A letter by Oscar winning Paul Haggis (Crash) wherein he renounces the Church of Scientology, of which he’s been a member for 25 years, is making the rounds on various websites.
In summary, Haggis’ initial frustration arose from the San Diego branch’s support of Proposition 8, and, in spite of his appeals, the Church’s inaction over condemning the support of the anti-gay legislation.
“I told you I could not, in good conscience, be a member of an organization where gay-bashing was tolerated,” Haggis writes.
Haggis goes on to verify and condemn that the Church used private information gathered during an auditing session to smear a Church defector, a tactic the Church has long denied ever using.
“So, I am now painfully aware that you might see this an attack and just as easily use things I have confessed over the years to smear my name.”
The letter ends, “I hereby resign my membership in the Church of Scientology.”
But one thing he never does is recant any of the core teaching or beliefs of Scientology. His bone lies only with how the Church is run.
Additionally, the site this first appeared on, the writer, by former Scientologist Marty Rathbun, notes that the Church of Scientology is not anti-gay, and that L Ron Hubbard even had long time staff who were homosexual.
More importantly, both Rathbun and Haggis, while they have strong issues with the Church itself, both continue to have strong beliefs in Scientology itself. These aren’t people who ran from the Church, believing they were duped by a bunch of alien hogwash, but true believers who take issue with a system and leadership they argue is taking advantage of its members.
Which begs the question… have former members of the Church of Scientology yet tried to create a their own church, using the same materials, but without the cultish tactics that Scientology is currently synonymous? And if not, could the comments from as high profile member as Haggis become the spark for such an effort?
On a related note, during an interview on Nightline last Thursday, the same Scientology spokesman who Haggis’ letter was addressed to, stormed off set in the middle of an interview. At the end of the clip below, you can see spokesman Tommy Davis yanking off his microphone and walking away after reporter Martin Bashir asked him about some core beliefs relating to Xenu, Thetans, and other topics that are allegedly priviliged information only for those among Scientology’s highest ranks.
And by asking about these beliefs, Bashir was simply asking if Davis believed in them. (fast forward to the 3:15 mark to get to this portion of the report).