Paul Haggis quits Scientology


25th October 2009

In an astonishing about turn, Paul Haggis, director of Oscar-winner Crash and James Bond scribe, has resigned from the Church Of Scientology. Read his incredible resignation letter here.

Anything Scientology-flavoured fascinates me, not because I necessarily believe in the legends of Xenu and the gang, more that I can't believe that seemingly intelligent people would buy it as a religion.

The Church has its A-list members - Tom Cruise, John Travolta, Will Smith (pending) - but also an entire cabal of Hollywood followers who stay out of the limelight. Writer/director Paul Haggis (Crash, Casino Royale) was one of those followers, but he's sensationally quit Scientology and his resignation letter to celeb handler Tommy Davis (the douche from the Panorama investigation) has been leaked online.

You can read the entire letter here but the straws that broke the camel's back seem to have been the Church's backing of Proposition 8 (the banning of same-sex marriages in California) and their policy of disconnection (shutting out non-believers among friends and family).

Here are a few highlights.


As you know, for ten months now I have been writing to ask you to make a public statement denouncing the actions of the Church of Scientology of San Diego. Their public sponsorship of Proposition 8, a hate-filled legislation that succeeded in taking away the civil rights of gay and lesbian citizens of California - rights that were granted them by the Supreme Court of our state - shames us.
The church's refusal to denounce the actions of these bigots, hypocrites and homophobes is cowardly. I can think of no other word. Silence is consent, Tommy. I refuse to consent.
I joined the Church of Scientology thirty-five years ago. During my twenties and early thirties I studied and received a great deal of counseling. While I have not been an active member for many years, I found much of what I learned to be very helpful, and I still apply it in my daily life.

I have never pretended to be the best Scientologist, but I openly and vigorously defended the church whenever it was criticized, as I railed against the kind of intolerance that I believed was directed against it. I had my disagreements, but I dealt with them internally. I saw the organization - with all its warts, growing pains and problems - as an underdog. And I have always had a thing for underdogs.

But I reached a point several weeks ago where I no longer knew what to think. You had allowed our name to be allied with the worst elements of the Christian Right. In order to contain a potential "PR flap" you allowed our sponsorship of Proposition 8 to stand. Despite all the church's words about promoting freedom and human rights, its name is now in the public record alongside those who promote bigotry and intolerance, homophobia and fear.
I was online doing research and chanced upon an interview clip with you on CNN. The interview lasted maybe ten minutes - it was just you and the newscaster. And in it I saw you deny the church's policy of disconnection. You said straight-out there was no such policy, that it did not exist.

I was shocked. We all know this policy exists. I didn't have to search for verification - I didn't have to look any further than my own home.

You might recall that my wife was ordered to disconnect from her parents because of something absolutely trivial they supposedly did twenty-five years ago when they resigned from the church. This is a lovely retired couple, never said a negative word about Scientology to me or anyone else I know - hardly raving maniacs or enemies of the church. In fact it was they who introduced my wife to Scientology.

Although it caused her terrible personal pain, my wife broke off all contact with them. I refused to do so. I've never been good at following orders, especially when I find them morally reprehensible.

For a year and a half, despite her protestations, my wife did not speak to her parents and they had limited access to their grandchild. It was a terrible time.
I am now painfully aware that you might see this an attack and just as easily use things I have confessed over the years to smear my name. Well, luckily I have never held myself up to be anyone's role model.
After writing this letter, I am fully aware that some of my friends may choose to no longer associate with me, or in some cases work with me. I will always take their calls, as I always took yours. However, I have finally come to the conclusion that I can no longer be a part of this group. Frankly, I had to look no further than your refusal to denounce the church's anti-gay stance, and the indefensible actions, and inactions, of those who condone this behavior within the organization. I am only ashamed that I waited this many months to act.

I hereby resign my membership in the Church of Scientology.


Paul Haggis."
Snap! I can't be sure, but I think Scientology just got served. By Paul Haggis.

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