Sunday, August 02, 2020

Disqualifying Mistake

With Joe Biden apparently ready to make the announcement- now delayed- of his choice of a running mate

Conservative news outlet The Daily Caller circulated a video of Bass’ comments on Friday. In the clip, Bass — who was then the speaker of the California State Assembly — addressed congregants at a ribbon-cutting ceremony for a renovated Scientology church in Los Angeles.

She lauded the church and its founder, L. Ron Hubbard, for its humanitarian efforts, saying, “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. 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.

Many thanks to The Daily Caller, which seems with its clip from 2010 to have saved the presumptive Democratic presidential candidate from at least major embarrassment. Nevertheless, one tweeter demands "Hey people who hate Cancel Culture. is it okay for this shit to be a deal breaker? Cuz for a lot of people it is. Let's see you idiots defend the cult of Scientology.

Yes, it is.  Signers of the tremendous "Harper's letter" properly lament the suppression of free expression because

Editors are fired for running controversial pieces; books are withdrawn for alleged inauthenticity; journalists are barred from writing on certain topics; professors are investigated for quoting works of literature in class; a researcher is fired for circulating a peer-reviewed academic study; and the heads of organizations are ousted for what are sometimes just clumsy mistakes.

There is, however, no constitutional right to be the nominee of one of the two major political parties for vice president of the USA, nor to be a heartbeat away from the presidency of a man in his late '70s. Joe Biden promised only that his running mate would be female; it strains credulity to believe there is no qualified woman who has not so praised a dangerous cult. Reduce the universe of possibilities to accomplished black women, and there still should be satisfying options.

We are reminded

The Church of Scientology has been accused by former members of abuse, human trafficking, forced labor and intimidation. Though most of these allegations have surfaced in more recent years, some ex-members had already begun to speak out prior to Bass’ remarks at the California church.

In her statement, Bass said she’d been aware in 2010 that she would be addressing a “group of people with beliefs very different than my own.” Her intention, she said, had been to touch on “an area of agreement in their beliefs — where all people, of whatever race, color, or creed are created with equal rights.”

Since her speech, “published first-hand accounts in books, interviews and documentaries” have exposed the church and “everyone is now aware of the allegations against Scientology,” Bass said.

Notice "allegations." They are numerous and they are more than allegations.  Bass might as well have said "some have criticized the organization but I'm not going to be one of them." In fact, she virtually did so:

The congresswoman stressed, however, that her 2010 address had focused on “things I think most of us agree with ... respect for different views, equality and fighting oppression.”

With regards to those values, she said, “my views have not changed.”

Anti-Scientology activist is too generous:

Bass has only barely distanced herself, maybe from a couple of feet to a couple of yards. She still stands behind an organization which a German government agency recognized as early as 2010 (the year of the congresswoman's speech) "rejects the democratic system; its long-term goal is a social order in which it is the sole authority."  The previous year, ABC News had exposed the non-church.


The Scientology "Church" operates a concentration camp called "The Hole" at its California headquarters but Bass shares its "respect for different views, equality, and fighting oppression." (It is also grotesquely anti-gay; maybe that would get the Democratic congresswoman's attention.)


It is now 2020, ten years after Karen Bass publicly promoted the (not a church) Church of Scientology. She could have admitted that she was wrong back then. Alternatively, she might have maintained that it is had some legitimate aims but has turned into a dangerous cult. She did neither and if Joe Biden has any sense, has eliminated herself from contention as either a governing partner or effective national candidate.

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