed.

    Posted on Monday, January 20, 2014 at 5:02pm
  5. Remember the one pointing the finger has three more pointing back at themselves. Do you think he may be a closet case???

    Posted on Monday, January 20, 2014 at 5:03pm
  6. Let him go on, I say. The more he spews his ugly rhetoric, the better it is for Democrats!

    Posted on Monday, January 20, 2014 at 5:14pm
  7. Sounds like the Republitards are trying to make nice so they can win an election?

    Posted on Monday, January 20, 2014 at 5:26pm
  8. Yes. That is exactly what they are doing. Never, ever trust a Republican. They lie. They always have an ulterior motive. In fact, in many states, Republican candidates are registering as Democrats so they can run for office as Democrats, then vote for all Republican policies in local, state and federal legislatures. Vote out every last damned Republican in 2014 and 2016!

    Replied on Monday, January 20, 2014 at 7:00pm
  9. a ploy to win votes don’t fall for it

    Posted on Monday, January 20, 2014 at 5:28pm
  10. Someone needs to tell the AP that “The 64-year-old former state representative from western Michigan who serves on the Republican party’s national board” isn’t a sentence.

    Posted on Monday, January 20, 2014 at 5:29pm
  11. Finally the GOP is starting to realize they need to separat themselves from bigots. They are losing the fight against the Democrats so they need to move fast.

    Posted on Monday, January 20, 2014 at 5:33pm
  12. He is so in the closet!

    Posted on Monday, January 20, 2014 at 5:55pm
  13. Two groups who constantly under attack by bigoted imbeciles !

    Posted on Monday, January 20, 2014 at 6:30pm
  14. Ha ha ha haaaa…you reap what you soe.

    Posted on Monday, January 20, 2014 at 6:32pm
  15. All his statements prove is you don’t need intelligences to be an air plane pilot. We already new you didn’t need intelligences to be part of the GOP just looking as Sarah Palin

    Posted on Monday, January 20, 2014 at 6:39pm
  16. Is there such a thing as a republican politician who isn’t a total idiot? I have yet to see one.

    Posted on Monday, January 20, 2014 at 6:51pm
  17. One of the many reasons to vote straight line Democrat. Given the Republicans’ redistricting and various voter suppression tactics, make sure your vote is counted!

    Posted on Monday, January 20, 2014 at 9:25pm