Author Topic: From Scientology Apostate to Humanitarian, Oscar Winning Screenwriter Paul ... - The Morton Report  (Read 1588 times)

Offline News Thetan

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From Scientology Apostate to Humanitarian, Oscar Winning Screenwriter Paul Haggis- The Morton Report
6 September 2011, 7:46 pm
By Skip Press, Contributor

When Lawrence Wright was writing his lengthy and controversial New Yorker article on the defection of Paul Haggis from Scientology, he called me for a long discussion. I had not spoken to Paul for years because as far as I knew, he was in Scientology and I hadn’t been involved for well over a decade. Extant Scientologists don’t talk to people who leave, by policy. Still, I have a very good memory and was able to tell Wright things about Paul that Wright didn’t know. Paul and I had formed a group for Scientologist writers in 1979 that continued for almost a decade.....

....Only something funny happened on the way to the hype. Paul Haggis fell out with Scientology. He sent them a letter of resignation. In Hollywood, this was big news. I wondered what the repercussions would be, waited for their attack on him, but none came. Then the New Yorker article appeared. Still no attack, no lawsuit. Hmm. This verified something I’d observed for years - Scientology wasn’t what it used to be, when they’d sue anyone at the drop of a word. The Church of Eternal Litigation, some called it.

Finally, six months after the fact, Scientology struck back, via their Freedom magazine in one of the nastiest attempted hit pieces I ever saw Freedom do on anyone. And I’d know - I used to write for Freedom. I had encouraged Tom Whittle Freedom’s long-time editor to move to Los Angeles when he’d been in the Air Force in El Paso, Texas. I was Freedom’s correspondent in Portland, Oregon covering the massive Scientology protest and demonstration against Julie Christofferson Titchbourne, a young Portland woman who was awarded $39 million in damages against Scientology. I’d gone up there on a shoestring budget - no funds supplied by Freedom or Scientology - and when he found out I had no place to stay, Paul Haggis let me sleep on the couch in his hotel room.

So when the Freedom (an ironic word sometimes) attack on Paul came, I held my nose and read it online. I would have been amazed that they tried to denigrate his Best Picture Oscar win, or his amazing track record in Hollywood, even the fact that he’s been spending a lot of time and money building a hospital in Haiti lately but then, I know Scientology all too well - they’re capable of any lunacy. What they either didn’t know or chose to ignore is the fact that Paul’s organization Artists for Peace and Justice supports a children's hospital and built a cholera clinic where over 10,000 patients have been treated, many children, half of whom would have died within 24 hours without it.

And while Scientology crows in its article about revamping its building in Clearwater, Florida, APJ is currently building a high school for the children of the slums grades 7-13 - amazingly, the very first free high school in the history of Haiti. When they are done they will have between 2500 and 3000 students, who also get what might be their only meal of the day. And what’s your charity, Scientology?

As Scientology did its best to degrade Haggis’ career, citing the disappointing box office of his latest movie, they failed to note how the rest of the world views Paul Haggis. For example, he’s to receive the Golden Eye Award, a lifetime achievement honor, from the Zurich Film Festival, which will also present a retrospective of Haggis' career as a director and screenwriter, screening several of his films.

I won’t bother with the contents of the New Yorker article or the Freedom “rebuttal” - you can easily read those yourself online. I will simply say that Scientology “ain’t seen nothin’ yet.” While the Janet Reitman book might not have been the expose many anticipated, the forthcoming books by Lawrence Wright and others will be. When Paul Thomas Anderson’s expose movie The Master hits the screens, the dwindling numbers of Scientologists who see it are liable to hit the streets, screaming.

It seems the Portland branch of Scientology is closed now, and “old timers” (people who were in Scientology early on like myself) report to me how empty the Scientology buildings are these days. If Scientology keeps attacking highly talented humanitarians like Paul Haggis, who simply have a difference of opinion, the religion founded by L. Ron Hubbard may soon, like a repeating line in his never produced screenplay Revolt in the Stars, face a “Future zero!”

That won’t happen for Paul Haggis.

more at
« Last Edit: September 07, 2011, 17:52 by mefree »
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Offline Mary_McConnell

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I really had to hand it to Skipper on this. I even wrote a glowing compliment at the site.  Amazing, consider that I can't stand the guy.  Thing is, he did right by Paul Haggis and that's what really counts.
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Offline ethercat

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It's well worth the trip over to the Morton Report site to read the complete article.  I'm glad to see Skip writing these sorts of things.
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