BY REBECCA PALMER
BOUNTIFUL — I would like to address a conversation about our coverage that has played out on social media in recent days. After I posted an update article on davisclipper.com about the Bountiful City municipal elections, and talked about the article on our Facebook and Twitter accounts, we were criticized for mentioning the religion of one of the candidates in the mayoral race — Randy Lewis.
Lewis, who announced his candidacy months ago, is well known in the city as a community leader. He has, however, been on the South Davis Community Hospital Board of Directors for 10 years and has been the director of Orchard Cove Orthopedic Rehabilitation since 2009. Earlier in his career, he managed Bountiful’s Biolabs, Inc. for 24 years — a testament to his leadership skills. Lewis is also well-known as a former stake president of the Bountiful Central Stake, and mentions it on his website.
Councilwoman Beth Holbrook also threw her hat in the race months ago. She is also a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, but is best known for her service on the council and city planning commission and on the boards of the local Community Service Council, the Bountiful/Davis Art Center, the Utah League of Cities and Towns and Centerpoint Legacy Theatre. Find her website here.
Both candidates show promise, but the Clipper has not endorsed either and is unlikely to. However, we are confident in our judgment that the best candidate will be the one with the strongest leadership and management abilities.
For that reason, I found it prudent to mention Lewis’s church service in my short description of him. To speak to Holbrook’s leadership ability, I mentioned her civic service.
Our social media friends saw this as the Clipper either endorsing a specific religion or trying to magnify Lewis’s faith. When I asked other online friends about their opinions, I heard from two, including state Rep. Todd Weiler, R-Woods Cross, that religion should not be part of our coverage. I write today to assure you I did not intend to either boost or criticize religion. Instead, we stick to the principle that there should be no religious test for office. However, we know that religion plays a big part in the vast majority of our reader’s lives and in our community as a whole. Therefore, we write about religion when it becomes an issue in any given news event, such as mayoral races, and will continue doing so.