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Tommy Davis

Director Paul Haggis quits Scientology

It’s a bad week for Scientology, it seems. Paul Haggis, the film director who directed the movie Crash (and won an Oscar for it) has quit the Church of Scientology after 35 years partly over the church’s position on gay marriage.

According to the article…

Haggis wrote a letter addressed to Tommy Davis, the head of Scientology’s Celebrity Centre. In it, Haggis said he was disappointed by the church’s tacit denial of gay rights in the debate over California’s gay marriage ban.

The letter can be read on Marty Rathbun’s blog (Rathbun is another high-level Scientologist who left the organization).

Some excerpts…

As you know, for ten months now I have been writing to ask you to make a public statement denouncing the actions of the Church of Scientology of San Diego.


I called and wrote and implored you, as the official spokesman of the church, to condemn their actions. I told you I could not, in good conscience, be a member of an organization where gay-bashing was tolerated.


The church’s refusal to denounce the actions of these bigots, hypocrites and homophobes is cowardly. I can think of no other word.  Silence is consent, Tommy. I refuse to consent.


You had allowed our name to be allied with the worst elements of the Christian Right. In order to contain a potential “PR flap” you allowed our sponsorship of Proposition 8 to stand. Despite all the church’s words about promoting freedom and human rights, its name is now in the public record alongside those who promote bigotry and intolerance, homophobia and fear.


And in [a 10-minute CNN interview] I saw you deny the church’s policy of disconnection. You said straight-out there was no such policy, that it did not exist.

I was shocked. We all know this policy exists. I didn’t have to search for verification – I didn’t have to look any further than my own home.

You might recall that my wife was ordered to disconnect from her parents because of something absolutely trivial they supposedly did twenty-five years ago when they resigned from the church.


To see you lie so easily, I am afraid I had to ask myself: what else are you lying about?

And that is when I read the recent articles in the St. Petersburg Times.  They left me dumbstruck and horrified.


I carefully read all of your rebuttals, I watched every video where you presented the church’s position, I listened to all your arguments – ever word. I wish I could tell you that they rang true. But they didn’t.

There’s plenty more of interest in the letter and Haggis sounds genuinely distraught over the hypocrisy and lies he’s seen from inside Scientology. The church will, of course, make every attempt to discredit him, insult him, humiliate him, and refute him because that’s what they do. If any organization qualifies as a cult, Scientology is it.

Says Haggis in the MSNBC article

“The great majority of Scientologists I know are good people who are genuinely interested in improving conditions on this planet and helping others,” Haggis wrote. “I have to believe that if they knew what I now know, they too would be horrified.”

Horrified… as we on the outside all are.

Tommy Davis can’t answer questions

Speaking of Scientology, Tommy Davis, one of Scientology’s most obnoxious spokespeople, was interviewed by Martin Bashir on Nightline in a segment about Scientology. Bashir asks him an entirely legitimate question about Xenu and Davis dances all around the question, feigning offense, and refuses to answer the question. When Bashir clarifies that he’s just doing his job and is asking the question in the context of his other questions, Davis threatens to walk out of the interview… and when Bashir asks again, Davis, in a perfect, childish hissy fit,  does just that.

The Davis segment starts at 3:40 (video auto-starts at that point)…

I find it amusing that Davis has to say how offensive it is, but he’s not actually clear on why the question is offensive or how it offends… nor does he say that the whole Xenu story is untrue. He goes on with the “I’m offended” argument… over and over. My opinion is that he comes across as evasive, childish, and obnoxious.

It would have been quite easy to just say, “My religious beliefs prohibit me from speaking about that.” End of story. Davis does say that once, but he evidently felt the need to pile on the crap about how offensive the question is and how he’s not going to discuss perversions on the internet and how Bashir is intentionally trying to offend him.

It was a simple, direct, clear question about Xenu and it deserved a simple answer. Davis couldn’t provide one. He stuttered. He feigned offense. He threatened to walk out. He talked around the issue. …but he didn’t answer.

The general assumption is that Scientologists only learn about the Xenu story when they’ve reached a very high level in the church and are prohibited from talking about it to anyone who has not reached the appropriate level (ie… paid enough money). You can find out all about the story by searching “Xenu” at any search engine, but one of the most comprehensive sites is Operation Clambake, operated by Andreas Heldal-Lund from Norway.

So perhaps Davis was just following the tenants of the church’s dogma by not speaking about Xenu. If it wasn’t true, he could have simply said it wasn’t, but he didn’t do that. He avoided the question and refused to answer, throwing up smokescreens and running around in verbal circles. That indicates, to me, that the probability is pretty high that he actually does believe the Xenu story, but doesn’t want to (or can’t) talk about it.

…because that level of crazy is just bad press.

(hat top to Friendly Atheist)