Rep. Danny Davis, D-Ill., praised the Church of Scientology yesterday for its work on criminal justice reform issues at a dedication event for the opening of a Scientology lobbying office in the nation’s capital.
“Here is an Office designed to give back to a United States government that steadfastly guaranteed our religious rights—the very freedom that allows us to do what we are doing today,” David Miscavige, who heads the Scientology religion, said at the dedication yesterday. “And with that, we extend our reach by invoking what we hold to be the greatest of all rights, the one right which must be invoked if one is to fight for the freedom of others—the right to help. And yes, that’s what we pledge today with the inauguration of this new Church of Scientology National Affairs Office.”
Davis also spoke at the event. “Since 2004, the Church has been part of the broad coalition that has tirelessly worked with us in Congress to get the Second Chance Act passed into law, which is a monumental first step in reforming our criminal justice system nationwide,” he said. “I am extremely grateful for the work you do to help those individuals who are most in need.”
The Illinois lawmaker has honored non-mainstream religions before. As The Washington Post reported in 2004 (my emphasis):
More than a dozen lawmakers attended a congressional reception this year honoring the Rev. Sun Myung Moon in which Moon declared himself the Messiah and said his teachings have helped Hitler and Stalin be “reborn as new persons.”
At the March 23 ceremony in the Dirksen Senate Office Building, Rep. Danny K. Davis (D-Ill.) wore white gloves and carried a pillow holding an ornate crown that was placed on Moon’s head. The Korean-born businessman and religious leader then delivered a long speech saying he was “sent to Earth . . . to save the world’s six billion people. . . . Emperors, kings and presidents . . . have declared to all Heaven and Earth that Reverend Sun Myung Moon is none other than humanity’s Savior, Messiah, Returning Lord and True Parent.”
Davis was one of three members of Congress — Rep. Dan Burton, R-Ind., and Rep. Sheila Jackson-Lee, D-Texas, being the other two — who attended the Scientology office dedication.