Representative Karen Bass, a California Democrat who is considered one of the party's top presidential candidates, offered an explanation on Saturday for speaking brilliantly about Scientology a decade earlier.
Bass issued a statement in light of his 2010 speech at the Church of Scientology building in Los Angeles re-emerging amid murmurs about his potential to be named running mate for Joseph R. Biden.
“Ten years ago, I participated in a new building opening in my district and spoke to what we all believe in – respect for each other's opinions, to treat everyone with respect and fight oppression wherever we find it. I found an area of agreement in their beliefs – where all people, of any race, color or creed are raised with equal rights, and that is what my observations are about, ”said Bass in the statement.
"Since then, first-hand publications published in books, interviews and documents have exposed the group," continued the congresswoman. “Everyone is now aware of the allegations against Scientology. In 2010, I attended the event knowing that I was going to approach a group of people with very different beliefs from mine and spoke briefly about things I think many of us agree with and about those things – respect for different views, equality and fighting oppression – my opinions have not changed. "
The conservative-minded Daily Caller website first noted on Friday that Bass had spoken at a ribbon cutting ceremony for the Scientology building while serving in the California General Assembly.
"I know your goal and your commitment is really to make a difference," she said at the event. "The Church of Scientology that I know made a difference, because its creed is universal and speaks to everyone everywhere." Bass noted that the church's creed is that "all people of any race, color or creed are created with equal rights".
The ribbon cutting ceremony was led by the chairman of Scientology, David Miscavige, who several former members of the group have sued for alleged child abuse, human trafficking, forced labor and defamation. The church considered these charges to be unfounded.
Bass, 66, said in his statement that he proudly loves a Baptist church in southern Los Angeles.