Taking a Closer Look at The Raelians
Even as onlookers and scantily-clad women descended upon Lincoln Road in South Beach last Sunday in honor of “Go Topless Day”, many found their attention distracted away from the group behind the event, namely the followers of Rael, a former race car journalist cum prophet who claims the human race was genetically engineered by extraterrestrials and that sensuality is our birthright.
THERE OUGHT TO BE CLONES
(above) Dr. Brigitte Boisselier, Clonaid Spokesperson and Rael, Group Founder
The group last made headlines in the region in 2002 when, at a Hollywood, Florida press conference, they announced that they had produced the world’s first cloned baby, Eve. Eve was said to have been created from the DNA of a West Virginia couple’s deceased baby , who had reportedly paid a half a million dollars to have their child cloned by the group. Spokesperson Brigitte Boisselier, chief executive of Clonaid, an off-shoot of the Raelians, offered no proof, but said that it would be available in eight or nine days of this announcement, in the form of independent DNA analysis by experts.
However, this proof was not to be. 11 days later, the eagerly-anticipated proof was withheld, due to a lawsuit filed by stem cell advocate Bernard Siegal, which sought to have a temporary guardian appointed for the baby. The naysayers shouted “hoax” as the controversy escalated.
Countered Boisselier: “If by having to prove my credibility I have to risk in any way the separation of the mother and the baby, as a mother myself, I will never hesitate…I could never have imagined that there would be such insensitive people in the world as this attorney willing to separate a healthy baby from her happy family…If I have to choose between science and love I will always choose love.”
It was then that the baby, the Raelians and the mystery surrounding them withdrew once again from the limelight…that is, until more recent times, with the celebration of the movement’s annual “Go Topless Day” in Miami Beach and many other cities around the globe.
(above) a flyer from last year’s topless event
Regardless of your position, one thing is certain: when you’re looking for a little publicity, boobs have a way of garnering the public’s attention, and this week, the Raelians got it.
The event gave them a platform in which to share their basic tenets, particularly the one involving the cultivation of an “erotic sensualism.”
The interrelation of spirituality and sensuality, concepts once deemed incompatible in western thought, has become increasingly recognized of late among practitioners of “the new spirituality” , especially in hedonistic locales like Miami Beach. Some chalk the perceptional shift up to conscious evolution, multiculturalism, or spiritual intuition. However, Raelian founder Claude Vorilhon, aka “Rael”, contends that these concepts were given to us by space aliens.
Not unlike Mormonism’s Joseph Smith’s alleged encounter with the Angel Moroni, Vorilhon claimed to have experienced a visitation by extraterrestrials in 1973 who he said informed him that the earth was basically their Petri dish.
Since the dawn of creation, he maintains, alien beings have been tinkering with DNA, starting with simple amoebas and working their way up to humans. Like Christian fundamentalists, Raelians believe in Intelligent Design, albeit with drastically different details.
Followers of this group believe that the Biblical descriptions of creation, in which God is referred to in the plural form of Elohim (Hebrew for “beings from the sky”), actually refer to life-bringing extraterrestrials who the early civilizations recognized as gods. They created mankind in their image—but with test tubes and genetic engineering rather than the breath of the Almighty.
Over the centuries, they say, these alien creators revealed their truths to us through Jesus, Buddha, and many others, in effort to prepare us for the Apocalypse. However, in Raelianese, the Apocalypse isn’t the end of the world, it’s an era of revelation, in which the cosmic plan will be revealed to the world and we will develop the technology to create our own life forms through cloning, just as the Elohim created us.
Rejecting concepts such as souls, the afterlife, and God, the Raelians see life as a materialistic process, which has the potential of being infinite through unlimited mind and body transference via DNA.
New believers are required to perform the “Act of Apostasy”, which is the denial of any and all former theistic associations, and to undergo a baptismal ceremony, which they regard as “the transmission of the cellular plan.”
Once initiated, Raelians view their next objective is the creation of an embassy to serve as a neutral space for the Elohim.
THE BARE FACTS
For many, the concept that we are just some space creature’s science project may be a little hard to swallow. And even if it’s true, who’s to say that the Raelians have the final scoop or that we need to discard former truths that have brought us to where we are today?
Nonetheless, being the eclectic that I am, I take what I can use, and I personally find the notion of integrating our sensual and spiritual selves to be a vital step in our planet’s conscious evolution. To the extent that this or any group promotes such ideals, I would say they are to be commended. Things tend to go much more smoothly for us as a people when we see our sensual side as a doorway, rather than an obstacle, to spiritual bliss.
For more on the Raelians, you can visit their website at rael.org.
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