Yesterday, Michigan’s RNC National Committeeman Dave Agema posted a copy of Dr. Frank Joseph’s online article “Everyone Should Know These Statistics on Homosexuals”. The article uses studies done decades ago, most of which have been debunked by more recent studies; some of the other claims are just simply false. This article does a good job of going through and detailing the false claims from the article. At least 2 of the claims are easily debunked (and at that point, it doesn’t matter how many are false – if there’s at least one, then Agema should’ve put a disclaimer): (1) the APA still lists pedophilia in its Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders; (2) the claim that homosexuals are much more promiscuous than heterosexuals was debunked by a survey done by a dating web site.
After posting the article, media outlets began picking up the fact that Agema had posted it and began blasting him for posting a “Homophobic Facebook Post”; some Michigan GOP activists and precinct delegates have begun calling for Agema to resign.
Agema has said he will not resign and defended his post, saying, “Some publications, and even a few liberal Republicans, have chosen to take the words of someone else and cast them as my own…. I think the piece was worth sharing given the debate over gay marriage that is happening in the Supreme Court.”
He later sent out an email saying, “First, I didn’t write these words, I simply posted them. More importantly, I will not back down. I will dig in and fight even harder to defend our conservative values from these attacks by liberals in the media, and even in our own party.”
MI GOP Party Chairman Bobby Schostak has responded by saying, “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. Any statement or message in contrast undermines our party’s platform and our common sense conservative message.”
And I wholeheartedly agree with Chairman Schostak who has responded perfectly to this; ultimately Agema has a right to say what he wants to say, but he needs to keep in mind that when he speaks, many people will see it as speaking for the MI GOP as a whole, rather than just himself.
I have sent the following email to Committeeman Agema, and I would encourage fellow precinct delegates and party members to contact him with your thoughts:
I have seen news reports regarding your Facebook post about homosexuality, and they concern me. I am not going to immediately join the groups calling for your resignation. I think that such calls are premature. Everyone makes mistakes, and I believe that you should be given time to correct yours.
That being said, what you did was grossly irresponsible as a RNC National Committeeman. You have to realize that when you post things on social media sites, you do more than express your own views; you speak for the MI GOP. You have defended your actions saying that you did not write the post; you merely posted something that someone else had written as part of a dialogue on the issue of homosexuality. That excuse just does not cut it for me. I disagree with those who have said those words were your own; they clearly were not; however, when you posted the article, you should have put such a disclaimer along with it.
The problem with what you posted is that that article is full of factually inaccurate statements (such as that pedophilia has been removed from the APA’s list of mental illnesses) and outdated studies. Conservatives and the GOP will lose the public debate on such issues when the left can easily debunk the premises that our conclusions are founded upon. How can our conclusions be taken seriously when the “facts” used to defend them are shown to be lies or outdated by decades? They cannot.
Please do the right thing and come out and fully apologize for posting this article. You are a party leader; it is unacceptable to pass along something as true when you could have so easily fact checked it to determine that these claims are not true. To not do so not only does a disservice to your good name, but to the party’s image.
As I said, everybody makes mistakes, and while this was a big mistake, the party can move past it if you apologize. But to react by simply making excuses is unacceptable.
I truly hope that you will take my words to heart and consider issuing an apology instead of excuses. That is the best action for both you, and more importantly, for the party that you represent.
I’ll close by saying again, that I think calls for his resignation are premature. If Agema says that he merely posted this as part of the debate on gay marriage, then I will take him at his word and believe that he does not agree with everything in the article; however, he needs to directly come out and say this. This post was more than insensitive; it was objectively inaccurate, and inaccuracies such as this will only hurt the GOP image and message.