Las Vegas Raelian Gets 'God-Free' U.S. Citizenship Ceremony - 8 News NOW

George Knapp, Chief Investigative Reporter

Las Vegas Raelian Gets 'God-Free' U.S. Citizenship Ceremony

Posted: Updated:
Raelian leader Rael and followers. Raelian leader Rael and followers.
Thomas Kaenzig entering the federal courthouse to take the citizenship oath. Thomas Kaenzig entering the federal courthouse to take the citizenship oath.

Dozens of local residents were sworn in Friday as naturalized U.S. citizens, but one of the new Americans insisted on taking a special oath, one that removed all references to God.

Thomas Kaenzig says he left his native Switzerland because of religious persecution. He had to file a lawsuit in federal court to get the attention of immigration officials concerning the oath new citizens must take.

The oath asks new citizens to swear to God and a promise to bear arms. Kaenzig is a Raelian and doesn't believe in God. He's also a pacifist.

Federal officials agreed to change the oath to accommodate his beliefs. Kaenzig knows his decision will tick off a lot of people but he thinks it shouldn't.

"I know people say that because the majority are monotheists. They're either Christians, Muslims or Jews and it would be normal to have that. But it would be like saying the majority are Caucasian and the so only if you're Caucasian you can become a citizen," Kaenzig said.

Kaenzig and his fellow Raelians believe that humans were created, not by God, but by a race of extraterrestrials.

He says it took him seven years to become a naturalized citizen and that he respects the U.S. Constitution since it not only provides freedom of religion but also freedom from religion.

"I think this whole country is based on freedom and everybody's welcome. I'm happy to be a citizen as of today," he added.

Email your comments to Chief Investigative Reporter George Knapp

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