A Colombian woman has been fined for walking on the beach topless because she is a member of a UFO worshipping religion that believes in gender equality and the same rights for men and women when it comes to nudity.
Ruby Macea Pacheco, 52, was fined for going topless on the beach in the neighbourhood of Marbella in the Colombian coastal city of Cartagena back in August.
The police said she was exposing her breasts and refused to cover up when asked to, resulting in her receiving a COP 400,000 (GBP 74) fine for ‘performing sexual acts or exhibitionism that cause a disturbance to the community in a public space’.
However, the woman told local media that she is a member of the UFO religion Raelism, also known as Raelianism, founded in France in the 1970s by Claude Vorilhon, known as Rael.
Devotees believe humans are not alone in the universe and that we are created by an alien civilisation more advanced than our own called Elohim.
According to the movement, in Hebrew, Eloha (the singular of Elohim) means “those who came from heaven” and practitioners believe the word was mistranslated as ‘God’ when it really refers to the alien civilisation.
Raelians believe all life on Earth was created by aliens through genetic engineering and that with human cloning and ‘mind transfer’, immortality can be achieved.
A fundamental philosophy of the religion is gender equality and Rael, the Raelian spiritual leader, said: “As long as men can be topless in public, women should have the same constitutional right. Otherwise, men should wear something to hide their breasts.”
On its website, the UFO religion states: “We are a US-based organisation founded in 2007 by spiritual leader Rael and we affirm that women have the same constitutional right as men to go bare-chested in public.”
Macea Pacheco said: “In the Raelian Movement, there are activities like this, such as GoTopless, which is to be naked from the waist up.”
She added: “Men are allowed to go shirtless, so women have the same right as it is written in the Colombian Constitution that we are all born with the same rights.”
It is unclear if Macea Pacheco intends to fight her fine for going topless on the beach on the grounds of her religious beliefs.