Karen Bass, Biden's Potential VP Pick, Responds to Video of Her Praising Scientology

California Congresswoman Karen Bass, a top contender to become presumptive Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden's running mate, responded to scrutiny over her past praise of the Church of Scientology.

Biden's potential vice presidential pick issued a statement Saturday morning that clarified remarks she made at a 2010 ribbon-cutting ceremony for a Los Angeles Scientology building. At that grand opening event, Bass addressed Scientologists and guests and made several statements that offered praise of Scientology.

Footage shows Bass, who was then the Speaker Emeritus of the California State Assembly, commending the group's leaders and congregants for wanting to "truly make a difference" in the world. Her speech at the 2010 event took place at Sunset Boulevard and L. Ron Hubbard Way, a street named for the church's founder.

"We have to treat people with the respect they are due as human beings, and we must fight against oppression wherever we may find it. 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.' It is a remarkable credit to your church that his is part of your creed," Bass said then.

Responding to criticism a decade later, Bass said she attends a Baptist church and that her comments to the Scientology community were simply a message of "respecting one another's views." She also referenced allegations toward the church since making those remarks.

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

"Just so you all know, I proudly worship at First New Christian Fellowship Baptist Church in South L.A.," Bass wrote in a Saturday statement.

"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. 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 all about."

"Since then, published first-hand accounts in books, interviews and documentaries have exposed this group. Everyone is now aware of the allegations against Scientology," Bass continued. "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."

Newsweek reached out to both the Church of Scientology and Bass' office for any additional remarks Saturday afternoon.

karen bass scientology church vp
California Congresswoman Karen Bass, a top contender to be former Vice President Joe Biden's running mate, responded to criticism over her past praise of the Church of Scientology. Screenshot: Scientology | YouTube