ET-Cloning Cult Spreads Atheism

Does the UFO cult that claims to have cloned the first human baby have an agenda beyond weird science?
It appears so, according to interviews with its leader, Rael, formerly French magazine sportswriter and wannabe race-car driver Claude Vorilhon, 56. He took the name Rael after claiming to have a close encounter of the third kind.
His message for the world, like all Raelians, is that there's no God. We can all achieve immortality through cloning.
On Dec. 13, 1973, Vorilhon said he was walking in the Clermont-Ferrand volcanic mountain range in France when a UFO touched down. Humanoid creatures with pale greenish skin and almond-shaped eyes took him aboard, saying they wanted him to be their messenger to humankind.
The aliens explained they cloned the first people 25,000 years ago. Calling themselves ''Elohim'' - a name appearing in Genesis commonly translated as "gods" - the aliens said they had been mistaken as divine by several religions.
The little green people said Vorilhon was himself a clone and that they impregnated his mother in 1946 after the use of the first atomic bombs awakened them to mankind's advanced scientific knowledge.
''When I told my mother and grandmother the true story, my grandmother was relieved because she said that she had seen UFOs lingering around the house over the years and had never told anyone,'' Vorilhon told the Village Voice last year.
Vorilhon, who frequently dons flowing white garments, said his mission is to spread the word that there is no God, and that science and our alien forefathers would set people free -physically and sexually - and help them live forever.
Two years after the aliens' first visit, they reappeared and took Vorilhon to another planet where he said he met Jesus, Mohammed and Buddha. All became immortal through cloning, he said.
Ever since, he's been preaching the message of protecting the rights of the ''unreborn'' - a buzzword he used while testifying before Congress in March 2001. A federal cloning ban would be a Dark Ages act suitable for the Taliban, not freedom-loving America, he said.
''Traditional religions have always been against scientific progress,'' he said. ''They were against the steam engine, electricity, airplanes, cars, radio, television, etc. If we had listened to them, we would still have horses and carts and candles.''
Rael claims he has 2,000 more people on his books waiting to be cloned.
Rael set up Clonaid, the company which helped an anonymous mother clone her child Eve, who was born in the USA. In an exclusive interview with Scotland's Sunday Herald, Rael said Eve would not be seen by the outside world until she was 18. Clonaid has said it will provide scientific proof that the child is a clone within the next week.
He robustly defended the cloning experiment, saying: 'We are for peace and love. This is a time of danger for earth. We are spiritually lost. The two most powerful countries on earth - America and Britain - are ready to kill 100,000 civilians in Iraq, yet people are angry over the birth of a beautiful little girl through cloning.'
Rael's 55,000 Raelian followers believe humans were created in labs by aliens. Rael claims to have been visited by aliens in his native France, and says his ultimate goal is to clone people at the point of death, grow the clone to adulthood in a few of hours and download their memory into the clone's body - a technique he says will lead to eternal life and which he believes will be attainable in 25 years.
Rael also attacked Christianity, and particularly the Vatican, for its opposition to cloning. 'Everything that the Pope is against, I support,' he said. 'The Catholic Church is the worst enemy of human nature.'
Those who adhere to Vorilhon's teachings are encouraged to be respectful of other people and to enjoy the sexual company of others, including those of the same sex.
''He surrounds himself with attractive, glassy-eyed women - maybe that's why he likes Florida in the winter,'' said Eric Siblin, a Canadian writer who interviewed Rael for the Canadian magazine Logik three years ago. Siblin said he went to a pro-cloning event in Montreal run by the Raelians, whose interest in extraterrestrials and free love were evident.
''The meeting drew hundreds of people,'' he said. ''Lots of them were sci-fi nerds, and there were strippers, too.''
The sect sells science fiction knickknacks at its theme park/compound outside Montreal known as UFOLand, Siblin said.
The group, which claims more than 55,000 members worldwide, supports itself by tithing member's salaries - up to 3 percent of earnings - selling $9,000 embryo-obtaining ''cloning machines'' and charging large sums for cloning services.
In 1999, Vorilhon persuaded former West Virginia state legislator Mark Hunt to pay $500,000 to open a secret laboratory in Nitro, W.Va., to clone his dead 10-month-old son. Raelian Bishop Brigitte Boisselier, who made Friday's announcement, headed the project, but the U.S. Food and Drug Administration closed it down before she could finish.
After that, the Raelians never shunned the limelight.
In June, 2000, Catholic officials in Montreal took the Raelians to court in an attempt to break a lease that allowed the cult to use church property for its meetings. Catholic representatives said they were not aware of the Raelians' sexually libertine and space-age beliefs when they signed the agreement.
Problems with the Catholic Church resurfaced this year when Raelian protesters appeared outside a Catholic secondary school in Montreal and urged students to renounce their religion. The demonstrators carried wooden crosses, which they wanted the students to burn.
The Raelians have had run-ins with public institutions as well. In July 2000, they accused the United Nations of religious discrimination after UNESCO excluded the Raelian cult from its Manifesto 2000, a worldwide petition for peace and nonviolence.
Also, Vorilhon has crusaded to try to establish an embassy, preferably in Israel, for extraterrestrials when they return to Earth. The effort hasn't gone far.
Rael also revealed that his next big venture would be the creation of a virtual sex machine which will allow computer users to have sex with each other online.
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