A discordant note has just been added to the passionate debate in Quebec, Canada, over the ruling separatist party’s reprehensible initiative to restrict the display of religious symbols and attire, in a thinly veiled attempt to target the province’s Muslim minority (reported in detail last month in this blog). The latest condemnations of the Parti Québécois’s policy comes from a global but Quebec-based flying-saucer cult called the International Raëlian Movement.
Raëlian bishops have publicly announced that religious symbols should not be banned but that all religious texts should be censored in order to remove references to male dominance, intolerance of homosexuality, or the elevation of the superiority of any particular religion. Raëlism considers itself in some ways a science rather than a religion and it voices respect for all faiths. It also promulgates a free-love doctrine and freedom for all sexual orientations.
This has not mollified everyone—despite the Raëlians’ designation of July 20th earlier this year as “Swastika Rehabilitation Day.” Raël points out (correctly) that, before its use by the Nazis in the 1930s, swastikas were primarily a religious symbol of good luck and harmony and other positive virtues, found around the world in traditional Native American, Egyptian, Buddhist, and many other cultures. He also points out (far more debatably) that he saw such a symbol on the spaceships of the “Elohim” who contacted him and took him to their planet. Adolf Hitler’s occultic religion of Ariosophy replaced a common Aryan (i.e., north Indian) counter-clockwise swastika with a clockwise one. Some scholars believe that some swastikas were originally counter-clockwise because they indicated the direction of the rotating earth (as seen from above).
Other controversies in which the Raëlians have been embroiled have included nude parishioners distributing condoms in front of Catholic churches and, in 2002, a fraudulent but widely publicized claim by Raëlian geneticists that they had performed the first human cloning.
|Raëlians celebrating August 25, 2013, as “Go Topless Day”|
|A German neo-Nazi. Censorship won’t make this problem go away.|
[You can read more about Quebec and other separatist movements, both famous and obscure, in my new book, a sort of encyclopedic atlas just published by Litwin Books under the title Let’s Split! A Complete Guide to Separatist Movements and Aspirant Nations, from Abkhazia to Zanzibar. The book, which contains 46 maps and 554 flags (or, more accurately, 554 flag images), is available for order now on Amazon. Meanwhile, please “like” the book (even if you haven’t read it yet) on Facebook and see this special announcement for more information on the book.]