Paul Haggis quits Scientology

October 27th, 2009 - 9:44 pm ICT by Aishwarya Bhatt  

New York, Oct 27 (THAINDIAN NEWS) Noted director and screenwriter Paul Haggis has quit the church of Scientology, to show his disdain with the way the church is treating the gays and other members who want to quit.

Haggis wrote an angry letter addressed to Tommy Davis, the head of Scientology’s Celebrity Centre. In it, Haggis said he was grossly disappointed by the church’s tacit denial of gay rights in the debate over California’s gay marriage ban.

The 56-year-old Haggis, who won an Oscar in 2005 for co-writing “Crash,” said he was quitting the church after 35 years. “I could not, in good conscience, be a member of an organization where gay-bashing was tolerated,” Haggis wrote. The filmmaker said that he was promised that action would be taken but that he was frustrated after the promised action did not materialize.

“Silence is consent, Tommy,” Haggis wrote. “I refuse to consent.”

The letter, dated Aug. 19, was published in a blog about Scientology and has since been widely circulated online. Ziggy Kozlowski, a publicist for Haggis, confirmed that the director wrote the letter, which spoke in favor of gay rights. Kozlowski said the much-publicized letter was intended to remain private.

Davis said Haggis’ complaints were based on misunderstandings and that he has since spoken to the filmmaker. Davis strenuously disagreed with Haggis’ claim that the Church of Scientology is in any way anti-gay. “We’re all for civil rights and the rights of minorities,” said Davis. “We know what it is to be a minority and have your rights curtailed. We’re very vocal and consistent in our stance on discrimination against anybody. We take it very seriously.”

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