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UFO Cult Celebrates World Swastika Rehabilitation Day

By Leah Nelson on June 26, 2012 - 2:48 pm, Posted in Anti-Catholic

Celebrants of World Swastika Rehabilitation Day, who on Saturday arranged to have a swastika-festooned banner flown along Manhattan and the New Jersey shore, are expressing bafflement and outrage over the barrage of complaints their festivities invited.

“Why should the swastika, a symbol of peace for more than 1.5 billion people in the world, offend the people of Manhattan?” asked Thomas Kaenzig, coordinator of the event, in a press release. “Any negative emotions regarding the swastika by people under the age of 70 years old are obviously linked to their education and not to their experiences. It’s about time people were re-educated to understand the original meaning of the oldest and most recurrent symbol in the world.”

The event was organized by followers of the “Raelian movement,” a publicity-loving UFO cult founded by a French race car driver and journalist who claims to be the son of an extraterrestrial named Yahweh and a half-brother to Jesus, Moses and Buddha.

Raelians claim that human life was created by a race of extraterrestrial scientists called the Elohim, who in 1973 abducted their leader, Claude Vorilhon (or Rael, as he prefers to be called), took him to their planet, and told him he was a prophet chosen to prepare the earth for their return.

The group, which is best known for claiming, early last decade, to have cloned a human child, uses as its logo a swastika inside of a six-pointed star. Vorilhon claims that the symbol was inscribed on the side of the flying saucer that abducted him and points out (accurately) that the swastika is an ancient symbol that to this day has positive associations in Hinduism, Jainism and Buddhism

The Raelians’ attempts to “re-educate” Westerners about the swastika’s true meaning may be innocent, but its other rhetoric about religion – particularly Catholicism – is anything but. In 2002, while the group was based in Quebec, its members responded to sex scandals within the Church by encouraging Catholic high school students to renounce their faith and burn small wooden crosses in protest. The group also operates a website called NoPedo, which urges parents to “Protect your children from pedophilia: Stop sending them to catechism.”

The site also says that “Rael’s Girls” – described somewhat coyly as “women from the ‘Raelian Movement,’ who either work in the SEX Industry themselves or are Raelian Women who wish only to offer their support to the SEX Industry” – “are offering their experience in the sex industry to organize seminars for the Catholic Priests who want to rediscover a harmonious sexuality and to help cure thousands of them who are molesting or are about to molest young children.”

  • Anon

    I have to disagree with the swastika being ruined forever. It is the holy symbol of 1 billion Hindus, should they just give it up. How about we ditch the cross since the kkk likes to use those in their ceremonies

  • stew

    I guess since flipping the bird is from another generation it shouldn’t bother any one either but it does, and I think that this is a slap in the face of of the veterans who gave their lives so we could be free.

  • Kiwiwriter

    The Outpatients were out in force, I see.

    Oh, and Sam Truth, share that “get over it” with a few Holocaust Survivors and WW2 Veterans who lost their rellies and buddies to the Nazis.

  • Bob Carr

    Lack of popularity for the swastika seems to parallel the lack of popularity for the name Adolf, outside of extremist families, at least.

  • Reynardine

    “Truth”, your point is?… I daresay my lifetime has been a lot longer than yours, and during it, Coca-Cola has never used a swastika. Meanwhile, you tell those who survived, those who didn’t, and all of their friends and kin, to “get over it.” Here or hereafter, be standing behind a high, barbed-wire fence when you do it.

  • Sam Truth

    Coca-Cola used the Swastika for years.

    Get over it.

    Oh, and it spins both ways in India.

  • CoralSea

    As many of the posters here have said, I do think rehabilitating the swastika — at least in this century, is a lost cause.

    Case in point: Do any of you remember the Ayds Diet Plan candies? They were supposed to make you lose weight. However, even though they were “there first” with their product name and marketing, the company couldn’t withstand the association with AIDS, and the way many of ITS victims withered away.

    Sometimes you have to move on.

    Erika — didn’t look at the website, but I’d think it’s fair to say that in the Raelians’ minds (such as they are), that their plan worked.

    Sam — I know a lot of people who hit the yard sales and house sales to buy old cooking pots and pans because the vintage American stuff from 50 years ago is still in better shape than most of the garbage you buy now in the stores. I’m not personally sure how modern hand tools/power tools stack up to the old ones, but I’ve been told a lot of the older ones are better. Most of my hand tools are 100+ years old (out of grandparents’ attic). I like their look and they still work fine. As for new sewing machines versus old, up until it finally gave out, I was still using my great grandmother’s Singer, which had been fitted with an electric motor (it was originally a treadle machine). The poor thing was 125 years old when it finally died! (I’d say that my great grandmother, bless her soul, got her money’s worth!) The machine I bought to replace it crapped out in five years.

    So much for product quality today.

  • Erika

    so according to the Raelians their plan worked?

  • Sam Molloy

    Interesting, CoralSea. In the 80s I met somebody that rebuilt huge ball valves for the petroleum industry. At the time even a rebuilt valve that size cost tens of thousands of dollars. The machine he was using to machine them was made in Nazi Germany. I don’t want to give them too much engineering respect though. Compare any ten or twelve year old Chevy or Ford to a Mercedes the same age.

  • Terry Washington

    Personally I think trying to “detoxify” the swastika is a lost cause!


  • Charles Dan Austin

    Frankly I don’t like their swastika any more than I like the corn-fed-rat flag.

  • MeridianWoman

    Today’s PR news from the Raelians about the crowd’s reaction from seeing the airplane banner in NJ, NY, Venice Beach, CA …”Despite the emotional reactions of some, at least some others were able to see the point of the swastika rehabilitation day. As one NY reader put it after reading a main-stream media article on the subject:
    “I doubt they were flying the Nazi flag, as you have depicted. They were surely just flying a plain banner with a swastika on it, which — just as they say — was for thousands of years a symbol used universally, including by Jews. Some of the ancient shul mosaics in Eretz Yisroel have swastikas, and there were seforim printed with swastikas as a decorative motif. Until the Nazis used it it had no bad associations. So now for us it’s a painful reminder and we shun it, but if these people hold it dear we can’t really expect them to keep it in hiding just to spare our feelings. They want to expose it to sunlight and demystify it, so it will seem just as innocuous as it was before the War; I doubt it’s possible, but I can’t blame them for trying. After all, would we stop using a mogen dovid if the Japanese had used it as their symbol instead of the rising sun? “
    “Excellent question, would the Jewish community accept that their symbol be banned if another group had highjacked it?” asked Kaenzig. “What would the Jewish community do if the Palestinians in the name of those who are killed today one day ask the International community to ban the symbol used by their torturers?”

  • Dargo

    Just give them about 100 years and it will be a valid religion.

  • susanlno

    I’d say the Raeltians should give up their crusade to redeem the swastika–whatever it used to mean, Hitler tainted it forever. Then again, I doubt that people who are dim-witted enough to think that consensual sex with grown women would “cure” child molesters would listen to reason.

  • Reynardine

    Somehow, it feels too quiet around here. I wonder what’s coming down the pike.

  • CoralSea

    Moderate Mike — I agree with you. I suppose if the neo-Nazis go away for three or four generations and the Mattel Corp. of the future issues “Sun Circle Barbie,” people may once again view the swastika without a visceral reaction (depending on how you view Barbie).

    Shadow Wolf — I also agree with you. As a Wiccan, I do occasionally wear a pentagram necklace–under my clothes. It simply isn’t worth the bother to try to explain to most people (like my neighbors) that it isn’t a satanic symbol. I do wear it to the local Renaissance Faire; it’s highly interesting how many people will, if they notice it, greet me with “Blessed Be,” or “Bright Blessings.” (The ren fair is lousy with Pagans, which is part of its charm). It’s also amusing how one can wander around, wearing blatantly Wiccan-based t-shirts, big, showy pentacles, or even dress, head to toe, in “traditional” witch attire, and the “normals” who are attending the fair smile and congratulate you for “being in character.” Definitely good times!

    And, of course, anything Celtic (e.g., knotwork, zoomorphic designs, mythical creatures) can be worn just about anywhere, even though much of it has strong Wiccan/Pagan connotations (at least for Northern European/British Isles oriented practitioners).

  • Joseph

    Shadow Wolf – You make a lot of sense, and you bring up a good point with the Pentagram (Pentalpha). Thank you for your insight.

  • CoralSea

    Robert — Intriguing poster!

    Sam — since I periodically wander through old manufacturing facilities, I have also come across swastikas stamped on equipment and piping. These actually ARE third-Reich related markings for the 1930s. Prior to World War II, Germany did a lot of business with U.S. manufacturers and, in some cases, conducted quality audits, which resulted, if the manufacturer met the requirements, with the Third-Reich’s own Good-Housekeeping-Seal-of-Approval-from-Hell stamped all over the place. Strange, but true (and sorta freaky; one also runs across Masonic symbols and, in one case, a 1920s era “Workers United” type of Art Deco-influenced wall mural complete with hammers and sickles.

    My brother and I also ran across a notary public stamp (or maybe some other type of stamp — I don’t remember) from the 1930s that was used by some Chicago Alderman that for some reason included a swastika and some German lettering that my brother, who reads German, said suggested that he was involved in the U.S. Bund. I always wondered what happened to the guy and if he quit the Bund, lost his re-election bid (or not, depending on his utility to City Hall) after the United States entered the war. It’s amazing what you find in antique shops!

  • Shadow Wolf

    The problem with the mainstream society, including some of the posters above, who possess no understanding behind the original meaning of the ancient swastika (or chose to remain in denial). Could be based on the brainwashing by mainstreams religions like Catholicism and Judaism etc. Where they associated the Pagan symbol with evil and witchery. Long before Hitler’s Nazi Germany adopted the sign and tarnished it since then.
    Other ancient symbols such as the pentagram were also deluted by these same religions.

  • ModerateMike

    I would add, CoralSea, that the negative associations regarding the swastika have stayed fresh in our minds partly because of the proliferation of neo-Nazi and other white nationalist groups in recent years. I doubt that most people would see an attempt to speak positively of the swastika as anything other than a subtle method for spreading intolerance, no matter how well versed you were in its symbolic nuances.

  • Sam Molloy

    Occasionally on older buildings, ca 1900 or so, you see them. They were called Gammadions. I have seen them in brick work where they were made of white (glazed end cap) bricks, on a gas fireplace valve in a Victorian mansion, and on the porch railing uprights at a fancy resort. I’m surprised they survived WWII era emotions.

  • Robert Pinkerton

    I have a poster of an extremely angry Ganesha, engaged in beating [deleted] out of Nazis, because he wants his swastika back from the defilers.

  • CoralSea

    I think Erika sums it up in a (snicker) “nut” shell regarding this group’s shenanigans with swastikas.

  • Ian

    Tried to get World Swastika Rehabilitation Day off work. Wasn’t going to happen.


  • CoralSea

    Again — I return to my thesis that some designs just become so embued with horrible associations that most people shudder inside when they see them (including, as Joseph explains, the Confederate flag).

    It is an interesting phenomenon, considered how worldly and seemingly jaded modern Americans are that some symbols simply hit us at such a deeply emotional level that, even if we know, intellectually, that something has a whole other history to it that is positive, we can’t get passed the very, very negative associations.

    I suspect that what we are all experiencing and talking about is basically at the heart of hate crimes and hate — acts, ideas, or symbols that go beyond simple intimidation or violence and that, in fact, strike true psychic dread in those against whom they are used.

    Shadow Wolf — I am also quite familiar with the use of the swastika in Native American design and regret that the Nazis did such a number on this symbol that people sometimes react with outrage when they see it on old Native American pottery, rugs, blankets, or jewelry. Way to go, nasty Nazis!

  • Erika

    this entire thing (especially the bit about the Rael girls) is just plain bizarre – but I suspect their use of the swastika isn’t really to rehabilitate it – it is to get attention. Becausae the swastika is outside of a few neo-Nazi freaks now regarded universally as a symbol of evl, what better way to get publicity for their nutty ideas than fly a giant swastika balloon?

    Its basically just a more elaborate version of a teenager drawing a swastika on their notebook to be outrageous.

  • Reynardine

    “Suck the light out of” is the operative phrase. The original swastika, revolving in a clockwise direction and hence trailing its blades to the left, was (like the kolovrat and several other ancient emblems) a solar wheel, meant to radiate light. Its reversal symbolized sucking away the light/radiating darkness, and the Nazis, whatever they pretended, knew they were doing it, and intended exactly that.

    Currently, I would not use a swastika of any kind.

  • A.D.M.

    Before the German Nazis turned the swastika into what it represents to many today, it was used as a spiritual symbol in Hinduism and other religions in India.

  • Concerned Citizen

    These people have no clue of understanding the outrage of the heinious Nazi symbol. It is my understanding that there is a red swastika on the Jainism religious flag.
    nonetheless. The nazi symbol is a horrible symbol, because of the pervasities of it, by the nazis in Germany.
    These people needs to smell the coffe and get a reality check.

  • Sam Molloy

    Are all French people like that?

  • Shadow Wolf

    Off the topic. But I thought I shared this:

    Racist Elmo Arrested in Central Park, New York:

    Elmo turned racist, was arrested and taken to a mental hospital for psychological evaluation. This, after he was caught in Central Park, spouting off a tirade of racist incoherencies directed at Jews and Illegal Aliens. Elmo, a kid-loving muppet from Sesame Street, was heard shouting obscenities at passing children.

  • Shadow Wolf

    First and foremost, I agree that this Sy-Fy cult is ridiculous.

    But I actually find its cause of reclaiming the true identity of the swastika a meaningful one. I would also add my support of it. What is not mentioned in this article. The ancient symbol was not only used by Indo-European cultures such as Indo-Aryans, Persians, Hittites, Slavs etc. The symbol was also used by some Native Americans. Such symbol was found on Navajo rugs. Excavation sites discovered the symbol was used among Indigenous of the southwest and in the Mississipi-era and Ohio valleys. But the arrows are pointed to the left, instead of the right (Nazism).
    Heretofore, I wouldn’t mind wearing the respective symbol on a shirt, as means of reclaiming its true meaning. I wouldn’t even care what a Jew thinks of me had I done so.

  • CriticalDragon1177

    Leah Nelson,

    Now this is downright bizarre.

  • Joseph

    I like Dan Brown by the way, just not enough to fly a balloon of a Swastika in the air because of what it used to mean in an other culture.

    I think understanding should also involve a good amount of sensitivity, in that, the time has come and gone when a Swastika meant peace.

    I would equate that to people in my nieghborhood using the Flag of the Confederacy as a symbol of heritage, culture and history. It just doesn’t mean that to me when I see it, and I react rather aggressively if it is within arms reach.

    I know, I need to take a pill. But in order to achieve true understanding, I think we also need to be a little sensitive and there are a number of people who probably didn’t appreciate that parade.

    But you already know that.

  • Joseph

    Dan Brown fans.

  • CoralSea

    Reynardine — That’s a point, regarding direction. So I guess that one could always flip the quilt over and the swastika would be headed in the non-Nazi direction.

    Funny, considering the reaction to the design, though, I don’t know that this would matter. I know that there is no way in the world that I am ever going to show up at a quilt show, carrying a swastika quilt, regardless of direction of spin. I have enough trouble with the jealousy when I win (cough, cough) without having to explain it to the people who would still be freaked out.

  • CoralSea

    Gee — this is the first time I’ve heard of these folks, and the anti-Catholic aspect of their behavior is nasty.

    However, just last week I had a discussion with several people about the swastika. I was in an antiques shop and one of them was angrily confronting the owner about an old silver Navajo pin that included among its decoration a swastika. We had to explain to him that this was, in fact, a very common Native American symbol. He calmed down, but we all agreed that we would be reluctant to wear it out in public. It is too bad — but the visceral response to the symbol is just too creepy to overcome.

    Interestingly, I had just had a conversation about swastika quilt patterns when I was visiting my favorite quilt shop. One of my first quilt making book was initially published in 1931 before being reprinted by Dover Books. One of the first piecing patterns (you know — sewing together pieces of different colored fabric to make a design) was the swastika. The author gushed about how the swastika was one of the most popular American quilting patterns and that virutally every quilter had completed a quilt using the swastika design (!!!). Swastikas also appeared in the book as quilting designs (that’s the design caused by stitching the quilt top, batting, and backing together.

    Although I have been quilting for 30+ years (I started young) and have participated in lots of quilt shows, county fairs and state fairs, I have never seen a modern quilt sporting a swastika. I haven’t even seen an antique quilt with a swastika design, even though I am sure, from looking at other old quilt pattern books, that they exist.

    The other women in the quilt shop, who were equally knowledgeable, said the same thing, even though a couple of them allowed as to how it WAS a pretty design to mix in with other designs, but that no, they would never use it themselves.

    I also know that, although I like old fashioned designs and Native American symbols, there is NO WAY I would ever use a swastika pattern. There’s just no way to look past the Nazi associations.

    My point is that the Raelians (even though quite odd, to say the least) are correct regarding how universal the swastika once was. But judging by the very visceral reaction people still have toward it (including me), despite its previous positive associations and the fact that, from a design standpoint, it is a wonderfully dynamic graphic, it is simply UNACCEPTABLE. I’d say that this is definitely a testament to the fact that the Nazis and Adolph Hitler still inhabit a black hole of horror that, even after 70 years, continues to suck the light out of anything associated with them–including the swastika.

    I sometimes wonder where some of those old, pre-Nazi swastika quilts went, whether they were simply folded up and put away (like, forever), torn up or used as rags, or burned. If I came into possession of one, I wouldn’t burn it, out of consideration for the time the seamstress put into it, but I doubt that I would use it.

  • Reynardine

    Think so, CM. Out of curiosity, which way is that swastika spinning?

  • CM

    Sounds like “Rael” might have dropped acid and watched a double feature of “The Cardinal” and “Mars Needs Women.”

  • Supersonic250

    Oh, DEAR GOD, not the Raelians. Oh, good lord, these people aren’t just nuts, but stupid. And this is JUST the type of boneheaded thing they’d do.