Spruill Apologizes for Muslim Remark

February 5, 2009

Author: Tim Craig

Source: The Washington Post


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."