This is an archived article that was published on in 2015, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

At a time when large numbers of Republican voters seem to be teetering on the edge of sanity, and a megalomaniac spouting racist bromides leads the polling for the party's presidential nomination, it is hard to overstate just how refreshing it was to see one of Utah's leading Republican politicians go out of his way to not only denounce the bigotry of Donald Trump, but also to be seen doing so in a Muslim house of worship.

Rep. Jason Chaffetz is a particularly savvy politician. If the congressman from Utah County thinks that it is not only morally right, put politically advantageous, to go to such lengths to extend his hand to Utah's Muslim community, there is great hope that Trump's anti-Muslim (and anti-Mexican, and anti-black) campaign is but a passing, if frightening, fad.

Certainly, Chaffetz wants no part of it.

"It is intolerance that should not stand," Chaffetz told those gathered at West Valley City's Khadeeja Islamic Center Monday. "That is not who we are as a people. It is just not acceptable."

At least as important as what he said, and where he said it, was the fact that Chaffetz also listened.

He listened as Utah Muslims told him that they do indeed denounce murder and terror committed in the name of Islam. That they are working with American law enforcement agencies to be on the watch for any of their number who might be about to abandon the peaceful observance of their faith and turn violent.

He heard them say that the small but fearsome number of Muslims who have become radicalized over the last several years are often motivated by what they see as an equally violent disrespect for Islam, its people and its holy places.

They mention the American-led invasion of Iraq as an example of such perceived hostility toward Muslims. And that's a crucial point for Chaffetz to hear, and to pass along to others in Congress and in his party, as there seems to be growing support for yet more American military action in the Muslim world.

It is not cynical — well, not only cynical — to note that Chaffetz is so secure in his current office that there is little electoral risk in his outreach to local Muslims. But, as his brief flirtation with the speaker's chair recently showed, Chaffetz has ambitions beyond Utah's 3rd District.

Given the current xenophobic mood that is so widespread in his own party, it is indeed hopeful that one of the golden boys of right-wing media has made such a bold, and humanitarian, gesture.

Now, if he will only carry this message into the real lion's den: Fox News.