Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Director of Oscar Winning 'Crash' Leaves Scientology Due to Their Prop 8 Support

Director Paul Haggis, who helmed Oscar's 2005 Best Picture Crash (and beat Brokeback Mountain in an upset, grrr) and Million Dollar Baby, has officially left the Church of Scientology due to their support of Proposition 8.

In a biting letter to the church's spokesman Tommy Davis, Haggis regrets taking so long to take action but reminds Davis that he had waited long enough for appropriate action from the church to correct their wrongs.

Blogger Mark Rathbun, who broke the story and posted the letter says, "I received a copy of a letter sent to Tommy Davis written by a rather influential person. The source who provided this was a third party recipient of the letter and was able to establish to my satisfaction that the letter is authentic."

An excerpt:
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.
Rathbun says, "Paul Haggis is no joke." I concur.

I applaud Haggis for his bravery in leaving a church that is infamous for scaring church members into submission and threatening them if they attempt to leave.

I have defended members of different religions and denominations for sticking by their churches even though they may disagree with their leadership's persecution of LGBT rights. But if Paul Haggis can extricate himself from the ironclad clutches of Scientology, maybe so can many other Catholics, protestants and evangelicals who support LGBT equality.

Oh, and as Elizabeth Snead said on Los Angeles Times blog The Dish Rag, "Maybe there’s hope for Tom Cruise and John Travolta."

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