Paul Haggis Quits Scientology Over Prop. 8

By: Gay.com
10.29.2009

The Academy Award-winning filmmaker behind Crash, Paul Haggis, ended his 35-year association with the Church of Scientology recently with an open letter citing the church’s stance on LGBTQ issues as the main reason.

Haggis, who also wrote Million Dollar Baby, directed his letter to Tommy Davis, the current national spokesman for Scientology, and clearly stated in opening the letter that he "could not, in good conscience, be a member of an organization where gay-bashing was tolerated."

Haggis revealed the battle had been raging since "the end of October of last year, you [Davis] 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 church’s refusal to denounce the actions of these bigots, hypocrites and homophobes is cowardly,” wrote Haggis. “I can think of no other word. Silence is consent, Tommy. I refuse to consent.”

Haggis shared that in the course of his long association with Scientology, he "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 saw the organization — with all its warts, growing pains and problems — as an underdog. And I have always had a thing for underdogs."

His breaking point, however, was reached when he realized that "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" because of its support of Proposition 8, which ended marriage equality in California.

"The fact that the Mormon Church drew all the fire, that no one noticed, doesn’t matter," he continued. "I noticed. And I felt sick."

The letter was published on the blog of ex-Scientologist Marty Rathbun. Read the letter in full here.

Tell us: Have you or a loved one ever had personal experiences with the Church of Scientology? What was your experience like?

Image courtesy of Getty. Paul Haggis with Crash stars Thandie Newton and Matt Dillon.

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