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US Fact check: Kamala Harris never called churches 'propaganda centers'

00:06  16 october  2020
00:06  16 october  2020 Source:   usatoday.com

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Kamala Harris called American churches " propaganda centers ." In October 2020, a piece of text started to circulate on social media claiming that vice presidential candidate Kamala Harris called American churches “ propaganda centers ”

Vice President Mike Pence and Senator Kamala Harris squared off in the only vice-presidential debate of the 2020 election. Susan Page, Washington bureau chief for USA Today, moderated the debate in Salt Lake City. Seeking to rebut criticism of President Trump’s handling of the pandemic — Ms. Harris

The claim: Kamala Harris called churches 'propaganda centers.'

Kamala Harris sitting at a table: Democratic vice presidential candidate Sen. Kamala Harris responds to Vice President Mike Pence during the debate at the University of Utah. © ASSOCIATED PRESS ARCHIVE Democratic vice presidential candidate Sen. Kamala Harris responds to Vice President Mike Pence during the debate at the University of Utah.

After the vice presidential debate on Oct. 7, some users took to Facebook to spread misinformation about Democratic nominee Kamala Harris and her stance on churches in the United States.

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Kamala Devi Harris (/ˈkɑːmələ/ KAH-mə-lə, born October 20, 1964) is an American politician and attorney who has served as the junior United States senator from California since 2017.

Senator Kamala Harris during a campaign rally in Atlanta.Credit Audra Melton for The New York Times.

Numerous posts with identical language claim that Harris said, "American churches are PROPAGANDA CENTERS for intolerant homophobic, xenophobic vitriol," and called pastors "knuckle-dragging disseminators of intolerance and enemies of social justice."

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The posts say the comments is a "verbatim quote," and say they were made "this morning" though posts appeared on several different dates.

"This woman isn't even bothering to hide her utter disdain & contempt for the church of the Lord Jesus Christ," the posts read. "You can be assured she will continue to be an enemy of the cross if she ever got into the Oval Office."

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Users behind the posts did not respond to requests from USA TODAY for comment.

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Quotes attributed to Harris are fake

Internet searches by the Associated Press, Reuters and USA TODAY revealed no record of the inflammatory quotes attributed to Harris or similar statements in news archives, public statements, and tweets.

And a spokesperson for Harris told the Associated Press that the quotes aren't real.

Harris herself identifies as a Baptist and is a churchgoer, per USA TODAY.

In a recent column for the Deseret News ahead of her debate in Salt Lake City, she wrote about the 23rd Avenue Church of God, which she attended as a child.

"There, my earliest memories of the Bible’s teachings were of a loving God, a God who asked us to serve and stand up for others, especially those who were not wealthy or powerful," she wrote. "It was where I learned that 'faith' is a verb — that we must live our faith and show faith in action."

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Kamala Harris faced a barrage of tough attacks over her criminal justice record at Wednesday night's Democratic presidential debate, and not all of the claims Democratic debate: Fact - checking the attacks on Kamala Harris ’ criminal justice record. Some criticism on marijuana cases, inmates freed

PolitiFact is a fact - checking website that rates the accuracy of claims by elected officials and others on its Truth-O-Meter. Kamala Harris had barely become a candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination before birther accusations started on Twitter.

Today, she attends services at the Third Baptist Church of San Francisco. Its pastor, the Rev. Amos Brown, told the Associated Press that Harris is "a spiritual person."

Posts also contain a fake quote from Biden

The posts also allege that former Vice President Joe Biden, who himself is a practicing Catholic, said "those who hold to traditional views and intolerant Christian beliefs are dregs of society."

That quote is false, per another fact check by USA TODAY.

In reality, at a speech for the Human Rights Campaign, Biden spoke out against cultures and communities that terrorize and torture LGBTQ individuals.

"They’re a small percentage of the American people. Virulent people. Some of them the dregs of society," he said around the 21-minute mark.

Our rating: False

Based on our research, claims that Kamala Harris called churches "propaganda centers" are FALSE. In reality, Harris is a churchgoer herself, and recently wrote about her Christian faith. A quote the posts attribute to Biden is false, too.

Our fact-check sources:

  • Associated Press, Oct. 11, No evidence Kamala Harris called churches ‘propaganda centers’
  • Reuters, Oct. 11, Fact check: Kamala Harris did not say these remarks about American churches
  • USA TODAY, Aug. 15, Fact check: Kamala Harris was sworn in on the Bible, identifies as Baptist
  • Deseret News, Oct. 4, Kamala Harris: Faith values bind us together. Joe Biden will restore them in our public life
  • Associated Press, Aug. 12, Harris brings Baptist, interfaith roots to Democratic ticket
  • USA TODAY, Oct. 15: Fact check: Joe Biden called 'forces of intolerance,' not Trump supporters, the 'dregs of society'
  • Human Rights Campaign, Sept. 15, 2018, Joe Biden and Jill Biden Speak at the 2018 HRC National Dinner

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Kamala Harris , D-Calif., cannot serve as president because of her parents' citizenship. "If (Biden) cannot serve his full term, Kamala cannot by constitutional law become President," the post reads. "She is an anchor baby, mother is from India, father is Jamaican, and neither were American citizens at

Kamala Harris has an ugly history of locking people up, violating civil liberties, and turning her back on the "progressive" principles she espouses. When federal judges in California wanted to expand its prisoner release program for non-violent criminals, Kamala Harris ’ lawyers argued against it.

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This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Fact check: Kamala Harris never called churches 'propaganda centers'

LIVE: Coronavirus front and center as Pence, Harris square off in only vice presidential debate .
Kamala Harris and Mike Pence will hold the only vice presidential debate, which comes as Trump and White House battle an outbreak of COVID.Pence and Harris will meet Wednesday for their only debate. The 90-minute event begins at 9 p.m. ET and won’t be hard to find: It’ll be broadcast on every major network. Viewers streaming on USATODAY.com will have the added benefit of real-time fact-checking and political context.

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