Showing posts with label raelian movement. Show all posts
Showing posts with label raelian movement. Show all posts

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Can the Swastika Seriously Be "Rehabilitated"?

Ancient pottery with a swastika
Without a doubt, the most shocking and recognizable symbol of modern racial hatred is the swastika.

Adopted by Adolf Hitler as the banner for the German National Socialist (Nazi) party in the 1930's, the swastika has become synonymous with racial animosity and violence ever since then.

However, the swastika actually originated as an ancient symbol symbolizing the sun, and was used by many different cultures and religions before Hitler saw fit to adopt it for political usage.  Artifacts such as pottery and coins from ancient Troy show that the swastika was a commonly used symbol as far back as 1000 B.C.
Flag of the Third Reich

Now, one modern religious group is engaged in a high-profile bid to "re-brand" the swastika, and it is making some people see red.

The Raëlian Movement, who believe that Extra-Terrestrials originally created all life on earth, have used a symbol that is the source of considerable controversy:  an interlaced star of David and a swastika.

The Raelian Movement's Symbol
The Raelians apparently believe that the Star of David represents infinity in space whereas the swastika represents infinity in time, i.e., there being no beginning and no end in time, and everything being cyclic.

In 1991, their symbol was changed to remove the swastika, out of respect to the victims of the Holocaust, but as of 2007 has been restored to its original form.
According to the the movement's website,, on Saturday, July 12, 2014, the International Raelian Movement repeated the culminating event of its annual swastika rehabilitation effort by flying banners featuring the symbol over beaches adjacent to New York City, Miami and other U.S. locations.

But in contrast to prior years, this year’s flybys will constitute the grand finale for an entire week of events rather than for the 24-hour period formerly known as Swastika Rehabilitation Day.

“We decided we need an entire week to really get the word out,” said Raelian Guide Thomas Kaenzig. “Swastika Rehabilitation Week began on July 5, and we’ve already held events in about 20 cities in Africa, Australia, Asia, Europe and South America. This weekend we’ll hold events all over North America, including the United States and Canada.”

And indeed, they did.  USA Today reports that the banner has caused quite a stir when it was flown over New York's Coney Island.

Canada’s largest billboard company rejected the group’s order for a large sign it wanted to display in that country, Kaenzig said.

“The company representative said many people would see our ad as offensive and inflammatory, so they wouldn’t post it,” Kaenzig explained. “So this poses a real catch 22. How can the world be reeducated about the truth of this symbol if we can’t get the word out to show people? Luckily, religious freedom is more respected in the United States than in Canada, so we are able to do more here.”

Kaenzig said pre-Nazi era swastikas still exist in hundreds of public places in the United States.

Mosaic swastika tile
“It’s still readily seen in NYC subway stations and museums, in the old U.S. mint, at the Garfield Monument, and in Native American artwork,” he pointed out.

“There's even a town in upstate New York that was named ‘Swastika’ after gold was found there a century ago.  And although most people in the West don’t realize it, the swastika is still a revered symbol for billions of Asians, for whom it signifies good luck and good will.”

He said the Raelian Movement launched an offshoot group, the ProSwastika Alliance, with the goal of uniting all religions that cherish the swastika, and noted that it is cherished by Raelians since it intertwines with a six-pointed star to form the Raelian symbol.

“501c3 tax exemption status for the alliance is pending,” Kaenzig said. “We’ve submitted the IRS application.”

There is no word from the IRS on the application's status.

Needless to say, taking a symbol that was widely used in connection with mass murder and "rehabilitating" it through rebranding may very well be impossible.