You’ve heard the old cliche that Las Vegas has more churches per capita than any other city in America? Maybe it’s true, maybe it isn’t, but we’re about to get another one.
The Raelians are unlike any other religion in the world since they do not believe in God at all. But it’s their other beliefs that are more likely to raise hackles among other faiths.
It’s just a coincidence that Raelians rhymes with aliens, but it’s telling. Although they’ve been called a cult, they are far removed from any religious cult you’ve ever heard of.
God plays no part in their religion. Instead, they believe we are all the product of cloning experiments in an extraterrestrial lab. But it’s their status as sexual libertines that will probably drive rivals up the wall.
When the adult video industry held its annual convention in Las Vegas earlier this year, it attracted the usual assortment of porn stars, sex merchants, and switch hitters, but tucked in among the bawdy booths and abundant cleavage were religious ambassadors, including J.C.’s girls, former strippers and escorts who’ve found Jesus and quit the biz.
The yin to their yang, are Rael’s girls, made up of Raelian sex workers who think there’s nothing wrong with sexual freedom and that there’s no need for strippers or hookers to repent at all.
Ricky Roehr, with the Raelian Movement, said, “Trying to make these girls feel guilty for what they are doing with their bodies, with their lives. They are bringing pleasure to other people, you know. It’s your right to do with your body what you wish, as long as you are not harming other people.”
Chief Investigative Reporter George Knapp: “So, no need to repent?”
Ricky Roehr: “Absolutely.”
Roehr is a professional musician on the Strip and the president of the Raelian Movement in the U.S. Although there are only a few dozen Raelians in Las Vegas, the city will soon become the North American headquarters for the church, which has already sold the Canadian retreat that has long been the site of annual get-together’s for the faithful.
Roehr acknowledges that Las Vegas is a good fit for the church. “It’d an open-minded community. It’s a happy community. If you travel anywhere in the country, you know there are a lot of happy people here.”
Chances are there will be fewer happy people among local religious leaders once the Raelians relocate. It is the world’s only atheistic religion. The prophet Rael, a former French journalist who — to the Raelians — is on a par with Jesus or Buddha, says humans were created not by a God but by extraterrestrials cloned in a lab.
A private company run by Raelian scientists claims to have duplicated the ET science by creating human clones three years ago. If it’s true, the birth of the cloned babies has never been confirmed by outside experts. Still, it prompted the president of France and others to call for a ban on human cloning experiments.
The Raelians preach tolerance for other religious beliefs but seem to revel in tweaking the noses of rival religious leaders by promoting science over faith.
Rael, the founder of Raelian Movement, said, “I hope everyone in this room, when your child or grandchild is sick, you don’t run to a church or temple, you run to a hospital because you prefer science.”
The Raelians have been slammed by other religions as perverts, Satanists, pedophiles, racists, and a lot more. Death threats are not uncommon. But if there’s any spot where their core philosophy should fit, this could be it.
“Pleasure is good. We are created for pleasure. And every moment of our life is for pleasure. Whether it’s to eat, pay your taxes so you don’t go to jail, either we do it for pleasure or for the avoidance of displeasure. It’s very fundamental. It’s how we were made. It’s why we were made,” explained Ricky Roehr.
The Raelians have been in Las Vegas since the ’80s. Now, our town will become their headquarters.
The group plans to either build a headquarters in Las Vegas, or perhaps buy and renovate a hotel. They don’t need a place to worship, they say, only a place to hold seminars.
May 8, 2007
George Knapp, Chief Investigative Reporter