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Will Leading Republican Homophobe Dave Agema Finally Resign?

Will Leading Republican Homophobe Dave Agema Finally Resign?


The Republican National Committee has again called for Agema's resignation, this time citing not a homophobic Web post but a racist one.


Dave Agema, the Republican National Committee member from Michigan who's drawn fire for homophobic, racist, and anti-Muslim statements, has apparently finally gone too far for the RNC.

The RNC's leaders formally censured Agema Wednesday and called for his resignation in light of his Facebook sharing of an article that characterized blacks as mentally inferior to other races and with greater criminal tendencies.

"Agema's history of harmful and offensive rhetoric has no place in our party, which is why the RNC Executive Committee acted in the swiftest way possible to avoid giving him a platform," RNC chairman Reince Priebus said Wednesday as the committee gathered for its winter meeting near San Diego, according to the Detroit Free Press. "We have voted to censure him and we are urging the Michigan GOP and their voters to explore options to discipline Agema for his actions. Today, we used all available tools to remove him from the committee."

If Agema refuses to resign, it's unclear if the RNC can oust him, the Free Press notes. Committee leaders first called for his resignation a year ago, and he did not offer it, though he admitted to "errors in judgment" in some of his statements. The RNC has no written rules for expelling members before the expiration of their terms; Agema's expires in 2016. It's possible that the full committee will adopt a resolution calling for his resignation, as some members have urged.

Agema put the latest post in question on his Facebook page New Year's Eve and has since removed it, but the article to which Agema linked is available here. It consisted of a blog entry by former Florida congressman Allen West, a black conservative, with West commenting on an article by a public defender about his experiences with blacks. The article was embedded within West's piece.

The public defender, using the pseudonym "Michael Smith," detailed his work with black and Latino defendants, writing, "My experience has also taught me that blacks are different by almost any measure to all other people. They cannot reason as well. They cannot communicate as well. They cannot control their impulses as well. They are a threat to all who cross their paths, black and non-black alike." The article initially appeared last year in American Renaissance, an online magazine published by a racist think tank of the same name.

West headlined his commentary on Smith's article "Quite Possibly the Most Racist Article You Will Ever Read," but he did not indicate he disagreed with it. Instead, he wrote, "Smith articulates that which ails the black community -- the real discussion we should be having on race, not that of victimhood and the further expansion of the welfare nanny-state. ... The facts and observations in this are not shocking to me. They are quite well known, but the manner in which the writer so eloquently presents them is quite commendable."

Agema sought to defend himself in a Tuesday Facebook post, saying, "Once again I find the same people making false statements concerning a repost of an article I got from Col West's (former congressman) news letter as my words and opinion. I make no accusation that I agree with the statements supporting the author he posted. I do support Col West's commentary concerning the authors article and not the content of the article itself." (The "Col" refers to West's former Army rank.) Agema has so far not commented on the RNC's censure vote and call for his resignation.

The latest controversy for Agema, a former Michigan state legislator, does not involve anti-LGBT statements, but he has made or endorsed many of those in the past. In March 2013 on his Facebook page, he shared an essay on "facts" about homosexuality -- such as "the median age of death of lesbians is 45" and "homosexuals are 100 times more likely to be murdered" -- written by a supposed physician named Frank Joseph and drawing on the work of Holocaust denier Edward Fields.

In December 2013 he told a Republican group in Berrien County, Mich., that gay people want free health care because "they're dying between 30 and 44 years old." A year ago this month, he posted on Facebook that Russia's antigay law was "common sense." He was also the sponsor of a resolution that reaffirmed the RNC's opposition to marriage equality.

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Trudy Ring

Trudy Ring, The Advocate's copy chief, has spent much of her journalistic career covering the LGBT movement. When she's not fielding questions about grammar, spelling, and LGBT history, she's sharing movie trivia or classic rock lyrics.
Trudy Ring, The Advocate's copy chief, has spent much of her journalistic career covering the LGBT movement. When she's not fielding questions about grammar, spelling, and LGBT history, she's sharing movie trivia or classic rock lyrics.