A Republican lawmaker in Tennessee posted a comment to Facebook calling for a “Council on Christian Relations and an NAAWP in this Country,” The Tennessean newspaper reported on Wednesday.
According to the Tennessean, the post by state Rep. Sheila Butt (R) read:
“It is time for a Council on Christian Relations and an NAAWP in this Country.”
Her post, the newspaper reported, was in response to a Jan. 26 open letter by the Council on American-Islamic Relations that asked Republican presidential candidates to condemn Islamophobia and attempt to appeal to Muslim Americans. It has since been deleted, according to the paper.
The Tennessean reported that CAIR complained about Butt’s Facebook post, and suggested she was making a reference to the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, NAACP, and noted that white supremacist groups had previously used NAAWP in reference to white people.
Butt explained to the Associated Press that “NAAWP” stood for the “National Association for the Advancement of Western Peoples.” She maintained to the AP that her post was simply “misinterpreted,” the Tennessean reported.
“I have no idea why that’s been taken so out of context,” Butt said. “Somebody is trying to make something out of that.”
Butt posted a response to the ordeal to her Facebook page on Wednesday:
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. 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.. It seems to me that if we could take the focus off of race, as I am convinced The Lord does, we could better solve the problems in our state and nation that face every single one of us
Butt said she couldn’t remember when she’d posted the comment but the Tennessean noted the post had been deleted.
Ahiza Garcia is a newswriter based in New York City. Before joining TPM, Ahiza interned and freelanced for Nightline, Fox Sports, and ESPN the Magazine. She holds a B.A. in psychology from Columbia University and an M.S. in digital journalism from Syracuse University. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.