SALT LAKE CITY (ABC 4 News) - Utah Democrats are demanding an apology from Senator Orrin Hatch.
Hatch is being quoted as saying the Obama campaign will try to use Mitt Romney's LDS faith against him in this year's presidential campaign.
According to the Politico website, Hatch reportedly told Republican delegates Tuesday that there's nothing the Obama campaign won't do - including going after Romney's religion.
Craig Janis, head of the Utah Democratic Party’s Outreach program to attract Mormons to that
party, told ABC 4,
"The Church has no need to speak through Orrin Hatch. The Church can speak for itself."
Janis himself is Mormon.
He doesn't like Orrin Hatch reportedly saying the Obama campaign will,
"…throw the Mormon Church at him [Mitt Romney] like you can't believe."
Janis claims Hatch is simply making this up,
"There are only two places where Mitt Romney's faith is being attacked right now. Those are in the Republican presidential primary and in Orrin Hatch's head."
Utah Democrats point out that it was Robert Jeffress - a Baptist supporter of Republican Rick Perry - who actually cast the first anti-Mormon stone.
Last year, Jeffress said,
"In my estimation, Mormonism is a cult."
Craig Janis also suggests that Senator Hatch might do well to remember what was said at this weekend's LDS General Conference,
"In General Conference this last weekend, there was a talk about being civil and about being forgiving. It was President Uchtdorf and his two word counsel probably applies here, which was - stop it."
Senator Hatch's campaign declined our request for a comment.
But Democrats wonder why Hatch would accuse Obama's camp of making Mormonism an issue, when Hatch himself is the one actually doing it.
Besides, Janis says, the president would be the last person to attack someone's religion,
"President Obama has spent the entirety of his presidency defending his religion from people who are attacking him and I find it very unlikely he would turn it around and do that to somebody else."
As for the LDS Church, all it's saying about this matter is:
"We don't comment on political campaigns."
Now, Wednesday afternoon, Utah Democrats also released this statement from DNC Chair and Representative Debbie Wasserman Schultz:
“That is just preposterous. That suggestion is utter nonsense. Let’s remember that President Obama has had so many things hurled at him – birth certificate questions, whether he is or is not a Christian. For them to suggest that religion will be injected [into the election] by President Obama and the Democratic Party, I mean, I think they need to take a look inward at the accusations that their party and their supporters have hurled before they take that step.”
FOLLOW CHRIS VANOCUR ON TWITTER: @cvan4