CARSON CITY -- Republican Senate candidate Sharron Angle on Monday disavowed a claim by her former pastor that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is a cult.
Angle's former pastor, John Reed of Sonrise Church in Reno, last week called the Mormon Church a cult. An Angle spokesman disavowed his comment over the weekend, but Angle did not speak publicly about Reed's comment until Monday.
According to the Deseret News, a daily newspaper owned by the Mormon Church, 7 percent of Nevada's population is Mormon, as is her Senate opponent, U.S. Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nev.
Angle gave brief answers to three questions from a reporter after a two-minute speech to about 300 supporters at a rally in Carson City's Mills Park.
She said she would not take back comments she made recently that suggested she believes that Dearborn, Mich., operates under Islamic, or Sharia, law.
"That's what I have been told, I don't know," Angle said.
The mayor of Dearborn, Jack O'Reilly, earlier said Angle did not know what she was talking about. On Monday, he sent a letter inviting her to his city to see for herself.
Four Christian missionaries were arrested in Dearborn when they tried to hand out copies of the New Testament book of John to people attending an Arab festival over the summer.
The four have complained that Dearborn operates under Sharia law. Dearborn, population 92,000, is the home of about 30,000 people of Arab backgrounds. The town is the home of Henry Ford and the Ford Motor Co. that he founded. The current Miss America, a Christian with an Arab background, is also from Dearborn.
Angle was quoted by The Associated Press last week as telling a man in Mesquite that a "militant terrorist situation" was occurring and people were allowing Islamic law to take hold in Dearborn and Frankford, Texas.
"My thoughts are these, first of all, Dearborn, Michigan, and Frankford, Texas, are on American soil, and under constitutional law," she said. "Not Sharia law. And I don't know how that happened in the United States. It seems to me there is something fundamentally wrong with allowing a foreign system of law to even take hold in any municipality or government situation in our United States."
In response to another question Monday, Angle said former vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin and other top Republicans want to make appearances in Nevada on her behalf, but she is leaving that up to her schedulers.
"I know they have offered to come," she said. "I am no longer in charge of my own schedule."
While Angle made her remarks, about 50 Reid supporters conducted a protest about 100 yards away.
Phoebe Sweet, the state Democrat Party spokesman, said she organized the protest to draw attention to Angle's "extreme and dangerous positions" on issues such as unemployment benefits and Social Security.
"It is time for her to answer for her positions," Sweet said.
But Angle told the crowd her primary positions are quite simple.
"We have to cut back on spending and pay back on our debt by repealing some of the most awful policies our nation has seen over the last 20 months," Angle said.
She said "Obamacare," the national health care overhaul law, must be repealed.
Angle said she is for lower taxes, less government regulation, more individual freedom and "stopping the spending."
She took no questions from the crowd Monday.
One Angle supporter, Judy Vanover, of Minden, walked over to the crowd of Reid supporters carrying a pro-Angle sign.
"I would vote for my cat before I voted for Harry Reid," said Vanover, who added the Reid supporters did not mistreat her.
Contact Capital Bureau Chief Ed Vogel at firstname.lastname@example.org or 775-687-3901.