Oscar-winning director Paul Haggis quit the Church of Scientology in protest this week over what he calls the organization’s “gay-bashing.” Haggis decided to leave Scientology partially due to statements made by the church’s San Diego branch in support of the California Proposition 8 gay marriage ban.
“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… I told you I could not, in good conscience, be a member of an organization where gay-bashing was tolerated,” Haggis wrote in a letterÂ to Church of Scientology spokesman Tommy Davis. â€œThe churchâ€™s refusal to denounce the actions of these bigots, hypocrites and homophobes is cowardly,â€ Haggis wrote. â€œI can think of no other word. Silence is consent, Tommy. I refuse to consent.â€
The Oscar-winning director of Crash also declaimed the Scientology practice of “disconnection” – where members are required to cease contact with friends or family who leave the church or advocate against it. “We all know this policy exists,” Haggis said. “You might recall that my wife [Deborah Rennard]was ordered to disconnect from her own parents… although it caused her terrible personal pain, my wife broke off all contact with them.”
“I am only ashamed I waited this many months to act. I hereby resign my membership of the Church of Scientology,” Haggis said in closing. The church has yet to respond publicly to Haggis’ resignation.
A-list Hollywood celebrities in the Church of Scientology include John Travolta and wife Kelly Preston, Tom Cruise and wife Katie Holmes and Priscilla and Lisa Marie Presley. Paul Haggis had been a practicing member of Scientology for 35 years. Other notable celebs who have ditched Scientology over the years include Demi Moore, Jerry Seinfield, Patrick Swayze and Cruise’s ex-wife Nicole Kidman.
Read the full letter from Paul Haggis here.