Paul Haggis, the Hollywood film director, has resigned from the Church of Scientology after 35 years as a member in protest against its apparent opposition to gay marriage.
Haggis, whose 2005 film Crash won two Oscars, said that he could no longer remain part “of an organisation where gay-bashing was tolerated”.
In a lengthy resignation letter leaked to the press, Haggis attacked the church’s support for Proposition 8, which banned same-sex marriage in California.
The letter was addressed to the church’s official spokesman Tommy Davis, accusing him of failing to act on promises to distance the organisation from homophobic statements made by its San Diego branch during debates over Proposition 8 last year.
“I called and wrote and implored you, as the official spokesman of the church, to condemn their actions,” he wrote. “You promised action. Ten months passed. No action.”
He added: “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.”
Haggis, a Canadian-born filmmaker who wrote Clint Eastwood’s Million Dollar Baby before writing and directing the acclaimed Crash about racial tension in Los Angeles, also claimed that his wife suffered “terrible personal pain” after cutting ties with her parents – former church members – last year.
The director went on to lament his own failure to challenge the church hierarchy earlier in his membership. […more…]
In the letter, addressed to Scientology spokesperson Tommy Davis, Haggis also highlights one of Davis’ lies:
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?