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Haggis’ Big Disconnect From Scientology

Posted on Feb 7, 2011
Wikimedia Commons / David Shankbone (CC-BY-SA)

“Crash” director Paul Haggis, pictured here at the 2007 Tribeca Film Festival, isn’t done with the Church of Scientology yet.

Screenwriter and director Paul Haggis’ public exit from the Church of Scientology continues with a long exposé in this month’s issue of The New Yorker, in which Haggis describes his troubled early years, his initial embrace of L. Ron Hubbard’s religion and the fallout from his very visible sign-off from Scientology. Also, actor Josh Brolin chimes in with a “really fucking bizarre” moment he says he witnessed between John Travolta and an injured Marlon Brando.

The New Yorker:

Tommy Davis told me, “People started calling me, saying, ‘What’s this letter Paul sent you?’ ” The resignation letter had not circulated widely, but if it became public it would likely cause problems for the church. The St. Petersburg Times exposé had inspired a fresh series of hostile reports on Scientology, which has long been portrayed in the media as a cult. And, given that some well-known Scientologist actors were rumored to be closeted homosexuals, Haggis’s letter raised awkward questions about the church’s attitude toward homosexuality. Most important, Haggis wasn’t an obscure dissident; he was a celebrity, and the church, from its inception, has depended on celebrities to lend it prestige. In the past, Haggis had defended the religion; in 1997, he wrote a letter of protest after a French court ruled that a Scientology official was culpable in the suicide of a man who fell into debt after paying for church courses. “If this decision carries it sets a terrible precedent, in which no priest or minister will ever feel comfortable offering help and advice to those whose souls are tortured,” Haggis wrote. To Haggis’s friends, his resignation from the Church of Scientology felt like a very public act of betrayal. They were surprised, angry, and confused. “ ‘Destroy the letter, resign quietly’—that’s what they all wanted,” Haggis says.

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By Sucker Punched, February 14, 2011 at 12:45 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter) all began during a solar eclipse thousands of
years ago… someone sick and tired of hunting and
foraging to advantage of it whilst everyone else hid
in caves or groveled on the ground… that lazy
someone jumped up and performed a magic trick and
brought the sun back, restored it, somehow gave it
life again… and that is how religion started…
some person smarter than the rest, or more likely,
just sick and tired of having to work for food… and
voila… instant free maintenance for life and the
adoration and protection of all us dummies… ad
infinitum, ad nauseum… ad absurdito… it is not
even worth getting upset about because anyone with a
grain of sense will see the nonsense for what it
is… a punk ass magic show

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By Inherit The Wind, February 13, 2011 at 11:56 pm Link to this comment

WTF does that mean?  That Scientology and all religions are crap? Or that Scientology is the one “true” religion?

I gotta go with the former. The only difference between the COS and other religions is its supernatural bullshit is more like science fiction than just fantasy—simply because LRH lived when space flight was real and happening.

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By John Smith, February 11, 2011 at 5:46 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

someday the world will wake up like the 100th monkey at
the Biki Island test and wash the coconut…and grow
up, and reject all the stupid fictions that have
enslaved the world into a debtors prison…

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By Inherit The Wind, February 11, 2011 at 12:39 am Link to this comment

Anyone who knows anyone who has been in Scientology, or has left it, knows these stories Mr. Haggis tells are true, and that the COS exists to extort money and control from its non-famous members.  It makes Ayn Rand’s Objectivist cult look like a (dare I say it?) tea party.

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By Ehrenstein, February 8, 2011 at 6:40 pm Link to this comment

True he’s a creep. But it’s still quite a story.

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By reynolds, February 8, 2011 at 3:36 pm Link to this comment

i read the new yorker article. i commend haggis for
standing up to the nonsense, but he perpetuated it for
thirty years. i’m sorry, this guy’s a creep.

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