They’ve loaded up the truck and moved to . . . Manhattan?
New York Magazine, Jan. 20, 2003
By Rebecca Segall
Not only have the Raelians unleashed cloned babies upon the world (or so they claim), but they’re sending out their own version of the “mitzvah mobile” to increase their tribe in New York.
“We’re renting a truck with a huge screen on top that will flash words like NO GOD, NO SOUL, EXTRATERRESTRIAL CREATORS, DNA, ETERNAL LIFE THROUGH CLONING,” says Pierre Bolduc, a hip, handsome 46-year-old French-Canadian who has devoted half his life to the Raelian movement. “And I will drive it around the city all night.” The 55,000-member cult also plans to sponsor a lecture at the West 63rd Street YMCA on January 20, called “Yes! to Human Cloning: A Raelian Perspective.” Bolduc flashes a huge grin typical of Raelians, who in addition to being a little out-there also tend to be cute and fun-loving. “We have been trying to spread our message to New Yorkers for over a year, and it’s really hard to get people’s attention here.”
Maybe not anymore. Since the announcements that women associated with the sect had given birth to cloned babies, the Raelian Website has received thousands of e-mails, many from New Yorkers, says Marie-Helene Parent, a “guide priest.” On a recent Sunday afternoon, half a dozen Raelians met in midtown with a hodgepodge of folks who had contacted them online. Bolduc, one of twenty “guide bishops” in the movement, fielded questions about what it means to be created in the image of little green aliens, how cloning fits in, and why they don’t consider it to be immoral. “Our leader, Rael, believes that humans were made to clone,” Bolduc told the group.
Carmela Tal Baron was more interested in other aspects of the Raelian agenda. “The most important thing is that we build an embassy,” said Baron, a poet married to a professor of human genetics at Columbia, referring to a temple the Raelians want to build in Jerusalem to welcome returning aliens. “It’s the only way to bring peace on earth,” she added. Everybody nodded in agreement.
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