'Crash' Director Paul Haggis Ditches Scientology

"I am only ashamed that I waited this many months to act. I hereby resign my membership in the Church of Scientology."

Haggis.jpg
Over the past few days, a remarkable letter was published in four parts at the blog of Marty Rathbun, a former high-level Scientology official who has left the church and now criticizes Scientology's leader, David Miscavige.

In the letter, written to Scientology's current national spokesman, Tommy Davis, 'Crash' director Paul Haggis explains why he is leaving Scientology after 35 years.

Long known for his humanitarian efforts and strong support for civil liberties, Haggis says he was stunned when the San Diego branch of Scientology publicly supported Proposition 8, the state amendment that took away marriage rights for California gay couples.

Haggis goes on to list other factors -- he was shocked when Davis claimed in an interview with John Roberts on CNN that Scientology did not support the practice of "disconnection." Haggis knew that Davis was lying. He himself was asked to "disconnect" from the parents of his wife, Deborah Rennard, who had left Scientology.

Haggis also says he read the recent St. Petersburg Times series, quoting recent high-level Scientology defectors like Rathbun, who claimed that Miscavige physically abuses church members. In response, Davis attacked the people who spoke to the Times by using material that was obviously gathered in confidential church services -- a form of retaliation called "fair game" that Scientology has long been known for, but that the church publicly claims it doesn't do.

Haggis seems most upset that Davis had at first said he would do something about the San Diego support for Proposition 8, but ultimately did nothing.

The letter was published in four parts on Rathbun's blog, but here is the thing in its entirety, including the list of honors that Haggis achieved in his career supporting civil rights...

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 tolerated.

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.

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148 comments
Arianna
Arianna

I totally agree with L.ann.....!!!

Robert
Robert

haggis and beghe should hook up with the director of 'the profit' and do a better remake of that movie and shove it in tommy and slappy's faces!

Fatchancehuh
Fatchancehuh

The Church's current management is so typical of under educated but suddenly powerful people. You take a person at age 8 and put them in a repressive and extremely controlled environment. You force feed them lies and dogma for a few years and when they are truly well molded to your purpose (and have lost their own mind, in fact), put them in charge of a large group of similarly "trained" drones and turn them loose. Pretty sweet for those at the very top. Although even once reaching those lofty heights, it's not assured that you are now finally safe. The "Big D" could have a bad day and you will find yourself in Scn Prison running around a flagpole in the heat of the day for weeks on end, sleeping on the ground and being abused by other thugs that fear the same treatment if they don't enforce this "correction" on you. Just ask Guillaume and other super stars the fell from grace.

I forget who said it but the statement "Correct a wise man and he will thank you, correct a fool and he will break your nose" fits perfectly here.

Rico Goldermann
Rico Goldermann

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Heatseeker
Heatseeker

The Church of Scientology is an abomination and blasfemy to the Lord.A bunch of cult people who nall want to be GOD and brainwash everyone.Afterall Tom Cruise is a member and he looks like hes been brainwashed.No wonder hes an ashole and prick.And many more of them follow.Remember when you have to follow someone who is lost,you eventually end up lost as well.Follow Jesus and the right path will be laid out for you.COS lies to you,Jesus would never lie.He is the way,the truth and the life,not anyone else.So if you believe in anyone but Jesus.....you are lost already.

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James
James

Anonymous The Mormon church DOES shun it's called being excommunicated. This letter was amazing and very moving. He DIDN'T have to do this but chose the hard right instead of the easy wrong. I hope he does everything he can to dismantle this dark cult. He IS a hero just look at all the work he's doing/done to help make this a safer healthier planet.

Diana I truly feel compassion and love for you and your tragic losses. I will be waiting to hear your story and I hope you come forward soon with it & show your children & others to always stand up against injustices and to blow evil out into the light where it can be exposed and neutrolized! God Bless you Diana.

James
James

Anonymous The Mormon church DOES shun it's called being excommunicated. This letter was amazing and very moving. He DIDN'T have to do this but chose the hard right instead of the easy wrong. I hope he does everything he can to dismantle this dark cult. He IS a hero just look at all the work he's doing/done to help make this a safer healthier planet.

Diana I truly feel compassion and love for you and your tragic losses. I will be waiting to hear your story and I hope you come forward soon with it & show your children & others to always stand up against injustices and to blow evil out into the light where it can be exposed and neutrolized! God Bless you Diana.

Arthur
Arthur

Any "religion" that sells itself on the street is a cult. I came to this country in 1976, from South America, and on the street in Miami I was stopped by a pushy salesperson peddling a Hubbard book. I bought it just to rid myself of the guy. I realized right away that this was a cult and I never fell for it. How intelligent people like Mr. Haggis got involved in this cult is beyond me. Good on him to expose them, though. But still incredible that so many people got suckered into this nonsense.

k.wheeler
k.wheeler

You have to ask the question--how did anyone of the intelligence level of Mr. Haggis, who penned such a noteable resignation letter and one who had so many distinguished activities and honors, ever succumb to the absolute "insanity" of Scientolgy in the first place? I asked the same question about those of distinguished education accomplishments who joined the Jim Jones cult--some of which drank the cynaide laced cool-aid. "They loved not the Truth and believed the Lie..." Incredible!

Tod S.
Tod S.

My question to Mr Haggis is this.

After spending so many years assisting in perpetrating a fraud, financing a cult, aiding in indoctrination and openly defending criminals what are YOU going to do to account for you OWN abetting of these criminals.

SoC would not exist at the level it is without the assistance of mind numb powerful wealthy individuals like yourself. Whether you are aware or acknowledge it you have spent the last 35 years abetting the propogation of a cult that preys on humankind. So while the letter and open resignation is a start the real amends run far deeper.

Your celebrity and support has made it enormously more difficult for the rest of us everyday people who have not been duped to shine light on the real truth behind this horrible organization.

I'm glad for your eyes finally openning but am equally saddened if you think your liabilty stops there.

Harry Hurt
Harry Hurt

Don't feel bad about being shunned by a cult. I wish the Jehoveh's Witlesses would shun me and stop knocking on my door.

Larry
Larry

This is a great letter, and I applaud you for writing it. Having some friends in the entertainment industry that have worked closely with John Travolta, I am always amazed at his connection with the CoS and his seeming blind eye to the many verified statements of its former members. They describe John as a caring and kind individual with a strong belief in human rights. His support for an organization that obviously acts to the contrary is very strange.

A poster stated that shunning does not occur within the Mormon church. I beg to differ. It may not be called shunning - but let's not argue over semantics. It doesn't take much digging to find stories - verifiable stories - of people who were told they could no longer fellowship with their church and who faced estrangement from people with whom they had worshipped for years. The process of reconciling with the church is available, but not if the reasons you were asked to leave have not been removed. In other words you are welcome to come back, but on their terms. I also ask people to see the movie "September Dawn" - based on TRUE events.

Sorry, Christians, but you are your own worst enemy. Scientologists, wake up and smell the coffee. A "religion" based on a crazy man's rantings only makes you look really, really ridiculous.

Dru
Dru

We need some of that money that everyone has lavished on CoS. I think our non-profit organization could really help some of the people that CoS feel are beyond repair--at least, maybe we could help their families cope a little better. I have a good friend who is a member of the CoS, but for some reason, I've never been able to follow the sheeple who believe in any religion to the extreme. Look what happened to the pretendains at the sweat lodge. Believing to the extreme in any situation can be a dangerous thing.

Dru
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We need some of that money that everyone has lavished on CoS. I think our non-profit organization could really help some of the people that CoS feel are beyond repair--at least, maybe we could help their families cope a little better. I have a good friend who is a member of the CoS, but for some reason, I've never been able to follow the sheeple who believe in any religion to the extreme. Look what happened to the pretendains at the sweat lodge. Believing to the extreme in any situation can be a dangerous thing.

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L.Ann
L.Ann

Diana;

Your story breaks my heart. Good for you for being strong and overcoming! May you have peace.

Dude
Dude

what is all this stuff about lol

Diana
Diana

For the complaints about Scientologists, all rational, one has to remember, people have the right to chose whom they believe in. My mother has been a member of the cult for over 40 years. Now, here is the ONE THING I find to be a over the top....my mother joined when I was 15. Because of my hesitance of the group (she was previosly Buddhist), I was discommunicated from her. That's right, me and my little brother who was 12 at the time. Because I refused to follow her into the church, she abandoned us. I raised my brother the best I could, moved to Hawaii to start over.This is the most serious thing a church could do wrong, we were minors, damn it!She married a scientologist (he defected 10 years ago), and soon after that their son, my half bother, committed suicide. Turns out he wanted out but had no means to do so. My other brother drank himself to death and died a couple years ago.Thank you scientology! You took my mom, made her into your slave to get her stupid auditing, and climb your bogus bridge ( in which you add levels to, to keep people in) while she watched her kids suffer and eventually die! I wish I could become public on my story which spans 40 years. But, for some weird reason, I wish to remain to myself, as they would ruin me and my family. I have no doubt about that. Some day, you will all hear all I have to say. It is very real, very scary. I am not a crack pot. I am a very lucky woman who managed to further her life, to have family that I will never abandon, and to still talk to my mother, as my previous teachings show me compassion. I just wish the church would go away.

Oh Please
Oh Please

Are you kidding me? This pompous idiot is just now after 35 years realizing the evils of this cult that claims the universe was born of aliens? This is clearly just another moronic, disconnected celebrity publicity stunt, who gives a shit at his "moral outrage?" He was part of an organization that abuses people and lauds celebrities, inflating their egos and promoting the keeping-down of "normal people." The only outrage here is that anyone is listening to this asshole.

scott
scott

"walk out of an auditing session feeling on top of the world, as powerful as you've ever felt, at peace with the world and with kindness as your greatest motivation and tell me the whole thing was just about money."

you must be unaware of where that feeling comes from. me personally, i've felt the same thing at a southern baptist church during a revival and it didn't cost me a dime...

phoenix
phoenix

Scientology uses the same old tactics that have been used for empowerment by both politics and religion down the centuries - fear and intimidation.

It was less than three hundred years ago in Scotland that both young and old women were burned , drowned or tarred and feathered for simple acts like going out at night looking for plants that could heal , picking them at the right time for maximum benefit. The fact that they could heal or bring comfort annoyed the Church , who could not. The power of the Church was therefore undermined so they had to do something about it - they had to vilify those who so threatened them , the benevolent. Demonic , ain't it?

All organised religions become corrupt eventually - it's possibly even Nature's Way - that old devil , entropy.

It is so easy for some of you to give Haggis a hard time for taking so long to 'come out' , you have the benefit of hindsight. It was still an act of courage and I still salute him.

To be fair , I would not let Scientology take all the flak , you guys , our former colony , have other bogus systems to grapple with - like Creationism and Born Again Christianity.

Good luck!

BlueSkies
BlueSkies

Bat, I'd have to see it all for myself rather than rely on the rantings of an angry mob for whom the concept of "help" has been twisted into "betray".

It's very sad to me that there are those who can't imagine that anyone would want to help another - a total stranger, even - without wanting something in return.

Well, here's the key to unlocking this game called life: helping others is ultimately very selfish because I can't really ever find my peace until you find yours. We're in it together.

I don't walk around believing that everyone needs to be a Scientologist; my hope is only that we can create a sane, peaceful world without wars and famine and pestilence and misery.

Scientology's not guaranteed to produce such an outcome but it's a long way further along that road than anything else I can think of.

sssliska
sssliska

go to www. neopagan.netlook for: the Advanced Bonewits' Cult Danger Evaluation Frame

This is a perennial favorite to apply to ALL religions and new agey-ness one may find oneself mired in....it's also a good nutjob-o-meter for social 'scenes' and friends even.

it's short easy-to-use and sums up all the unease you know is there.

I dare ya all to aim this at LRH + his bs.really.....please.....I'll wait.....

Batzarro
Batzarro

Honestly, Blueskies I don't think you're insane. However, maybe you should consider the possibility that things aren't exactly as you've been told.

And at this point honestly, it's not even about the Magic story with the space planes and ghost aliens.

It's about a group that coerces, blackmails, has children working for overtime and once once broke into U.S. facilities to steal info about themselves. Sure, you may dismiss my claims. I think you will. But if they proved to be true, would you stay on the path, I wonder? What would you have to know, or see happen, to change your mind?

BlueSkies
BlueSkies

Great zenster, thanks for setting me straight! I have an IQ of 160, am a leader in my field, have a wonderful family and not an ounce of hate in my heart but I'm insane, eh? Lucky for me.

I don't really expect you to understand and/or believe what I'm saying but whatever it is which is/is not going on within the Church of Scientology has nothing to do with what the Old Man mapped out. Whether you believe them or not really can't change what I know; not what I believe or hope to be true but what I most unshakably know.

I hope you find some peace.

zenster
zenster

I find it interesting that of all these posts, the Scientologist here, Blue Skies, is the one that makes absolutely no sense. Just playing back on this blog all of those grainy, silly, LRH "Saint Hill" recordings you have listened to for all these years of brainwashing. Please get some help before you waste your entire life.

Start with this: There is no such thing as Xenu, L Ron Hubbard wrote OT III when he was hiding in Queens, NY and high on rum and bennies. You are not covered in body thetans. You are not the effect of your "engrams" you can CHOOSE right now what to think, L Ron Hubbard does not have to do that for you.

Pat
Pat

So, Paul Haggis... let me get this straight. You can stick with this phoney-baloney cult despite its theft of your money and its belief in an evil alien warlord named Xenu whose genocidal actions caused all our bodies to be possessed by angry alien souls, and you can even stick with them when they demand that your wife disconnect from her own loving family, but their support of Prop 8 was what finally drove you over the edge? You are a weird, weird man, Paul Haggis. If I'd been stupid enough to join this "church" in the first place, I think I'd've still had the good sense to be outta there LONG before Prop 8. I can't believe that somebody could renounce this "church" and still completely fail to earn my admiration or respect for having done so. Seriously, just amazing.

Mark Stark
Mark Stark

Haggis's daughter is a lesbian. I guess that's what got him upset about seeing Scientology San Diego "org" on the list of anti-gay marriage supporters.

Originally, Hubbard had gays at 1.1 on his bogus tone scale, and recommended they be "disposed of quietly and without sorrow" in the all-Scientology future he envisioned, if they didn't respond to Dianetics processing.

He modified that through the years to a more moderate stance. The brainwashed in this nutty cult, claim that Hubbard was just a product of his time. Odd, since they also claim he had the ability to travel throughout space and time, and detail the political history of the last 4 quadrillion years. He knew all the answers, the wisdom of the ages. But he was too stupid not to latch on to bigotry and homophobia of his time?

If there was money to be made off gays, Hubbard wanted it. If there was trouble to be had for his scam, because of a position, he modified it. EVERYTHING in Scientology is about raking in a tiny percentage of vulnerable and wealthy people, brainwashing them, and milking them for all it's worth.

He launched PROJECT CELEBRITY in 1955 to do exactly as he set out to do. Even with a very slow start -- it eventually caught on with a few dupes (usually high school dropouts), but really started getting wings with people like Katselas, who recruited literally dozens from his acting classes, and got a commission for each one!

Haggis was in a bubble, the bubble it creates for celebrities. Scilons even assign special handlers for some celebrities. Tommy Davis used to be Cruise's personal handler. Whether there was any penis wrangling going on is purely speculative, but they did spend a lot of time together.

Oddly, Davis is believed to be very low on the "bridge" after his 30+ years in the cult. He has very little interest in Hubbard's cockamamie, but is in Scientology more for the status and power.

anonymous
anonymous

We all know that organized religion, in all of its forms, is a scam and a con-game and scientology is no exception! Religion is the opiate of the masses and scientology, with its massive intrusion and manipulation of the personal lives of its members (suckers!), is more addictive and destructive than any crack cocaine habit! Just recently, the Courts of France convicted scientology of fraud! We still have yet to learn what role scientology played in the death of Jett Travolta, son of John Travolta, who has been victimized, along with many other public figures, of this massive fraud! It takes a lot of courage to come forward and expose the continuous fraud and abuse of scientology members. I commend Paul Haggis for having the courage to do it!

Batzarro
Batzarro

Heh. so he would not denounce "disconnection" or that they would lie about it, but as soon as gay rights are involved, "the gloves are off" right?

Perhaps gay rights are listed too high on some of our moral compasses.

phoenix
phoenix

I try to keep an open mind and have become quite good at it over the years.

Churches that have preceded Scientology have resulted in creating as much chaos and disorder as they have done good ; the benefits seem to end up in the hands of a privileged few.

There are places we should try to avoid and churches are merely one of them , I would also suggest hospitals and police cells.....the list might get bigger with your input.

I suggest too that there are many other ways to self-improve that are more fun and less expensive in terms of your time and money than Scientology. Mebbe you are just fine the way you are( give or take a few rough edges 80) ).

Scientology is just sooooo yesterday , just say no !

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