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Paul Haggis quits Church of Scientology over gay rights

Paul Haggis - Directed the movie Crash

Paul Haggis - Directed the movie Crash

Paul Haggis (directed Crash) recently wrote a letter to the Scientology “celebrity wrangler,” Tommy Davis renouncing the Scientology religion because of its stance on gay rights.  The Church of Scientology actively assisted the Mormon Church in Proposition 8 in California. 

The Church of Scientology actively tries to recruit celebrities into their religion because they are in the spotlight and others may follow in their footsteps and become members.  In this case, their celebrity theory backfired. 

Paul Haggis writes that he tried for 10 months to get the Church of Scientology to renounce the public sponsorship of Proposition 8.  Here is his letter:

Dear Tommy, 

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.

I called and wrote and implored you, as the official spokesman of
the church, to condemn their actions. I told you I could not, in good
conscience, be a member of an organization where gay-bashing was

In that first conversation, back at the end of October of last year,
you told me you were horrified, that you would get to the bottom of it
and “heads would roll.” You promised action. Ten months passed. No action
was forthcoming. The best you offered was a weak and carefully worded
press release, which praised the church’s human rights record and took
no responsibility. Even that, you decided not to publish.

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.

The fact that the Mormon Church drew all the fire, that no one noticed,
doesn’t matter. I noticed. And I felt sick. I wondered how the church
could, in good conscience, through the action of a few and then the
inaction of its leadership, support a bill that strips a group of its
civil rights.

This was my state of mind when 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.

That’s not ancient history, Tommy. It was a year ago.

And you could laugh at the question as if it was a joke? You could
publicly state that it doesn’t exist?

To see you lie so easily, I am afraid I had to ask myself: what else
are you lying about?

The great majority of Scientologists I know are good people who are
genuinely interested in improving conditions on this planet and helping
others. I have to believe that if they knew what I now know, they too
would be horrified. But I know how easy it was for me to defend our
organization and dismiss our critics, without ever truly looking at what
was being said; I did it for thirty-five years. And so, 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

Ps. I’ve attached our email correspondence. At some point it became
evident that you did not value my concerns about the church’s tacit
support of an amendment that violated the civil rights of so many of our
citizens. Perhaps if you had done a little more research on me, the
church’s senior management wouldn’t have dismissed those concerns quite
so cavalierly. While I am no great believer in resumes and awards, this

is what you would have discovered: keep going.

    5 Responses to “Paul Haggis quits Church of Scientology over gay rights”

    1. John says:

      “Strip of group of its civil right”? That is one way to look at it, but there are millions upon millions of Americans who support gay rights but don’t want to redefine marriage. It’s not the only way.

    2. John again says:

      Another thing, the mormons are getting all this credit for leading the fight when they were invited by other churches to support prop 8 late in the game. And while everyone is talking about all them money the mormons contributed, those who were against prop 8 gave more money ($44MM versus $38MM for prop 8). And at the end of the day, it’s votes that made the decision, not money and not mormons, which only make up 2% of california. So enough talk about the mormons. You give them too much credit, really.

    3. John again says:

      “Violated the civil rights of so many of our citizens”? I guess that’s one way to say it. Keep in mind that there are millions upon millions of americans that support gay rights but don’t want to redefine marriage to do it. There are other ways to get the rights gay americans seek.

    4. Rose says:

      Ok John get over yourself. Do you really think repeating yourself over again makes you more right? I personally don’t care what sexual preferences a person has. What counts is what type of person they are on the inside. I agree with Paul, the churches need to mind their own business. They certainly don’t want the government interfering with the way they run their church or with them holding out their hands for all the donations. They should not have any right to stick their noses into government decisions. If a state changes the law giving certain rights to the gays the churches should not be able to stick their nose in and get all the stupid sheep in the flocks to force the law to be changed. Unless of course they are willing to start paying taxes on all that money they keep raking in. In my opinion anyone that donates a ton of money to any church is stupid. Do you people really believe that God wants you to make the churches rich? He would be more impressed with you if you used to to help feed the hungry or helped the ones who are homeless because there are no jobs. But you have to keep giving the money to the ones who deserve it the least. They are bigots, hypocrites and the most greedy of them all. They even have to politicians beat in the greed department.

    5. Excellent read, I just passed this onto a friend who was doing some research on that. And he just bought me lunch since I found it for him smile Therefore let me rephrase that: Thank you for lunch! “Curiosity will conquer fear even more than bravery will.” by James Stephens.


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