Paul Haggis Unhappy Over Church's Support of Propsition 8
(CALIFORNIA) Paul Haggis, award winning writer and director of such films as Crash and Million Dollar Baby, resigned from the Church of Scientology recently, due to the San Diego Church of Scientology's support of Proposition 8. He had been a member of the controversial church for 35 years.
Haggard’s resignation letter went viral on the internet over the weekend.
Through a series of phone calls and emails referred to in his resignation letter, Haggis had been calling on Tommy Davis, the church’s national spokesperson, to do something about the San Diego Church of Scientology’s public support of the measure during the last election. “I called and wrote and implored you, as the official spokesman of the church,” he wrote, “to condemn their actions. I told you I could not, in good conscience, be a member of an organization where gay-bashing was tolerated.”
Initially, Davis appeared to acknowledge Haggis’ contempt for the situation and promised to do something. He did nothing.
After 10 months, Haggis took action on his own behalf and tendered his resignation, also choosing to cite his other great displeasures with the church.
The Church of Scientology has often publicly stated that they do not practice the policy of “disconnection”, but Haggis also noted in his letter this had happened to his own family. He criticized the church’s treatment of his in-laws, reminding Davis that his wife had been told to “disconnect” with them recently over a difference with the church 25 years ago when they themselves had left Scientology. He called the last 18 months, where his in-laws were even kept from seeing their own grandchild, “a terrible time”.
In the letter, Haggis’ repeatedly drove home the point that support of Prop 8 showed that the church sided with other voices of bigotry and discrimination and he refused to be associated with it.
“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.”
He admitted he may lose friends, colleagues and that it is even possible his separation from the church may cause other affiliated actors to never work with him again. It appears he is willing to take that chance.
Haggis has been a staunch supporter of humanitarian efforts and civil liberties his entire career, and closed the letter reminding Davis of the long list of memberships he has held and the many honors he has received supporting those causes. It was further proof that his association with the Church of Scientology was no longer in any way consistent with his belief system.