Spruill Apologizes For Muslim Remark
Del. Lionell Spruill (D-Chesapeake) apologized today for saying on the House floor yesterday that he doesn't like to hear prayers of different religions, "especially those of the Muslim faith that I don't care too much about."
Spruill, who is also a member of the Democratic National Committee, issued his apology moments after his employer, Democratic gubernatorial candidate Brian Moran, urged him to do so.
Beside being a delegate and a DNC member, Spruill is a paid consultant for the Moran campaign when the General Assembly is not in session. Moran is paying Spruill $7,500 a month to do outreach in the African-American community, although his salary is suspended during the 45-day legislative session.
During a House floor debate Wednesday, Spruill spoke out against a bill that would allow state police chaplains to use "Jesus" in public prayers. After Spruill's comment about Muslims were reported on in the Virginian Pilot, some Democrats and Ben Tribbett, who runs the Not Larry Sabato blog, sought to link him to Moran.
In a statement, Spruill said "the intent of my comments was misinterpreted."
"If anyone was offended, please know that I extend my deepest apology for the remarks and the sentiment that was conveyed," Spruill said. "While I am a devout Christian, I do not hold the belief that my faith or any other faith entitles any American to special privileges or considerations."
Earlier in the afternoon, Moran strategist Mame Reiley called on Spruill to apologize.
She noted Spruill made his remarks in his capacity as a delegate, and not as a represenative of the Moran campaign.
"Delegate Spruill is an elected official who can and will speak his mind on the floor of the General Assembly and elsewhere," Reiley said. "Delegate Spruill has been a part of our campaign team. At this time -- during the legislative session -- he is not a paid consultant of Virginians for Brian Moran. I know that Delegate Spruill would not intentionally offend the members of any faith, but I understand why some may find his comments offensive."
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