Rep. Karen BassKaren Ruth BassThe Hill’s Campaign Report: Who will Biden pick to be his running mate? Clyburn: Biden needs VP pick who has ‘a lot of passion’ Fox’s Perino says Biden won’t pick Susan Rice because of fire from right MORE (D-Calif.) on Saturday sought to explain comments she made at the opening of a Scientology church in Los Angeles a decade ago after the remarks drew renewed attention this week.
Bass, who has served in Congress since 2011, is believed to be one of the finalists in consideration to be presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe BidenJoe BidenHillicon Valley: Three arrested in Twitter hack | Trump pushes to break up TikTok | House approves 0M for election security Wisconsin Republicans raise questions about death of Black Trump supporter Trump holds mini-rally at Florida airport MORE‘s running mate in November. The recently circulated video shows Bass at a ribbon-cutting ceremony in 2010 for the Church of Scientology of Los Angeles, which had just been fully renovated, praising the church for its humanitarian efforts.
In the video, which was first highlighted this week by The Daily Caller, Bass is heard speaking to a large crowd at the ceremony that included Scientology leader David Miscavige.
“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. “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.”
Karen Bass in 2010 at a ribbon-cutting for a Scientology church:
“That is why the words are exciting of your Founder L. Rob Hubbard…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” pic.twitter.com/EghkCwqHi6
— Alex Thompson (@AlxThomp) July 31, 2020
The Democratic lawmaker said in a statement Saturday that she “attended the event knowing I was going to address a group of people with beliefs very different than my own” while seeking to distance herself from the church, which has faced a number of allegations of sexual abuse in recent years.
“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 another’s views, to treat all people with respect, and to fight oppression wherever we find it,” Bass said in the statement posted to Twitter.
“I found an area of agreement in their beliefs — where all people, of whatever race, or creed are created with equal rights, which is what my remarks were about,” she added.
Bass said that “since then, published first-hand accounts in books, interviews and documentaries have exposed this group. Everyone is now aware of the allegations against Scientology.”
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
Miscavige and the church have come under heavy scrutiny in recent years over allegations of widespread sexual abuse within the organization. In 2018, the Church of Scientology settled a lawsuit with a woman who alleged that the she was forced by the church to have an abortion and then prevented from leaving the organization.
Bass, believed to be a top contender for the Democratic presidential ticket, emphasized in her statement Saturday that she attends a Baptist church in L.A.