Members of the UFO religion known as Raelians think the swastika is getting a bad rap, and have designated Saturday as “Swastika Rehabilitation Day.”
“The swastika’s ancient, honorable heritage and positive meaning are well known in many Eastern countries,” Thomas Kaenzig, Raelian guide and president of the ProSwastika Alliance, said in a news release. “But we also want people in other parts of the world to know what they know, so that we can once and for all fully rehabilitate this symbol that’s so dear to billions of people.”
The group doesn’t exactly have any affection for Nazis, who they claimed usurped the symbol from Eastern religions.
Raelians use the swastika and two interlocking triangles as a symbol of their religion. Believers in the UFO religion say its leader, former car racing journalist Claude “Rael” Vorilhon, came into contact with an alien, described as “a human being from another planet,” in France in 1973. They say the universe had multiple creators, whom the group calls “Elohim” (Hebrew for God).
“Swastika Rehabilitation Day” is the fourth annual iteration of the group’s event.
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“This year, we’ll again display swastika-themed banners in U.S. and Canadian skies,” Kaenzig said. “But the real emphasis is on worldwide recognition and vindication for the true and positive connotations of this symbol. This is a global re-education effort.”
“The swastika has been used around the world for thousands of years as a symbol of well-being and good luck, so when Westerners interpret it as meaning something ugly because the Nazis used it, they’re denying millions of people the right to live their religion freely,” he continued. “It’s time to rehabilitate this lovely symbol once and for all, and to eliminate any remaining taint from those who hijacked it in the 20th century.”
Rael has weighed in on any number of other topics, according to his own website.
“Over the years, Rael has inspired several public actions from the promotion of the use of condoms in schools to the promotion of masturbation; from worldwide campaigns in support of minorities with the slogan ‘to tolerate differences is not enough, one should love differences’ to the disturbing request to have all religious books censured where they don't respect Human Rights; from the support of human cloning through the founding of Clonaid, to the promotion of GMO as the only chance for all human beings on Earth to have food; from the creation of Clitoraid, an association to help women who have been circumcised to have their clitoris repaired so that they can experience pleasure again to the call for the gathering of all African traditional chiefs to create the United States of Africa,” his website states.