A Republican lawmaker was forced to clarify a controversial post she wrote on social networking site Facebook after critics deemed it to be "racist."
In January, Tennessee's House majority floor leader, Rep. Sheila Butt, called for the formation of "a Council of Christian Relations and a NAAWP in this Country," which left critics up in arms.
The post was in response to an open letter from the Council on American-Islamic Relations — an organization that the United Arab Emirates has labeled a terrorist group — urging potential presidential candidates to reach out to American Muslim voters in a bid to help tackle Islamophobia. Some interpreted the acronym NAAWP to mean the National Association for the Advancement of White People, which was an organization was founded by former Klu Klux Klan leader David Duke.
"It saddens me that we have come to a place in our society where every comment by a conservative Christian is automatically scrutinized as being racist," Butt wrote on Facebook last week in response to the backlash. "Instead of realizing that a previous comment on a friend's page was actually about making sure that every race, religion, gender and culture has a seat at the table, liberal groups have once again incorrectly and falsely made their own interpretation."
Butt said that the acronym was actually intended to stand for National Association for the Advancement of Western Peoples.
"That was an acronym that at that morning, I simply made up to say, 'National Association for the Advancement of Western Peoples,'" she told Nashville-based political blog View From The Hill. "I had no idea that had ever been used for that before. So that's something that just came out of nowhere, actually."
The controversial post has since been deleted and it was replaced with, "We need groups that will stand for Christians and our Western culture. We don't have groups dedicated to speaking on our behalf."
The GOP wasted no time distancing the Republican Party from Butt with TNGOP Chairman Chris Devaney saying it does not condone her post.
"Rep. Butt's comments are her own and do not reflect the view of the Republican party," Devaney said, according to WKRN.
Ibrahim Hooper, CAIR's national communications director, expressed disappointment in a statement to the Huffington Post.
"We've unfortunately had too many Republican Party leaders and lawmakers make such statements," Hooper said. "It's really time that they address this issue as a party instead of just pretending that Islamophobia doesn't exist within their ranks."
Last month, Mississippi State Rep. Gene Alday, also a Republican, was forced to apologize after saying all blacks in his town are on welfare.
"But I am deeply sorry for my recent statements and I was wrong to say what I did, and there is no excuse for my behavior," Alday said on the House floor. "The statements may have hurt people, but I'm so sorry; I made a great mistake and I appreciate each and every one of you."