California Rep. Karen Bass is in hot water after a video of her surfaced online Friday evening showing praise on the Church of Scientology and its founder L. Ron 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,” Bass told the faithful at a 2010 ribbon-cutting for a new church in Los Angeles. “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.”
The video was uploaded to the Church of Scientology YouTube page in 2013 but has taken on new relevancy as Bass is considered one of the last remaining women still under consideration to be Joe Biden’s 2020 running mate.
A planned Aug. 1 veep announcement was delayed at least another week just hours after the Bass video leaked to YouTube. The story was first reported by The Daily Caller.
Though it bills itself as a religion (and has tax exempt status from the Internal Revenue Service) the Church of Scientology has long been embroiled in controversy, with multiple lurid tales of mistreating members and financial exploitation.
Bass released a statement Saturday insisting that she didn’t realize at the time what a lightening rod the group was.
“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,” she said. “Since then, published first-hand accounts in books, interviews and documentaries have exposed this group. Everyone is now aware of the allegations against Scientology.”