Paul Haggis Parts With Scientology in Scathing Letter

Oscar-winning "Crash" director leaves faith, admonishes Church of Scientology.

ByABC News
October 26, 2009, 11:08 AM

Oct. 26, 2009 — -- While many of Hollywood's elite have long adhered to Scientology, last week, Oscar-winning director Paul Haggis broke rank, resigning from the church in a scathing letter to Scientology spokesman Tommy Davis.

Haggis, famous for films that include "Crash," "Million Dollar Baby" and "Letters From Iwo Jima," cited ideological and personal reasons for breaking with Scientology.

Haggis wrote that he had for months tried without success to have the church publicly denounce its San Diego chapter for its support of Proposition 8, the legislation to ban gay marriage in California.

"The church's refusal to denounce the action of these bigots, hypocrites and homophobes is cowardly," Haggis wrote. "I can think of no other word. Silence is consent, Tommy. I refuse to consent."

Haggis also asserted that the church "ordered" his wife, actress Deborah Rennard, to "disconnect from her parents because of something absolutely trivial they supposedly did twenty-five years ago when they resigned from the church.

"Although it caused her terrible personal pain, my wife broke off all contact with them" for a year and a half, Haggis wrote. "I refused to do so. I've never been good at following orders, especially when I find them morally reprehensible."

Haggis' publicist, Ziggy Kozlowski, confirmed to today that the letter posted on Friday was indeed written by the director in August. Kozlowski added that it was "intended as a private correspondence between [Haggis] and Tom Davis" and that he has no idea how it was leaked.