- Associated Press - Tuesday, March 31, 2015

AUGUSTA, Maine (AP) - The Maine Senate is promoting cultural and religious tolerance after a member of the chamber was criticized for posting racially offensive messages on Facebook.

The Senate unanimously passed an order Tuesday that says it cannot tolerate acts and expressions that “disparage the religious and cultural beliefs and traditions of others.” It also directs a legislative committee to organize an educational session for senators on the importance of respecting diversity and multiculturalism.

The move comes after several offensive Facebook posts from Republican Sen. Michael Willette were made public this month. Among them was one that suggested that President Barack Obama’s family members are part of the Islamic State Group. Other posts expressed animosity toward Muslims.

Willette has apologized and resigned from his position as chairman of a legislative committee.

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