October 28, 2009

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Yeah, it's a Hollywood mixed with Scientology story, which I normally avoid like the plague, but director Paul Haggis's very public and damning resignation from the Church of Scientology because he couldn't reconcile his belief in the fundamental unfairness of banning gay marriage and his church's support for it is definitely worth a read:

In what may prove to be an earth-shaking rupture for the organization, Oscar-winning writer and director Paul Haggis has broken publicly with the Church of Scientology, the Hollywood-centric religion that has recently come under renewed scrutiny for its political positions.

In a scathing letter to the church's celebrity contact, Tommy Davis, Haggis accused the church of hypocrisy and lies, especially regarding its decision to support the anti-gay-marriage proposition on the California ballot last year, Proposition 8.

"I told you I could not, in good conscience, be a member of an organization where gay-bashing was tolerated," Haggis wrote, referring to support for Prop. 8 in the church's San Diego branch. "You promised action. Ten months passed. No action was forthcoming."

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."

The church has officially denied that it supported Proposition 8, however, Haggis felt that the denial was weak at best, and not the only troubling thing about Scientology:

He accused Davis of lying in a CNN interview about church policy regarding the requirement that members distance themselves from any family members who oppose Scientology.

"I saw you deny the church's policy of disconnection," he said. "I was shocked. We all know this policy exists."

Haggis said his own wife "was ordered" to break relations with her parents because of the policy, "because of something absolutely trivial they supposedly did 25 years ago when they resigned from the church. ... 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.

"To see you lie so easily, I am afraid I had to ask myself: What else are you lying about?" Haggis wrote.

Haggis's letter is available here. In it, Haggis acknowledges that the hardball tactics the Church of Scientology employs to smear those who have left the fold will be used on him as well. The Church of Scientology isn't having the best of weeks, either. They were convicted in France of fraud and the country just stopped short of banning the church altogether.

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