Aug 1, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Rep. Karen Bass addresses 2010 Church of Scientology speech


Rep. Karen Bass. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Rep. Karen Bass (D-Calif.), a contender for vice president on Joe Biden's shortlist and chair of the Congressional Black Caucus, tweeted on Saturday that she was trying to find an “area of agreement” with the Church of Scientology in a 2010 speech.

Why it matters: In the address, Bass praised the church and its founder, L. Ron Hubbard for fighting for equality. Since, former church members have leveled accusations of abuse, human trafficking and intimidation against the Church of Scientology.

  • “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,” Bass said during the speech — part of a ceremony for a renovated Scientology church in Los Angeles.
  • “That is why the words are exciting of your Founder L. Ron Hubbard, in the creed of the Church of Scientology: That all people of whatever race, color or creed are created with equal rights.”

What she's saying: “Back in 2010, I attended the event knowing I was going to address a group of people with beliefs very different than my own, and spoke briefly about things I think most of us agree with, and on those things — respect for different views, equality, and fighting oppression — my views have not changed,” Bass tweeted Saturday.

  • Bass acknowledged accusations against the church, saying,“Since then, published first-hand accounts in books, interviews and documentaries have exposed this group.”
  • She also clarified that she is not a Scientologist and she attends the First New Christian Fellowship Baptist Church in South L.A.
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