Karen Bass, Seen As A Frontrunner For Joe Biden’s VP Spot, Under Fire For Past Praise Of Scientology

Karen Bass speaks at a press conference.
Drew Angerer / Getty Images

Karen Bass is seen as a frontrunner in the race to be Joe Biden’s vice president on the Democratic Party’s 2020 presidential ticket, but the California congresswoman’s standing could be taking a blow after a newly emerged video showing her praising the Church of Scientology.

Bass, the chair of the Congressional Black Caucus, had been earning some praise from top Democrats and was reported to be on the shortlist for Biden’s vice-presidential pick. But as Mediaite noted, she was hit with some unexpected news during the vetting process as video emerged of her speaking at a ribbon-cutting ceremony for a Scientology church in Los Angeles a decade ago.

The video was first shared by the Daily Caller, which noted that Bass spoke at the event along with a number of local leaders. Bass was a member of the state Assembly at the time.

As she spoke at the event, Bass heaped praise on the church, calling it a model of equal rights.

“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,” she said.

“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 organization, which has a number of A-list celebrities as members, has maintained a strong presence in the greater Los Angeles area, with a number of facilities there.

Critics have painted the Church of Scientology in a very different light, saying that leadership is controlling and aggressive in attacking critics both within the organization and outside of it. Bass’ association with the organization, and the praise that she offered for its approach to human rights, has caused a stir since the video was first released.

Many shared the video of Bass’s comments on Scientology on social media, questioning whether it could hurt her standing with Biden’s camp. Bass had reportedly been rising quickly in the race to be included on the party’s ticket, making it to the group of three or four finalists, which include some very well-known figures like California Sen. Kamala Harris. The former vice president has said that he will make his final pick by the end of next week, cementing the ticket ahead of the now-virtual Democratic National Convention being held later in the month of August.