I was beginning to think everyone speaking at CPAC was a kook, but then I read that Japan conservative Hiroaki "Jay" Aeba will be there to supply some good old-fashioned common sense at the conference.
What isn't mentioned is the central role Aeba plays in a Japanese cult called Happy Science, whose leader believes he is the Messiah and sells "miracle cures" for COVID-19.
"Happy Science is a Japanese cult run by a man who claims to be the incarnation of multiple Gods while pretending to channel the psychic spirits of anyone from Quetzalcoatl to Bashar al-Assad to Natalie Portman," Sarah Hightower, a researcher and expert on Japanese cults, told VICE News.
Happy Science was founded in October 1986 by Ryuho Okawa, a former Wall Street trader who claims to be the reincarnated form of Buddha, who himself was the reincarnated form of El Cantare, a god from Venus who created life on earth millions of years ago. Happy Science was officially recognized as a religious group in Japan in 1991, quickly gained a huge following, and made Okawa a very rich man. One estimate from 1991 put the group's annual revenues at around $45 million.