Normally, we don't run stories about the personal lives and religious beliefs of celebrities. The exception to the rule is when they have some kind of impact (positive or negative) on a film or a career. So when Paul Haggis gives the finger to the Church of Scientology, we have to run it. As Haggis himself admits, "I am fully aware that some of my friends may choose to no longer associate with me, or in some cases work with me."

According to Village Voice, Haggis has been a member of the Church of Scientology for 35 years. But he found himself questioning its practices and beliefs, particularly after its San Diego branch openly sponsored California's anti-gay Proposition 8. Haggis asked Scientology's spokesman, Tommy Davis, to denounce the branch. Davis skirted the issue, and Haggis went on the offensive with a confrontational letter that has made its way online on Mark Rathburn's anti-Scientology blog. "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 church's bigotry encouraged Haggis to do a little digging, and he found an online interview with Davis, who claimed that the Church doesn't force its members to cease contact with anyone who forsakes the religion, or openly criticizes it. "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." Haggis' wife was ordered to "disconnect" from her parents because they resigned from the church.

Continued below the jump...

categories Movies, Cinematical