Claude Vorihon, now known as “Rael,” achieved religious tax-exempt status in Canada and has done well there. But some Canadians are now apparently questioning that status and his comfy situation near Quebec, reports The National Post.

After all Vorilhon left France with an unpaid tax bill of about $500,000 and was never recognized as a religion there. The only thing the French recognized was that his “cult” was one of the most “dangerous in the world.” Rael was also implicated in “various sex-related charges.”

A French documentary reported the rape of an 11-year-old child within the group.

After leaving France under a cloud Vorihon winged his way to Canada where he soon settled with a core group of followers near Quebec.

Now the Canadian press is questioning how this man was allowed to immigrate and then given religious tax-exempt status, considering his well-documented and troubled history.

Who allowed this and why?

Here are some of the questions now being raised about the man who claims he is the son of an alien being from another planet and his followers, the so-called “Raelians.”

“Does this cult, which requires people to participate in orgies and women to have sex with Vorilhon on demand, break any laws or transgress the rights of individuals or minors?”

“Does the Canada Customs and Revenue Agency know how much money is coming into this charity, how it is obtained and from whom?”

“Do Canadian tax officials audit this organization to assess whether it deserves tax-free status? How was this status obtained? Where does the money go?”

“Is the money used strictly for charitable purposes or is it used to keep the founder in the lifestyle to which he’s become accustomed?”

“Does the group’s propaganda contain disclaimers or is the cult allowed to make wild promises about cloning, living forever and extraterrestrials granting eternal life with impunity?”

“Are the children of members of this cult being properly supervised and protected?”

“Are the children of Raelians being properly educated under the law?”

“Isn’t cloning against the law, and if it was undertaken by the cult anywhere, would that constitute grounds to remove its tax-free status in Canada?”

Vorilhon also essentially sponsors himself through “UFO Land” in auto races and drives a costly car. Where does the money to pay for that come from?

Maybe it’s time for another press conference so Rael can answer more questions. But this time he might not like the limelight.

A French official dryly observed, “We’re not very proud of the fact that [Rael] is French.” And some Canadians now fear they are “stuck with him.”

Archbishop Emmanuel Milingo caused a scandal when he married a follower of Rev. Moon in a mass wedding officiated by the “cult leader.” It is unclear if that marriage was ever consummated.

But after more than a year of rehabilitation and maybe some “deprogramming” the prelate is back in action. He renounced his marriage and explained that he might have been “brainwashed.”

Ironically his former “Moonie” bride claimed it was the Catholic Church who “brainwashed” her husband and is now controlling him through undue influence.

It is somewhat bizarre that the Unification Church, so often accused of “brainwashing,” would now be willing to offer this as an explanation for the bishop’s change of heart. Rev. Moon and his apologists have often said there is no such thing as “cult brainwashing.”

Apparently when someone rejects them, such a position can be revised.

Milingo is now approved to resume his clerical duties. He recently led his first mass in some time, reports Reuters.

Looking back over the curious saga of the bishop and the “cult,” it seems what started as a clever propaganda ploy ultimately backfired on the Unification Church. They not only lost the bishop, but “lost face” too.

Instead of getting good press for the Rev. Moon, Milingo’s story proved once again that the church often engages in strange behavior. However, it’s doubtful that its would-be “messiah” will mend his ways.

More likely is that Bishop Milingo has learned something about the world of cults through his painful personal experience. And perhaps the Pope and his Curia have come to realize that even a bishop can be vulnerable to “mind control.”

According to one religious scholar Oprah Winfrey has crossed the line from celebrity to religious icon.

Kathryn Lofton, speaking at an annual meeting of the Society for the Scientific Study of Religion (SSSR) said the popular talk-show host has “rituals,” which she placed within specific categories such as “reading, writing and buying.”

Lofton says that Winfrey has created a belief system that is based upon “self-indulgence and relaxed reflection,” reports the Salt Lake City Tribune.


This far-fetched analysis was apparently taken seriously amongst Lofton’s colleagues at their Salt Lake City conference.

However, members of the SSSR are less likely to accept any meaningful analysis about groups often called “cults.” In fact, they don’t like to use the “C” word. Instead, they prefer the “politically correct” label of “New Religious Movements” (“NRMs”).

It seems that many SSSR members have become little more than “cult apologists.”

SSSR member Benjamin Beit-Hallahmi appeared to express a minority opinion within the group when he lamented, “Leading scholars in the field decided to take a stand in the propaganda war over the legitimacy and reputation of certain NRMs and to work together with them in order to give them much needed public support.”

Beit-Hallahmi cited a memo made public that demonstrates such ongoing collaboration.

He also pointed out that prominent members of the SSSR such as David Bromley, Chairman of its Publication Committee and Eileen Barker have attended cult-subsidized conferences. Bromley has also been paid to testify in court on behalf of cults.

Other SSSR members have likewise offered themselves for hire as expert witnesses against claims of “brainwashing.”

The President Elect of the SSSR Rodney Stark, recipient of one of its “research awards,” has also received funding to attend “cult” conferences.

Gordon Melton, closely associated with the SSSR and linked through their website, once received an all expenses paid trip to Japan, courtesy of the infamous cult Aum.

Melton quickly concluded that the group was innocent of criminal wrongdoing and offered his analysis during press conferences in Japan, which was that Aum was likely the victim of discrimination and/or persecution.

However, it has since been proven through much physical evidence and court testimony, that Aum was responsible for the poison gas attack of Tokyo’s subways, which caused twelve deaths and sent thousands to the hospital. Many of Aum’s leaders are now in prison; some have been sentenced to death.

Perhaps Ms. Lofton should have looked to her own organization’s members as examples of “self-indulgence and relaxed reflection”?

Unlike the destructive cults some SSSR members have chosen to defend, Winfrey is a benign phenomenon, with a devoted following of fans. Oprah certainly hasn’t gassed anyone.

The powerful and popular Internet search engine Google has seemingly secretly deleted certain controversial websites from its listings in Europe according to researchers, reports CNET’s

Apparently Google responded to legal threats potentially possible through laws in Germany and France. According to those laws hate literature can be prohibited.

Of course within the United States the propaganda of hate groups is protected by the First Amendment, and the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) would have a field day with Google in the US over such action.

Google previously won praise for its pledge to submit information about any legal threats to a free speech advocacy website, after a controversy developed regarding the deletion of certain listings concerning critics of the Church of Scientology.

What will happen to free speech on the Internet?

Obviously if Internet users cannot find a site they won’t know what is expressed by its creators. And typically no matter how offensive free speech is in America it is defended. However, Germans do not always appreciate such freedom and likewise the French, who also experienced the devastation wrought by hate groups during World War II, are sensitive to this issue.

ACLU stalwart Barry Steinhardt said, “Over the long term, this will become a significant issue on the Net, there’s a wide variety of laws around the world prohibiting different forms of speech.”

Others suggest Google should at least note what it has done per their previous pledge in response to such legal threats, as it ultimately decided to do regarding Scientology. Internet watchdog Ben Edelman opined, “There’s no need to be secretive.”