Rep. Karen Bass, a top contender to be former Vice President Joe Biden’s running mate, responded Saturday to a report that she praised the Church of Scientology at a 2010 ceremony, asserting that the group has since been “exposed” for various misdeeds.
“Ten years ago, I attended a new building opening in my district and spoke to what I think all of us believe in — respect for one another’s views, to treat all people with respect, and to fight against oppression wherever we find it,” Bass said in a statement issued on Twitter.
“I found an area of agreement in their beliefs — where all people, of whatever race, color, or creed are created with equal rights, which is what my remarks were about.”
Just so you all know, I proudly worship at First New Christian Fellowship Baptist Church in South LA. pic.twitter.com/1sEpF5KpRF
— Karen Bass (@KarenBassTweets) August 1, 2020
Bass touted the Church of Scientology at the opening of one of the church’s buildings in Los Angeles on April 24, 2010.
“This day and this new Church of Scientology is an exciting moment because I know your goal and your commitment is truly to make a difference,” Bass said at the event.
“The Church of Scientology I know has made a difference, because your creed is a universal creed and one that speaks to all people everywhere,” continued Bass, who served at the time in the California state assembly.
Bass’ office declined comment when contacted on Friday by the Daily Caller News Foundation, but a wave of criticism over her remarks seemingly prompted a response on Saturday morning.
Bass asserted that her views on the Church of Scientology have changed in the 10 years since she praised the organization.
She said that “published first-hand accounts in books, interviews and documentaries have exposed this group” since she appeared at the Los Angeles event.
“Everyone is now aware of the allegations against Scientology.”
While Scientology has come under increased scrutiny in recent years, the church has long faced allegations that it mistreats its members and operates as a cult.
The New York Times noted in a 2000 story that Scientology has been dogged since its founding in 1954 by allegations that it functions as a “moneymaking cult.”
The German government proposed in 2007 to ban the Church of Scientology over its “cult-like” activities, the BBC reported at the time.
ABC’s “Nightline” ran an exposé on the organization in 2009.
Bass is said to be one of three or four candidates in the running to join the Biden ticket. Prominent California Democrats, including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, have reportedly urged Biden to choose her as his running mate.
California Sen. Kamala Harris and former national security adviser Susan Rice are also reportedly under consideration to join the ticket.
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