In “Raelians Want An Embassy For Aliens In Canada,” Huffington Post Canada, 6, February, 2014 (http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2014/06/02/raelian-embassy-canada_n_5434174.html) , Michael Bolen discusses that a religious group known as the Raelians is petitioning the Canadian government for permission to build an embassy for aliens. The group was founded in the 1970s by former French auto racer and journalist Claude Vorilhon, who is now known as Rael.
This religious group believes that life on earth was created by an extraterrestrial species called the Elohim as part of a giant science experiment. The Raelians believe that the Elohim will only return when an Embassy is built and they are willing to build it anywhere in Canada except the Arctic as they argue the Elohims do not like the cold. They assert that the benefit to Canada would include a huge economic profit, the prestige of being the host country to the Elohims and that Canada would be the first to benefit from the Elhoim’s advanced technology. The government of Canada denied their petition in 1990 and Bolen says that they are unlikely to ever get approval.
The Raelians first petitioned the Israel government but was denied. One of the reasons was because it used the swastika as its logo which the Raelians changed because they were told to by the Elohims. This group is best known for its declaration of scientific superiority and the claim that it was the first to ever clone a human called Eve, which has never been scientifically proven. Of late, the Raelians are focusing on spreading a free love message, sponsoring an annual Go Topless Day and in 2010, Rael went as far as to advise Tiger Woods that he should ‘chill out’ and ‘embrace a polyamorous lifestyle. At present they have over 90,000 members worldwide, primarily in South Korea, Japan and Canada.
The Raelians are a prime example of an New Religious Movement that is experiencing external antagonism through the controversy that human origins are alien, that centralizes science and technology and that challenges monogamous relations. According to an article in the National Review by Stanley Kurtz (2003) the Raelians are attempting to give legal recognition to group polygamy and/or polyamory. In Canadian society, polygamy is still regarded as deviant practice.
Similarly, while cloning is still highly controversial, the Raelians consider cloning as a means to be reincarnated and is one of the tenets they follow. Further, their claim that the Elhoim’s will only show themselves if an Embassy is built raises questions about their existence. If this alien life is as sophisticated and benevolent as Rael states, they would have already come and shared their advanced science with us. Finally, the agenda for wanting an Embassy and religious standing may be to gain tax exempt status as historically the Canadian government would not recognize the Raelians as a religion. I agree with Bolen, in that the government of Canada is highly unlikely to give approval for the Raelians to build their Embassy.
Word Count 496