SALT LAKE CITY — Candidate Todd Zenger, who is running against Jewish candidate Patrice Arent for Utah House District 36, issued an apology after a flyer he sent out received backlash from local politicians and religious leaders.
The flyer that was sent out can be seen below:
Zenger released the following statement Monday on the flyer:
“I recognize the contributions made to our community by people of all walks of life, religions, faiths or beliefs. I believe in showing kindness, compassion and respect to all people.
I regret any misunderstanding about my mailer. I apologize for any hurt caused by my choice of words. It was never my purpose or intent to be insensitive to any person, race or religion, or to malign any religion or race.
Please accept my apology.”
The apology came after the Jewish Federation of Utah and others released statements on the flyer, questioning the use of the terms “our God,” and “our religion.”
“To imply that an opponent of a different faith may answer to or believe in another God seems both naïve, spurious and misguided when that person belongs to one of the three Abrahamic faiths that revere one God,” officials with the federation wrote. “We hope that candidate Zenger means that he supports all our religions, one God, and the American right to choose one’s beliefs, if he does, he should clarify immediately.”
Utah Governor Gary Herbert also weighed in on the flyer, calling Arent a “wonderful person who respects others’ points of view.”
Arent, who is the current house representative for District 36, released the following statement on the flyer:
“I am truly disappointed by a mailer recently sent by my opponent, Todd Zenger. In that piece, he implies that he stands for religious freedom, whereas I do not. Because it is well known that I am the only Jewish legislator in Utah and very active in my religion, many people in our Jewish community are hurt and upset by Mr. Zenger’s statement.
Right now, Jews across the country feel very vulnerable. We should all hope that the lesson of Pittsburgh can be one of respect and acceptance of our differences, much like we have felt as the entire community has wrapped their arms around us over this past week.
The right to worship as we choose is one of our most precious liberties. It is vital that we judge everyone by their merits, regardless of religion or creed.
In a statement issued yesterday, Mr. Zenger denied the plain meaning of the words he chose to put in print and distribute to the voters of House District 36. I hope that in the future, he will refrain from divisive and inaccurate comments and focus on the issues facing the residents of House District 36.”