Is Scientology Really As Anti-Gay as Paul Haggis Claims?

The Church of Scientology regularly lies — and then lies about its lies — so it’s perfectly understandable if you want to call a preemptive “BULLSHIT” on its latest claim: We’re not anti-gay!

Let’s just assume, for argument’s sake, that the reason Scientology attracts so many high-profile celebs is not because it promises to take the gay out of them (see: Tom Cruise, John Travolta, Will Smith). Because that would be sort of anti-gay!

In responding to Crash director Paul Haggis’ private-cum-public exit from the Church, spokesman Tommy Davis (who Haggis’ letter was addressed to, pictured) counters the reasons Haggis gave for branding Scientology as homophobic are bunk. Specifically, Haggis mentioned the San Diego branch’s support of Prop 8; Davis says that the “Church of Scientology San Diego had been put on a list of churches that supported Proposition 8 out in California. It was incorrectly included and named when it should have never been on the list to begin with.”

So why won’t the Church support gay rights? Because that would violate Scientology’s tax-exempt status, says Davis. (Obviously the Roman Catholic Church and LDS do not share the same view on tax law.)

But even if all that is true, here’s something Scientology does have in common with anti-gay bigots: It advocates the blunt separation of families. From Pat Robertson to Bill Donohue, adherence to Christian scripture means denouncing your gay friends and family; Scientology demands the same. As Haggis points out, Scientologists are forced to part ways with their loved ones who criticize the Church. (His wife had to cut off contact with her parents, who left Scientology.)

Despite Davis’ insistence to the contrary, it’s hard to believe Scientology is a place of open acceptance that “supports civil rights for everybody, regardless of sexual orientation, race, color or creed.” And while Davis claims “we are a minority, too; we understand what it’s like to be persecuted,” we can’t imagine anything healthy coming from a place that perpetrates shame and violence among its own community.