LOWELL, Mass. — A Massachusetts woman has won her appeal to wear a colander on her head for her driver’s license photo as part of a satirical religion that is meant to mock Christianity and its beliefs.
Lindsay Miller of Lowell, who identifies as a member of the “Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster” or “Pastafarianism,” sought to wear the strainer for the photo this past August, but the Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles (RMV) denied her request.
“I thought of other religions and women and thought that this was not fair. I thought, ‘Just because you haven’t heard of this belief system, [the RMV] should not be denying me a license,” she told reporters.
A friend of Miller then turned to the American Humanist Association (AHA) for assistance, which filed an administrative appeal. She was to have attended an appeal hearing in October, but the hearing was postponed and the RMV agreed to allow her to wear the colander since it did not cover her face.
“If people are given the right to wear religious garments in government ID photos, then this must extend to people who follow the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster,” David Niose, legal director of AHA’s Appignani Humanist Legal Center, said in a statement.
The movement began in 2005 when founder Bobby Henderson sent an open letter to the Kansas Board of Education to express his opposition to its decision to allow the teaching of Intelligent Design as an alternative to evolution, mocking biblical Creation with the concept of a “spaghetti monster.”
“With millions, if not thousands, of devout worshipers, the Church of the FSM is widely considered a legitimate religion, even by its opponents—mostly fundamentalist Christians,” the organization’s largely blasphemous website states, then proceeds to make a crude statement about the Almighty that is sexual in nature.
“If you say Pastafarians must believe in a literal Flying Spaghetti Monster to be True Believers, then you can make a similar argument for Christians,” it later states. “There is a lot of outlandish stuff in the Bible that rational Christians choose to ignore. We do the same with our scripture. This is intentional.”
“He boiled for your sins,” states one poster featured on the site. Another features a mockery of John 3:16, making a reference to “Spaghetti 3:16,” and shows a man carrying a cross that reads “Pastafarianism.”
As previously reported, a woman in Utah was similarly allowed to wear a colander on her head for her license photo, as officials stated that doing so was permissible as long as the photo could “get a visual of the face.”
But in Canada, where the matter went to court, a judge found such requests to be an abuse of the system.
“Too many people implicated in real litigation with consequences that could affect their lives or those of their children or enterprise are waiting their turn in court for us to be silent about the monopolization of these resources to determine if the plaintiff can be photographed wearing a colander or pirate hat,” stated Quebec Superior Court Judge Stéphane Sansfaçon. “We forget too often that the courts are a public service with limited resources that must not be abused.”