FBI Scientology Probe: Paul Haggis Leaves Church Over Prop. 8
FBI Church of Scientology Probe: Oscar Winning Writer-Director Of Million Dollar Baby Crash Resignation From Church of Scientology Triggered By Proposition 8 - New Yorker Profile
A New Yorker profile of Academy Award winning director Paul Haggis documents his 35 year relationship to the Church of Scientology, an apparent FBI probe into the Church, and its current leader David Miscavige.
The Church of Scientology, popular with celebrities like Tom Cruise and John Travolta, is now grappling with the details behind the resignation of high profile filmmaker Paul Haggis.
The New Yorker profile describes how Paul Haggis wrote to Tommy Davis, the Church of Scientology spokesperson, that he could no longer be a part of the Church because the San Diego branch of the Church of Scientology failed to publicly denounce Proposition 8 (California's anti-same sex marriage ballot initiative).
Our public association with that hate-filled legislation shames us.” Haggis wrote, “Silence is consent, Tommy. I refuse to consent.” He concluded, “I hereby resign my membership in the Church of Scientology.”
Paul Haggis, up until his resignation, was involved with the Church of Scientology for over 3 decades and besides the Proposition 8 trigger there were other factors that motivated his resignation.
He says his wife was ordered to disconnect from her parents after they left the church.
He also read an expose by the St. Petersburg Times that reported allegations of physical violence among church senior executives and other Scientologists.
The stories Haggis found on the Internet of children drafted into the Sea Org -- Scientology’s religious order within the Church -- reminded him of child slaves he had seen in Haiti. "They were ten years old, twelve years old, ... scrubbing pots, manual labor—that so deeply touched me," Haggis says. "My God, it horrified me!"
Paul Haggis has done extensive charitable work the people of Haiti and besides the attention his high profile departure from the Church is getting, more problematic for the Church of Scientology is the reported FBI probe.
Of particular concern is the Church's fraternal order, The Sea Org , the apparent probe into the Church's leader David Miscavige - who was best man at wedding of Tom Cruise and Kate Holmes, and the activities occurring at Gold Base, a Scientology compound outside Los Angeles.
One ex-Scientologist alleges that punishments included being sent to the 'Hole' - a pair of 'double-wide trailers' on the base where between eighty and a hundred people were sentenced to 'do group confessions all day and all night'.
However, the Church deny the existence of 'any place of confinement' on the base.
In December, 2009, Tricia Whitehill, a special agent from the Los Angeles office, flew to Florida to interview former members of the church in the F.B.I.’s office in downtown Clearwater, which happens to be directly across the street from Scientology’s spiritual headquarters. Tom De Vocht, who spoke with Whitehill, told me, “I understood that the investigation had been going on for quite a while.” He says Whitehill confided that she hadn’t told the local agents what the investigation was about, in case the office had been infiltrated. Amy Scobee spoke to the F.B.I. for two days. “They wanted a full download about the abuse,” she told me.
The Church of Scientology says it unaware of an FBI probe.