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Scientology’s Homophobic Backlash: Crash Director Paul Haggis Quits Church


Are there “good” reasons to ditch Scientology? Or is any reason — it’s expensive, it’s abusive, it’s based on science fiction characters — a good reason? Let’s ask Crash and Million Dollar Baby director Paul Haggis, who just quit the church because it’s too … homophobic. Hey, we like that reason!

Up until last week, Haggis was a 35-year-member of the Church, and one of their most prized assets: As a Hollywood macher, he was a commodity to church leader David Miscavige. Like Tom Cruise and John Travolta, Haggis helped bridge the gap between famous and influential (and wealthy) nonbelievers and the Church.

So why give it all up? Because Scientology brass refused to back off its support of Proposition 8, and homophobia in general. Not that it should be terribly surprising to hear the Church traffics in anti-gay tactics — it’s basically a refuge for actors running from their homosexuality. Explains Haggis in a lengthy letter addressed to Scientology spokesman Tommy Davis (to, uh, ensure they’re prepared for the media assault?):

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.

Haggis’ exit has been at least 10 months in the making. He’s been critical of the Church’s homophobic stance, and calls the accusations made in the St. Petersburg Times — about Miscaviage’s violent rule — accurate. This is damning stuff. And it’s pornographic to read in full.

But the bigger question remain: Just how much more of a high-profile an assault from a veteran member will it take for Scientology to actually become the defender of human rights it claims to be?

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  • Fitz

    Ladies and Gentlemen, we have backbone.

  • terrwill

    Kudos to him for having the balls to give a big FU to Tommy and Johnny et all…..Now when is someone going to indict Travolta for manslaughter for the death of his son Jett? He admitted they knew that Jett suffered from seizures on a regular basis yet refused to allow Jett to take anti-seizure medication because it would force them to acknodledge Jett had Autism, which is not accepted by the Scientologists. Parents action has direct effect on
    death of child=Manslaughter…….unfortunately no DA is going to have the guts to impanel a grand jury to indict them……..

  • scott ny'er

    good for him. Hopefully other big name “stars” will follow suit, since that’s what the American public needs. They follow stars like lemmings.

  • Freeman

    This guy is awesome!

  • DeAnimator

    Good for Paul Haggis. One of the only Scientology members with a brain and apparently, a moral conscience.

  • jojococoa

    crash was still terrible.

  • Brian

    Did you see that Mormons and Baptists? People can put fairness and equality before religion. Who’s next?

  • Chauncey

    @ Brian

    If people put reason before anything like believing in religion, homophobia wouldn’t be a problem. You cant put fairness and equality before religion…its really incompatible when u get down to it.

  • William Day

    Hahahahahaha! Joyous day! One question: What operating level was Haggis? With all these rumours about brainwashing and cult activity within Scientology, it’ll be interesting to see if Haggis is willing to talk about what exactly he experienced during his thirty five years with the Church. If you are familiar with Operation Clambake, there have been many reports about harrassment of people who try to leave…

  • rudy

    Now I have to wonder if Scientology’s influence helped steal Brokeback Mountain’s Oscar and handed it to the wretched Crash.
    Maybe Marriage Equality should stage kiss-ins in front of the cult’s recruitment center.

  • tarxien

    But it took him 35 years???
    What a waste of his life.
    All religions are a waste of time, but scientology is so obviously nonsense, it’s difficult to understand how anyone can spend 5 minutes on it.

  • WillBFair

    Sweet. I especially like that a straight guy is defending us.
    Scientology is totally out there, which shows how stupid actors are. From personal experience, I can say they’re second only to models.
    Religion and fairness are not incompatible. I’ve done charity work for most of my adult life, with tons of liberal christians. I haven’t seen many free thinkers doing such work. Probably their too busy with the mental masturbation on Sam Harris’ blog.
    Maybe you should tell homeless people being fed and housed by christians what a waste of time religion is. Too bad you weren’t around to explain things to the abolitionists.

  • Merv

    Homeless people fed and housed by Christians?! Don’t make me laugh. These people contract with the government to deliver government-funded services. Most of Catholic Relief Services money comes from the government. We pay for it, they take credit, and skim off a fee. Nice racket if you can swing it.

  • WillBFair

    @ Merv.
    Nice cherry picking of the record to trash the church. It’s an old game, popular with ‘rationalists’ who rely heavily on rhetorical tricks.
    Some cash comes from the government. So what. They use it with volunteers to feed and warehouse the most vulnerable. And plenty of other programs use private money. I know, because I’ve worked for them. If you had ever lifted a finger for the oppressed, you’d know better than to make such an accusation. The point is to relieve the sufferings of others, not run a scam. That you can call such work a racket creeps me right out.

  • Brian NJ

    What a set.

  • Louanne

    I write this on the other article about but it is valid here as well: Scientology couldn’t care less if you share your bed with another woman or man. Ask a Scientologist.

    Or read up on it:

    Is Scientology against homosexuality? Are there gay Scientologists?

    There was some early writings that appeared to be “anti-gay”, stating that homosexuality was covertly hostile. But one must look at that in the context of the times. In the 1940s – 1950s most people in western countries did consider homosexuality to be a mental or even physical illness.

    I do not have any knowledge or evidence of anti-homosexual actions taken by the church at any point, other than the few writings on the subject. It was pretty much left alone for many years.

    Then in 1967 Hubbard issued a policy which reads, in part, “It has never been any part of my plans to regulate or to attempt to regulate the private lives of individuals. Whenever this has occurred, it has not resulted in any improved condition…

    Therefore all former rules, regulations and polices relating to the sexual activities of Scientologists are canceled.”

    Hubbard later released a book about ethical behavior that was silent on the subject of homosexuality, and offered a gender-neutral ethical guidelines about being faithful to one’s partner and avoiding promiscuity.

    The Church of Scientology is a leading proponent for human rights for all people of earth as can be seen by their campaigns with Youth for Human Rights and the Citizens Commission on Human Rights.

    In October 2009 a spokesperson of the Church of Scientology International put it this way:

    “The church supports civil rights for everybody, regardless of sexual orientation, race, color or creed. We are a minority, too; we understand what it’s like to be persecuted, so to the extent that anything prohibits or inhibits on civil rights, we don’t agree with it.” (MSNBC, 28 October 2009)

    (this is from scientologymyths dot info)

  • Tim

    People switch religions all the time, that is not to say that the religion the switched from is a bad religion. It is usually something chose to leave that particular religion or may have chosen to join that particular religion. Religion is something personal and not usually displayed. Even Britney Spears went from Baptist, studied Kabbalah – a branch of Jewish mysticism and is now apparently dabbling in Hinduism.

    Gossip blurs a lot truth. Go to the msnbc read the Church response. Here is the link:

  • ianzen

    In the late 60’s early 70’s when Scientology was just starting I was a early member. Many of the teachings Of Hubbard made since to me. I knew him personally and his family very well. His son Quintin was an amazing being, so sweet and kind, you would just want to be around him because of his sweetness. Unfortunity, he was also gay and even though he loved his father very much, he also knew that his being gay was going to distroy their relationship.
    He felt the only answer to this situation was to take his life, which he did, and it was horrible to us all. He went into the desert and his body was found with his ID under a rock. I left the church soon after, but because I was so close to the family and all the church hunted me for years.
    Now I’m a happy homo, but the church still scares me.

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