Published December 20, 2015
A Mormon bishop in Los Angeles apologized Sunday for the tone of a blog saying Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid was unworthy to enter the faith's temples, but stood by his criticism of Reid's stands on some issues.
Mark Paredes' blog, titled "Good Riddance to Harry Reid, the Mormon Senate Leader," drew criticism from the church and Mormon Democrats after it was published Wednesday in a Jewish newspaper.
He called Reid an "embarrassment" to the church and expressed his belief that Democrats' support of same-sex marriage, abortion rights and gambling runs contrary to positions of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
"I do apologize for the tone of the article, for giving the impression that I was criticizing Sen. Reid in my role as an LDS bishop, and for implying that I am in a position to judge the senator's temple worthiness," Paredes told The Associated Press by email.
"However, I can't apologize for criticizing his advocacy of certain issues and on behalf of certain interests ... Any criticism I had of Senator Reid was based on his actions (e.g., defense of the gaming industry, advocacy of a certain social agenda), not his political affiliation," he added.
Reid spokeswoman Kristen Orthman did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Crystal Young-Otterstrom of Salt Lake City, vice chair of LDS Democrats of America, said she accepts Paredes' apology but does not think it goes far enough. The group has chapters in 10 states.
If the bishop is truly contrite, she said, he should meet with Mormon Democrats and be educated on why they chose their political affiliation.
"'He ought to be apologizing for saying that Mormons and Democrats can't co-exist when clearly we can," Young-Otterstrom said. "We are Democrats because of our Mormon beliefs and not in spite on them."
Many notable Mormon figures, including James E. Faust, Hugh B. Brown, Steven E. Snow and Larry J. Echohawk, chose to be Democrats, she added.
The church, in a statement, said it was "entirely inappropriate" for church officers to use their titles while publishing such political views.
Paredes noted in a disclaimer at the end of his essay that he was expressing his personal opinion, but he identified himself in the blog as a bishop.
Reid will lose his position as Senate majority leader in January after Republicans took control of the Senate in Tuesday's election. No other Mormon has held a higher elective national office.