The Raelian Cult - Cloning Hoax Factory

Commentary by A. L. Dvorkin

Moscow, Russia
January 20, 2003
St. Irenaeus of Lyon Information and Consultation Center

At the end of December 2002, the Canadian-based Raelian cult announced the birth of their first cloned child, a little girl who was, of course, named Eve. The experience of this cult, which considers people to have been created as clones of space travelers nearly 25 thousand years ago, started in 1997 with the creation of the extremely secretive Clonaid company. The leader of the cult, former French car-racer and sports writer Claude Vorilhon, asserts that on 13 December 1973 he was abducted by aliens who informed him that he himself was the clone of an extraterrestrial father and that his real name was Rael. At the same time Vorhilon was brought to a secret place and introduced to other "clones" - Jesus, Mohammed, Moses and Buddha, who entrusted him with a mission. At that point Vorhilon abandoned his profession and left France for Canada, where he started a new cult. The cult advocated abortion, homosexuality and euthanasia - everything that promoted a reduction of humanity and that impeded normal reproduction of offspring. He considered that people were gods and needed to learn to reproduce copies of themselves and thus achieve immortality. With this as an ideology, it was important to advertise successful attempts at cloning.

It must be said that when cult "bishop" Brigette Boisselier, Clonaid officer, beaming with emotion, told the world this stunning news, I did not believe it and voiced a supposition that this was an ordinary cult ploy. Just the process of cloning ( I'm not talking now about the moral aspects of all this, but only about the technical side of things) is so complicated that to trust in the success of this complex undertaking, supposedly attained through the cult theories of a rather small wild-eyed group of second-rate scientists, was not possible. I stated my view that same day in an interview with REN-TV, as was clearly heard in the broadcast. I also said that this was one of the main aspects of very successful PR for cultists.

Indeed that proved to be the case, as in the final round the cult declined to permit independent corroboration to identify the DNA from mother and baby. But the main thing had been accomplished. Every news agency in the world competed with each other over the course of several weeks to talk about the Raelians, attended their press conferences, invited their leaders into television studios and broadcast their absurd, amoral, aggressive views. More than that, in the words of the cult, they had over two thousand childless couples, desperately wanting to conceive children, who had turned to the cult for help for which the Raelians were charging them 200 thousand dollars apiece. At the same time the cult made another unverified report about yet another birth of a clone (in a "family" of Dutch Lesbians), and the appearance in the near future of four more.

In the middle of all this tomfoolery, several health journalists tried to analyze the reasons for the rapid success attained by the cult with the assistance of its several less than fastidious colleagues. They noted the morbidity and sensationalism of the topic, the scandalous reputation of the cult combined with "free sex," pedophilia and other perversions and also the extremely apt moment chosen by the Raelians for their "sensational event" -- the period between western Christmas and the New Year is ordinarily devoid of news and journalists were ready to pounce on any item, even if it was of questionable validity, and make it front-page news. So the cult managed, using only a semblance of pretence, to flood practically the entire world press with free advertising for itself and its operations.

Here is what the Canadian newspaper "National Post" wrote about this on January 8, 2003:

"The Raelian motive is clear: Like all cults, they are on the lookout for new members, and this cloning stunt has attracted the sort of publicity that a cult can usually get only by committing mass suicide. The real mystery, rather, is why everyone else decided to give the Raelians more than the 15 minutes of fame their cloning stunt deserved. Almost two weeks have passed since the group announced Eve's birth. No evidence has been produced, yet the media continues to swarm Raelian press conferences. Last Friday, veteran CNN journalist Connie Chung not only invited Raelian leader Claude Vorilhon onto her show, she indulged his farcical demand to be called "His Holiness" on-air.

News organizations around the world have also whitewashed the Raelians by calling them a "sect" or "movement" -- as if they were Anglicans or B'hais. In fact, the Raelians are a greedy, eccentric cult that preys on the desperation and grief of infertile or bereaved couples by promising to make them parents or return cloned copies of children they have lost. The issue of reproductive cloning is a serious one, and deserves our full attention. The Raelians, by contrast, most certainly do not".

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