The picture below represents a big religious freedom win for the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster.
Three years ago, Austrian Pastafarian Nico Alm— adherent to the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster— showed up at his local police station to apply for a new driver’s license. In line with an Austrian law which stipulates that the only headgear allowed in official photos is required religious headgear, Alm wore a pasta sieve on his noggin, handle cocked to the side.
Unsurprisingly, Austrian authorities turned him away, demanding that he obtain a doctor’s certificate that he was “psychologically fit” to drive, unwittingly helping Alm illuminate his point.
Alm obtained the doctor’s note and reapplied. In all, it took him three years to obtain the license.
For those who have never heard of The Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster (like myself): the group was formed when Oregon State Physics grad student Bobby Henderson decided to protest the Kansas Board of Education’s decision to to teach creationism in schools. In the letter, Henderson asked the Pastafarian version of intelligent design to be taught to schoolchildren as an alternative to the Christian theory, demanding that it receive equal attention to evolution and intelligent design.
Henderson published the letter on his website, earning a wide response from good-natured atheists and agnostics who related to his point.
Since then, Pastafarianism has grown into a “real” fleshed-out religion. Their core belief is that pirates are divine beings who have been slandered over the years by Christians, but who were originally “peace-loving explorers and spreaders of good will” who distributed candy to small children. They claim that “global warming, earthquakes, hurricanes, and other natural disasters are a direct effect of the shrinking numbers of pirates since the 1800s,” and even made this scientific chart to back it up:
The Pastafarians celebrate two holidays—Pastover and Ramendan—and adopted one rigid rule: “the only dogma allowed in the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster is the rejection of dogma.”
By demanding identical treatment to other religions, the Church of the Giant Spaghetti Monster offers some perspective on the power mainstream religions hold in society and holds up a mirror in the face of commonly-accepted creation myths.
According to BBC, Mr. Alm’s next step “is to apply to the Austrian authorities for Pastafarianism to become an officially recognised faith.”
For the sake of pirates everywhere, I hope he gets it.