The Raelian movement may or may not prove it produced the first cloned human, but the sect can already claim another distinction: It is virtually the only religious group that says this type of reproduction is a good idea.
In fact, the Rev. Eileen W. Lindner, who heads the National Council of Churches' new project studying biological technologies, knows of no faith besides the Raelians that advocates producing genetic duplicates of humans.
This broad consensus on cloning is striking because religions disagree on many issues.
For instance, they divide over the related but distinct practice of therapeutic cloning, which destroys human embryos to harvest stem cells and produce hoped-for medical advances.
Summarizing current religious attitudes against playing God and preserving the sanctity of human life, Philadelphia's Cardinal Anthony Bevilacqua says that creating lives in the laboratory "reduces human beings to mere products of a manufacturing technique. ... The child is produced and wanted not for his or her own sake, but because he or she will carry traits that someone else values."
A report last year from the conservative Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod said cloning is "a fundamental assault on the created order of God" taught in the Bible.