Wowza,Scientology can not seem to catch a break. When the crazy pants religion isn’t getting skewered in the press or mocked by cartoons,its own spokespeople or followers are doing the damage. The most recent embarrassment to come to the “church”is the departure of long time Scientologist and successful screen writer Paul Haggis.
The Oscar winning writer,scribe of “Million Dollar Baby”and “Crash”,wrote a scathing and quite revealing letter to the church about his necessary departure from the religion. Haggis,who of late was not an active member in the church,was appalled by the church’s public participation in Proposition 8,the piece of legislation that made gay marriage in California illegal. Haggis was upset over the church’s position on civil rights and their recent in promoting conspiracy theories with multiple publications.
The letter addressed to Scientology’s spokesperson Tommy Davis said,
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.
I joined the Church of Scientology thirty-five years ago. During my twenties and early thirties I studied and received a great deal of counseling. While I have not been an active member for many years,I found much of what I learned to be very helpful,and I still apply it in my daily life. I have never pretended to be the best Scientologist,but I openly and vigorously defended the church whenever it was criticized,as I railed against the kind of intolerance that I believed was directed against it. I had my disagreements,but I dealt with them internally. I saw the organization – with all its warts,growing pains and problems – as an underdog. And I have always had a thing for underdogs.
But I reached a point several weeks ago where I no longer knew what to think. 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.
This news,along with Davis’freak out during an interview with Martin Bashir for ABC’s Nightline can not bode well for the church. Davis was unable to openly discuss the religion and refused to give Bashir a simple yes or no response in regards to published practices of Scientology. When the discussion came around the idea of Xenu,Davis freaked out,claimed bigotry and left the interview in a huff. This,the departure of Haggis,the recent legal attacks from both the German and French governments and the fallout of the death of John Travolta and Kelly Preston’s son has left a VERY bad taste in people’s mouths. Scientology,notorious for attack its dissenters,will have to act cautiously if it would like to get back at Haggis,as he expects. The last thing this religion needs is another log added to the fire of disbelief it has with the general public. As a gadfly on all things Scientology,this story just seems to be getting better,as more and more celebrities defect. But,as we have learned from the past,the church always finds its way and comes back stronger.