Three Raelians give Earthlings an eyeful

Three members of the Raelians, the religious sect that believes life on Earth was started by space aliens, give a whole new meaning to the idea of heavenly bodies in the October issue of Playboy magazine.

The women posed for a feature called "The Rael World," with the coy subtitle "Prepare for a close encounter of the nude kind." But nudity isn't incompatible with spirituality, apparently. "Let us not forget that the philosophy of the Raelian is the only one that embraces sexual freedom and nudity," a press release piously opined.

The Raelians made world headlines in 2002 when their name was linked with Clonaid, a company that claimed to have created the first human clone. Clonaid president Brigitte Boisselier, a chemist, at first promised DNA testing, but later backed off. Some thought the cloning claims were a hoax by the Raelians.

Boisselier's daughter, Marina, is one of the Playboy trio, according to the press release. That presumably would be Marina Balibrera, who bares her breasts in a teaser on the Playboy Web site.

The Raelians are using the Playboy story to tout a gathering set for Sunday in Montreal, where they'll proclaim Playboy publisher Hugh Hefner an "honorary priest." It will be "a very special event," they promise. Maybe they're going to clone Hef?