Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Scientology Woes

So, you've probably heard that the talentless and bewilderingly Oscar-winning screenwriter Paul Haggis has left the Church of Scientology, and you've heard this because his letter of resignation has been posted online for all to see. I've avoided writing about this for a few days, since I wasn't entirely sure the story was legit. Haggis himself didn't release the letter, and Hollywood stories are notoriously unreliable. Did you know Zack Morris never actually died in a car accident? (Though his career did.) But this looks solid. And my immediate reaction is to congratulate Haggis on his decision to break ties with a wacky sci-fi cult. Also to please return any award he ever won for "Crash". One has little to do with the other. But in reading his letter, I have to wonder what the hell took him so long. Sure, most of us would have hit the road around the time they busted out the e-meter, so Haggis is obviously in a league of his own (plus a few tens of thousands of others). Turns out the last straw for him was in Scientology's support of California's Proposition 8 revoking marriage rights for gay couples. Horrible, to be sure, but why didn't he cut ties when the church forced his wife to not communicate with her own family? In his letter, he says that he began to lose faith in the church when they labeled his mother-in-law as an enemy and forbade communication with her. I guess he loves gay rights more than he loves his mother-in-law. (Insert Borscht Belt joke here.)

And in other news, it looks like Scientologists have been convicted of fraud in French courts. France doesn't recognize Scientology as a protected religion, and they'd been investigating claims made by former Scientologists that unfulfilled promises made about e-meter auditing sessions amounted to criminal lies. The French are probably right, both about the science of sauces and this particular case, but I wonder whether there is a bit of unfair treatment. Scientology isn't the only wacky belief that can't make good on its claims. It's not even the only one that takes money in exchange for lies. Is there that much of a difference between intergalactic volcano bombs, magic golden tablets, and people living inside whale bellies? I mean it's not like Scientology requires its members to give the church money. Oh wait, they do? Curious. More details here and here.

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