Thursday, March 20, 2014

Raëlian Free-Love UFO Cult Comes Out in Favor of Independent Cascadia

The idea of an independent nation called Cascadia in North America’s temperate northwest, received a thumbs-up this week from an unexpected source: the Raëlian Movement, a mostly Quebec-based flying-saucer religion.

The most commonly seen flag of Cascadia (the “Doug Fir Flag”)
A spokesman for the group, David Dunsmore, said that Cascadia fits the Raëlian ideology of small communities and local government.  For one thing, subdivision of larger countries into smaller states “allows for humanity to become potentially more peaceful and harmonious because the dangers of smaller countries having large military to go to war with each other—they don’t have the means to do that.”

One proposal for Cascadia’s borders.  (There are many.)
More or less inspired by Ernest Callenbach’s 1975 novel Ecotopia, which imagined an egalitarian, environmentally-minded state formed by Oregon, Washington, and most of California seceding from the United States, the idea picked up in a vague and directionless way through the 1980s and ’90s.  A flag was designed in 1994, and in 2001 the Cascadian National Party (C.N.P.) was founded, but timing was not on its side: it was announced on September 9th, and two days later the nation’s attention focused elsewhere.  (By an eerie coincidence, another Pacific Northwest regionalist movement had the same publicity problem, down to the number of days involved: the imaginary State of Jefferson, built out of parts of northern California and southern Oregon, had its first gubernatorial election on December 5, 1941.)  The C.N.P.’s original idea was to form Cascadia from Washington, Oregon, and Canada’s province of British Columbia.  The map on its website today omits B.C.  The rival Cascadia Independence Project has a more bioregionalist vision: its Cascadia has as its eastern border the Continental Divide along the ridge of the Rockies; it stops just short of Anchorage, Alaska, in the north and just short of the San Francisco Bay Area in the south.  It is not clear which version the Raëlians, or their leader Raël, formerly a French race-car driver named Claude Vorilhon, prefers.

Based on Raël’s book, Aliens Took Me to Their Planet, published, coincidentally, the same year as Ecotopia, the group teaches that humanity is the product of genetic seeding by extraterrestrials and is enthusiastically sex-positive, pro-nudist, and anti-clerical.  Last year, as reported at the time in this blog, Raëlians came out in opposition to Quebec’s separatist ruling party, the Parti Québécois (P.Q.), for its bigoted campaign against the display of religious symbols.  The Québécois proposals were designed specifically to target Muslim religious dress, in a bid to pander to francophone anti-immigrant sentiment.  Oddly, a Raëlian bishop opposed the banning of religious displays but opined instead that all religious texts that contained homophobic, religious-chauvinist, or patriarchal ideas should be censored by the state.

Raëlians have a history of flamboyant bids for media attention.  In 2002, they claimed—falsely, as it turned out, that the Raëlian-based genetics firm Clonaid had created the first human clone; ...

...; since 2008, Raëlians have promoted a national and international “Go Topless Day”; ...

...; earlier this year the Raëlian-run company Clitoraid was chased out of Burkina Faso for founding an institution called the Pleasure Hospital, whose mission is surgical reparation of damage done by female genital cutting; ...

...; and, in a surprisingly tone-deaf public-relations move, they continue to promote the revival of the swastika as a positive symbol ...

They claim to be the numerically largest U.F.O. religion in the world.  On the other hand, that is not so surprising, considering that some of their competition do not exactly have very effective membership-growth strategies ...

(Heaven’s Gate, 1997)
The Cascadia movement has long thirsted for some kind of legitimacy.  They may still have a bit further to go.

[You can read more about Cascadia and many other separatist and new-nation 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 interview for more information on the book.]

Related articles from this blog:
“Greenpeace Declares Independent ‘Glacier Republic’ in Chile’s Andes” (March 2014)

1 comment:

  1. We've certainly been enjoying the article over at CascadiaNow, though I think legitimacy is not something we're having too much trouble building.

    If you ever have questions please feel free and let us know.


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