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

Camille Caldera, USA TODAY
·3 min read

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

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.

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."

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."

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

More: Fact check: Harris' statement on Lincoln's Supreme Court nomination misses key details

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."

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."

Democratic vice presidential candidate Sen. Kamala Harris responds to Vice President Mike Pence during the debate at the University of Utah.
Democratic vice presidential candidate Sen. Kamala Harris responds to Vice President Mike Pence during the debate at the University of Utah.

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:

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This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Fact check: Kamala Harris didn't called churches 'propaganda centers'