Paul Haggis (Pic: David Shankbone)
The writer/director of the 2005 Oscar winning film Crash, Paul Haggis, has publicly left the Church of Scientology, accusing it of being homophobic.
In a scathing letter to the Church’s main spokesperson, Tommy Davis, Haggis slams the organisation for having supported the Proposition 8 ban on same-sex marriage, which he describes as “a hate-filled legislation that succeeded in taking away the civil rights of gay and lesbian citizens of California.”
Haggis says that while Davis told him that he was appalled that the San Diego branch of the Church of Scientology had supported the ban and that “heads would roll”, nothing ever happened.
“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,” writes the Hollywood heavyweight in the letter.
“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 further accuses the Church of blatantly lying to the public by denying that it follows a policy of “disconnection” in which members are told to stop communicating with family or friends who the Church finds problematic.
“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. You might recall that my wife was ordered to disconnect from her parents because of something absolutely trivial they supposedly did twenty-five years ago when they resigned from the church
“For a year and a half, despite her protestations, my wife did not speak to her parents and they had limited access to their grandchild. It was a terrible time,” writes Haggis.
He ends by saying: “I have finally come to the conclusion that I can no longer be a part of this group. Frankly, I had to look no further than your refusal to denounce the church’s anti-gay stance, and the indefensible actions, and inactions, of those who condone this behaviour within the organization. I am only ashamed that I waited this many months to act. I hereby resign my membership in the Church of Scientology.”
In addition to writing and directing Crash, Haggis also wrote the 2004 Oscar winning film Million Dollar Baby.