Alien Worshippers Blame Monotheism for Terrorist Attacks

Pacifists come in all shapes and sizes: Even extraterrestrial.

Las Vegas Weekly/October 24, 2001
By Kate Silver

The Raelians -- an international religious sect that believes human life was created by aliens and holds science as its highest religion -- have been actively spreading their beliefs since last month's terrorist attacks. On Sept. 14, they issued a statement about cloning -- one of their loftiest scientific goals, which they feel will bring them closer to their creators -- saying that to accelerate the process would "make terrorist attacks inefficient in the future."

Last Tuesday they tackled a different issue, focusing on the problems of monotheistic religions and blaming religious fanaticism for the attacks. About 10 people attended a meeting at a library near the Raelian headquarters (outside of Las Vegas) to hear the most recent statement of Rael -- the Raelians's prophet -- entitled "Monotheistic religions are dangerous and responsible for the greatest crimes against humanity."

The meeting focused on religious hypocrisy, violence and fanaticism. And they brought up some valid points. But Rael's solution is, shall we say, otherworldly at best. He suggests censoring the ancient texts of world religions as a way of promoting peace.

"The truth of the matter is that this belief in a single and Almighty God is the very cause of the greatest tragedies that humanity has known," reads the prophet's statement. "From the colonization of Europe by Muslims, through the Crusades, the wars of religion, the Inquisition, Nazism, up until today with the wars between Pakistan and India, Cypress, Ireland, Kosovo, the Middle East, everywhere, it's always in the name of an Almighty God that people tear each other to pieces and kill one another."

Rael's statement aroused protest from a few local college students, who'd been attracted to the meeting by its ominous title. The students had come to defend Islam, but when they confronted U.S. Raelian President Ricky Roehr, they were told that neither they, nor their religion -- in its entirety -- were under attack.

"We respect everyone's beliefs," Roehr explained. "We're not here to convince you of anything, because that's not respectful."

Roehr said that Rael's main point was to remove from religious texts any reference to violence, discrimination or compromising of human rights that people could take out of context and exploit, like last month's suicidal terrorists who killed thousands in the name of Allah.

"The only solution, as I have sought after for more than 20 years, is for all the old and new religious texts from traditional religions and religious minorities to be censored so as to expurgate from them all writings that do not respect human rights and laws of democratic countries or encourage hatred and violence," Rael wrote.

Some examples Rael thinks should be censored from the Koran include: "So when the sacred months have passed away, then slay the idolaters wherever you find them." And "Do not take the Jews and the Christians for friends; they are friends of each other; and whoever amongst you takes them for a friend, then surely he is one of them; surely Allah does not guide the unjust people."

Roehr made it clear that these passages are taken out of context -- but that's the point. It's easy to take sections of anything out of context and proselytize just the sections that support someone's cause. Should the violent passages remain in the Bible, the Torah and the Koran, Roehr fears that wars based on religion will continue being fought as they always have, since the same values will continue being passed on to our children.

"Violence always begets more violence," he says. "It never goes in any other direction."

Still, while erasing a few passages in some religious books may seem an easy solution to the Alien-aspiring Raelians, they've neglected to foresee the ensuing reactions. You see, in some countries, altering ancient religious texts begets beheading.

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