Welcome to real world, judge tells head Raelian

Suit against columnist thrown out. With his provocative attacks on Christians, Jews, Vorhilon told he's not above criticismw

The Gazette, Montreal Canada/July 3, 2006
By Irwin Block

When laughing him off as a "scatterbrained swindler" and a "clown," an Ottawa columnist did not libel the man known as Rael, a Quebec Superior Court has ruled.

Dismissing an $85,000 damage suit against columnist Denis Gratton and Le Droit newspaper, Justice Maurice Larame said arguments by Claude Vorhilon, who calls himself Rael, are "airy-fairy."

"It is strange, to say the least, that Rael should be offended by terms used about him when they are similar to those he uses when he judges ... followers of the Jewish and Christian religions," the judge wrote in his June 21 ruling.

In the column, published Jan. 23, 2003, a disgusted Gratton promised never to write another word about him.

Vorhilon claims that in December, 1973, he was in a volcano near Clermont-Ferrand, France, when a radiant being emerged from an unidentified flying object, and named him Rael, which means ''messenger.''

In 1975, he claims he was taken in a flying saucer to the planet of the Elohim - the true creators of the world - where he met his half-brother Jesus. Elohim residents are to return to Jerusalem in 2025, he says.

In putting the column in context, the judge noted that Vorhilon condemns Jews for believing in "an imaginary god" when they should realize they come from "the loins of Elohim, their true creators."

Vorhilon is also cited for "vehemently criticizing" the Christian church for trying to understand the true message of Jesus, instead of attacking "humankind's mistakes."

Vorhilon is "clearly provocative," in "openly attacking" Judaism and Christianity, Laramee observed.

"You cannot avail yourself of freedom of religion to say just about anything and demand to be above criticism, even if it's severe," the judge added.

These attacks are part of the context in which Gratton's column must be read, Larame noted.

Claiming that eternal life will be possible through human cloning, Vorhilon's creed is fair game for criticism, the judge said.

In the doubts surrounding a Raelian follower's claim to be the mother of a cloned baby, the judge cited Vorhilon's comment that, "true or false, and even more so if it is not true, it enabled us to get our message out to the entire world."

In that context, even when calling Vorhilon "crazy" and a "fraud," Gratton "did not cross the line" that would make him liable for damages.

"If it looks like a duck, walks like a duck and quacks like a duck, chances are it's a duck," the judge wrote, noting that Rael "even lied shamelessly in testifying about his adventures."

His tale of meetings with Elohim "are more like hallucinations and fantasies, unless he was fully aware that he lied to the court," Laramee wrote.

All the column did was reflect the flustration expressed by many in similar terms, and often in worse terms.

In throwing out the case, Laramee ruled Vorhilon will have to pay unspecified court costs.

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