(image: Encyclopaedia Metallum)

(image: Encyclopaedia Metallum)

The following just-published news story has a bearing on an episode of hypocrisy that caught my eye … and gave me more food for thought about one of our themes: What is it ‘right’ to do in the face of wrongdoing?

Or put another way, How should we then live? Read on…

Paul Haggis Renounces Church of Scientology in Blistering Letter

By Kyle Buchanan. Movieline.com | 25 Oct 2009

The Church of Scientology has long claimed many of Hollywood’s most elite talents amongst its members, but now, one famous Scientologist is leaving the church, and he’s not going quietly. In a candid, confrontational letter to Scientology top brass that’s just been published online, Oscar-winning director Paul Haggis (Crash) details the abuses and cover-ups that have forced him to to leave Scientology after 35 years. It’s a must-read.

The letter was originally published in four parts on the blog of ex-Scientologist Marty Rathbun, and it’s directed at Scientology’s current national spokesman, Tommy Davis. In it, Haggis takes Davis to task for doing nothing after the church’s San Diego branch publicly sponsored the anti-gay Proposition 8.

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.

The whole letter is worth reading. Available in 4 parts here.

For me, the key line…

“The church’s refusal to denounce the actions of these bigots, hypocrites and homophobes is cowardly … Silence is consent, Tommy. I refuse to consent”

… absolutely shrieks. Why? Because I AGREE.

And because I’ve been part of a conversation about someone who holds himself out as a servant of God. This man, who claims to be “quite prophetic” says he was aware of financial wrongdoing … but said (after some other brave souls blew the whistle) that God had told him repeatedly to be silent about it — to “cover” the sin. So he said nothing.

Well I had one particular situation where I knew things that were not right and people were potentially being taken advantage of. I have over and over again had to stop myself from saying anything publicly and it has been incredibly hard for me. Every time I said to God that I wanted to see this thing put right HE would say to me “Dean it is your job to cover sin, justice is my problem”.

It’s jarring to consider this guy’s claim, that he had agonised about the situation, that he “over and over again” wanted to speak up and tell the truth — but that God had repeatedly ‘told him’ to maintain a collusive silence in the face of “things that were not right” and harm being done to others.

Paul Haggis says it well AND IT RINGS TRUE:

Silence is cowardly and it is consent to the crime.


I don’t support Scientology myself, but tonight as I read this calm, brave, principled letter to the Church’s very smooth head of propaganda national spokesman — a letter from an authentic, loyal member of the church who’d “openly and vigorously defended the church whenever it was criticized” I realised again how OBSCENE it was to claim a so-called instruction from God to provide “cover” for sin in that way.

Why maintain silence in the face of wrongdoing as people were harmed? Speak up! Expose it! That’s more godly, more “prophetic”. Surely?

Help me see it a different way, if you can. – P