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While headlines about Tom Cruise or John Travolta’s involvement in Scientology are nothing new, probably more than a few celeb watchers were surprised by today’s news that Oscar-winning director Paul Haggis ( “Crash”) is leaving Scientology. Ex-Scientologist Mark Rathbun posted a letter on his blog that is said to be written by Haggis (Rathbun cites confirmation from third parties that the letter is authentic). The letter is directed toward Scientology spokesperson Tommy Davis and explains that the cause of the split between the director and Scientology has to do with Scientology’s refusal to protest California’s Proposition 8 which banned gay marriage. He also describes a rift that Scientology caused with his wife’s family as another reason he longer wishes to be affliated with the religion.


Assuming that the words in the letter is, in fact, Haggis’s, the letter is a pretty scathing indictment of the religion’s practices and contains a considerable amount of specificity, particularly in relation to how he and his wife were asked to severe relational ties with her parents when her parents left Scientology. But if Haggis is worried about repercussions from Scientologists for his strong words, it didn’t show in the letter, closing the letter by expressing regret that he did not leave the “morally reprehensible” organization sooner.
The thought that crossed my mind, however, when I saw this headline is whether or not this is going to become a Hollywood trend. There were rumors over the summer that John Travolta has become unhappy with Scientology and has considered leaving.I even reported last week the – unlikely, in my opinion -rumors that Katie Holmes might be distancing herself from Scientology as well. But for an organization that has been connected to celebrity status and money almost from its beginning, such rumblings of dissent certainly indicate to me Scientology does not hold the power and luster that it once did in Tinseltown.
Paul Haggis

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