Oscar-winning director renounces Scientology

Paul HaggisOscar-winning writer-director Paul Haggis has severed ties with the Church of Scientology, citing in part the church’s support for Proposition 8, the ballot measure last year that banned same-sex marriage in California.

Long known for his humanitarian and civil liberties work, the Canadian-born director (“Crash” and “Million Dollar Baby”) resigned from the organization in a letter to church spokesman Tommy Davis.

Blasting the highly secretive organization as “morally reprehensible,” Haggis took Davis to task for not denouncing statements by the church’s San Diego branch supporting Proposition 8, a controversial ban on gay marriage in California.

“The church’s refusal to denounce the actions of these bigots, hypocrites and homophobes is cowardly. I can think of no other word,” Haggis wrote in the August 19 letter that was later published on the blog of former Scientologist Marty Rathbun.

Voters approved Prop. 8 in November 2008, despite strong opposition from many Hollywood figures. Advocates of same-sex marriage are planning to ask voters to reconsider the ban in 2010 or 2011.

The letter, which surfaced on the blog of former Scientologist Marty Rathbun, was dated August 19.

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