Paul Haggis takes on the Church of Scientology

Canadian writer-director quit San Diego branch over its opposition to gay marriage


In 2009, Canadian writer-director Paul Haggis (Crash) resigned from the Church of Scientology over its San Diego branch’s support of an anti-gay-marriage ballot initiative in California. Since then, Haggis has become one of the most prominent ex-Scientologists in America. Now, he’s spoken to the New Yorker‘s Lawrence Wright about his break with the group that is famous for its Hollywood celebrity following, including his meeting with several other Hollywood Scientologist friends who tried to get him to change his mind, and told him that he shouldn’t be complaining publicly about the church: “If you have a complaint, there’s a complaint line.”

New Yorker

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Paul Haggis takes on the Church of Scientology

  1. I imagine Tom Cruise, John Travolta and friends are not too happy with Paul. Good for him standing up for his principles.

  2. This article is another thinly veiled tabloid piece repeating old and new rumors from people with an axe to grind with the Church of Scientology. The New Yorker author Lawrence Wright could not come up with a single line that has not been discarded as the work of fanatic anti-religionists a long time ago. This piece actually sheds a new light on him as a researcher and writer. How much does his obvious hate against religion taint his judgment? This piece has been written by someone with a deep-set hatred against religion and spirituality. Just like the Hollywood dude Haggis, who openly confesses that he makes a living putting his personal life traumata in movie scripts, Lawrence Wright lives his anti-religious hatred in writing one-track minded articles and books. The New Yorker, putting on tabloid colors for a moment, has allowed him to air his therapy sessions and that is their choice but one really has to ask: I don't really want to waste my time reading something like this.

    • I would have expected a more effective rebuttal from the Church.

      • I think the Church does not care what you or others have to say here.

        • Oh contraire– they care all too much! Nice try though.

        • Well obviously the church DOES care if all you scientology robots are on here spewing your nonsense.

      • Have you read the mess that is Dianetics? I tried to, and found I had to put it down after it goes on for a page about these engram things without ever explaining them, but then provides a footnote explaining what a bear is. I can only assume it's some sort of weird brainwashing attempt by Hubbard, sowing confusion by making you think, "Christ, if this thing explains what bears are I must be totally stupid for not getting what engrams are.."

        Louanne's rebuttal reads very much like it.

        • What does an engram do in the woods?

    • Go get the space aliens yanked out of your soul, genius.

      • Louanne, I don't think you're in a "clear" state today. Go back and check yourself out on your e-meter.

        Dictator Xenu,
        The Galactic Confederacy

    • And if he'd written a piece criticizing Haggis for leaving, you're "tabloid colours" shtick would instead be praising him and recommending a Pulitzer.

  3. You know what is missing from this whole thing? And it's certainly long enough to have included it. The fact that there are so many thousands of people who say L. Ron Hubbard saved their lives. I've read story after story of former addicts who say they'd be dead if it weren't for him—men and women who had been in and out of rehabs for years only to abuse again as soon as they brought their tolerance to the drug down below the fatal levels.

    • People have had the same results with AA, being 'born again', becoming a Hindu etc.

      If you truly believe in something, no matter how strange it appears to other people, it will change your life.

      However, that doesn't mean it's real or even sane.

      • L. Ron Hubbard DID save my life.

        I was well on the way to trying to make a living writing crappy science fiction, but once i read Battlefield Earth I realized the standard for crap had already been set. I could have died trying to write that poorly.

        • LOL now, now….

      • Yes, Emily and the difference between Scientology and AA and the other things you have mentioned is that those things don't charge people big money to change their lives, whereas Scientology does. Scientologists also hate psychiatry – why? …..because they compete with psychiatry…..in Canada, psychiatric help is free – again, Scientology charges lots of money to help cure you of mental illness. Scientology also claims homosexuality is an illness and for lots of cash – the Church of Scientology can cure you of that too.

  4. Yeah, but using the complaint line doesn't get you this kind of free publicity. Pardon my skepticism but Haggis just had a horrendous flop of his last picture. Hollywood is fickle. Is this article his comeback? I don't think much of Haggis after reading the New Yorker, but I think even less of Wright, whose article is badly written, disjointed and omits any mention of the real story of Scientology.

    • So how does this work… you and Lou just continually search for Scientology to show up in a blog? It seems kinda sad.

      • Actually, google does the work for you.

      • They obviously have a quick response team.

    • You should be lucky they didn't talk about "the real story of Scientology," or public opinion of your "church" would be even lower, if possible. Gad, just when I think the followers of regular religions are suckers, this crazy crap comes along and makes me feel even more sorry for even bigger suckers.

  5. Thanks, Ottawa. That's my point too.

  6. Haggis is a hypocrite and careless of facts.

    He is upset about Scientology's stance on gay marriage – well, Scientology doesn't have a stance – that is a political and personal issue. Whatever happened in San Diego was some one person's opinion that should not have been put out as the Church's stance.

    Haggis supports the Roman Catholic Church, the religion he was raised in – which considers homosexual relationships to be sin.

    He says Scientologists are atheists? Scientologists are NOT atheists. God plays a very important role in Scientology.

    Whatever bone Haggis has to pick has nothing to do with Scientology – probably grumpy about his recent flops.

    • So if Haggis is angry with Scientology for his recent flops, what flops are Scientologist's angry for? You're already blackmailing Cruise, Travolta, and Smith, what more do you want?

    • Are your kidding me…you are either ignorant or an OSAbot!!

  7. It really is newsworthy. The FBI is now investigating the cult. This hasn't happened since the 1980's when Hubbard's wife was thrown in the slammer while he was in hiding.

    I did read the article. I got the impression that the statements were watered way down, likely by a team of lawyers, to prevent lawsuits from Scientology. The New Yorker may have given Scientology better than they deserve.

    And, what do you know, search google today and there is a press release about a Scientologist who is a New Yorker. I haven't read it but I bet that New Yorker just loves Scientology. What a coincidence that it should come out at the same time as the New Yorker article. I don't think it will divert more than a few searchers though.

    A few people are still being fooled as evidenced by some of the letters here. But not too many are being fooled anymore. With the Haggis article, a few less will be fooled in the future.

  8. A religion invented by a Science Fiction writer.

    How appropriate.

    "Bare Faced Messiah" (1987) by Russel Miller is an interesting read on the nutty Hubbard.

  9. Just another religious cult. The world is full of suckers prepared to believe anything, no matter how far-fetched.

    Like Jimmy Jones and his Koolaid crowd, or the Hale-Bopp comet believers.

  10. Scientologists and Freezoners,

    You all talk about bigotry nonstop, but you do realize that Elron was a big ole racist, right? Makes me so angry about this cult. They talk about helping people, etc., but the guy who started it was an unadulterated racist. Nobody cares about that though. It's why I won't see tom cruise, katie holmes, hell any of those people's movies anymore…they knowingly choose to belong to a "religion" started by a racist. And yeah, I could care less that TC adopted a black child, makes no difference in my mind, so long as he keeps supoprting this dangerous cult (you too, katie), they're denial is consent. Not OK.

  11. This is over a story that’s over a year old right? I don’t care about the Church of Scientology and I’m certainly not a homo lover either but come on,….is this really news? Everyone has an opinion and to me, both groups could just “go away”.
    Give me back my Country. The way it used to be.

    • Wow, this is the first time I've seen Scientology married to Tea Party Rhetoric. What other horses could this crazy cult hitch it's wagon too?

      • LOL I dunno, but I'm amazed that our country didn't have gays in the 'old days'

        Like Iran?

        • There were lots of spinsters and bachelors and nobody asked any questions.

        • One could only hope they didn’t. And if they did have “them” in earlier days, I’m sure they weren’t called “gays”. That was a word that used to mean Happy. Not something associated with that group now.
          Everyone has an opinion. I have mine.

          • You are entitled to your own opinion. You are not entitled to your own facts.

            Gays have been around since day one.


    • Shh….use your inside voice

    • Des – that is not true. Germany has banned Scientology. So no large city in Germany has one of their churches in it.

      • The one in Downtown Vancouver is in an area where no one in their right mind would go after Sunset…..

  13. It is newsworthy…for those that really don't know much about the crimes of Scientology (and I stress CRIMES) I highly recommend checking out xenu.net or xenutv.com. You will be amazed…I know I was!!

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