Pastafarian Wins Battle To Wear Pasta Strainer In License Photo

from the ramen dept

You likely already know the story of the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster. If you don't, go read up on it, because it's a delightful example of how a cause can be fought with humor and derision without taking itself too seriously. The admittedly silly non-organization is actually quite an important story for secular government and how it must treat free speech in the context of religious exemptions offered to citizens. Not all governments do this well, as you may recall the story of Australian authorities briefly confiscating a man's legally-owned firearms after he insisted on wearing a pasta strainer on his head for his government ID photo.

Well, reader dave blevins writes about the story of a woman in Massachusetts who made a similar request, and the government managed to allow her to wear the strainer without instigating any such backlash.

A woman who belongs to the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster is allowed to wear a pasta strainer on her head in her driver's license photo due to religious beliefs, the AP reports. Lowell, Mass., resident Lindsay Miller says wearing the colander allows her to express her beliefs, like other religions are allowed to do, according to AP.
The silliness here is clear, but there is also an important point to be made: a government that promotes free speech as one of its values must allow mockery and criticism of the very things that people may hold most dear. I think that's going to become only more important in the days ahead, given terror attacks, given violence by white supremicists against innocent victims, given the easy divisions that can be created by some of the hardships we face. I don't want to aggrandize this too much, but criticism, reflection, doubt and humor can't become rare currency in the times ahead, and it's great to see any examples of government willing to tolerate, if not actively promote, that kind of speech.

So, while this example may be silly in nature, we ought keep in mind that conversation is, in the end, all we have as a weapon to keep humanity moving forward. And that is going to, at times, include speech that we may not agree with.


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  • icon
    127.0.0.1 (profile), 19 Nov 2015 @ 3:43pm

    Excuse me while I remove my tinfoil hat - before I consider the ramifications of this story.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 19 Nov 2015 @ 3:48pm

    What do Kopimists wear?

    I'm curious if the Kopimists have a specific piece of headgear that they consider religious...

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    That Anonymous Coward (profile), 19 Nov 2015 @ 4:20pm

    Our Pasta

    Our Pasta, who “Arghh” in heaven, Swallowed be thy shame. Thy Midgit come. Thy Sauce be yum, On top some grated Parmesan. Give us this day our garlic bread. And give us our cutlasses, As we swashbuckle, splice the main-brace and cuss. And lead us into temptation, But deliver us some Pizza. For thine are Meatballs, and the beer, and the strippers, for ever and ever. RAmen.

    -Kanys

    http://www.loose-canon.info/page53.htm

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      tqk (profile), 22 Nov 2015 @ 7:47pm

      Re: Our Pasta

      I've been trying my damnedest to avoid reading this once seeing it in the RSS feed. YOU NUTBAR Timothy!@!!
      Our Pasta, who “Arghh” in heaven, Swallowed be thy shame. Thy Midgit come. Thy Sauce be yum, On top some grated Parmesan.

      Stop, please stop! My ribs are hurting.

      Geez. I'm as atheist as the best of 'em, but damn, Timothy, there should have been a lot more "sorry, giggling break" interspersed in this story.

      I now am compelled to make a pasta dinner, with lots of parmesan, THANKS TO YOU YOU YOU YOU whatevers.

      And I'll love it. Okay, I guess now I'm accepting it's a holy mission. I'm on a mission for god. Everybody whip out your copy of Blues Brothers and play along.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    AnonCow, 19 Nov 2015 @ 4:44pm

    A colander is not even close to the oddest headgear worn in the name of religion (see also: the Pope).

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 19 Nov 2015 @ 5:30pm

    Religious Role Models

    The First Church of the Last Laugh, famous for their one and only holy day April Fool's Day. Should one be sceptical, hang around lower Market Street in San Francisco on the first of April and join in, or:

    http://www.saintstupid.com

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 19 Nov 2015 @ 9:32pm

    Reminds me of B.O.O.B.S.
    https://www.facebook.com/boobs2016/

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 20 Nov 2015 @ 8:45am

      Re:

      Microsoft still has "0xB16B00B5" in their hypervisor, they just changed it to a decimal value instead of hexadecimal.

      Yeah, we need more women in tech.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        tqk (profile), 22 Nov 2015 @ 7:55pm

        Re: Re:

        Yeah, we need more women in tech.

        Little known fact: women are infinitely more capable of twistedness than men are. This is not a sexist complaint, just an observation of their superior skills/powers. Be thankful they don't always want to use their powers. We'd be toast if so.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 19 Nov 2015 @ 9:37pm

    Hasn't anyone else noticed how closely Colbert resembles Bob from Church of the Sub Genius?

    Carson could be a comedic plant.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 20 Nov 2015 @ 12:19am

    "a government that promotes free speech as one of its values must allow mockery and criticism of the very things that people may hold most dear."

    But they don't need to allow it in an ID photo. The purpose of an ID photo is identification. Will this person actually be going around with a strainer in public? If not, the presence in the photo will only hamper identification and should have been disallowed. And doesn't such an accommodation normally require a sincerely held religious belief that wearing the thing is required, and not just that the person wants to make a point?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 20 Nov 2015 @ 3:05am

      Re:

      And doesn't such an accommodation normally require a sincerely held religious belief that wearing the thing is required, and not just that the person wants to make a point?

      There are tens of millions of people in the United States who will repeatedly assure us that they sincerely hold a religious belief in Christianity. Those same tens of millions of people will then display racism, bigotry, misogyny, prejudice, violence, and utter contempt for the poor and sick and hungry.

      How then, shall we evaluate the "sincerity" of their beliefs?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 20 Nov 2015 @ 4:24am

        Re: Re:

        There are many millions more who are Darwinists who are far more dangerous than Christians. Stalin was given the book Origin of Species when he was 13 and justified his actions as being evolutionary. Likewise, Hitler was a Darwinist and thus his idea of the master race. There are several more of the most genocidal dictators to ever live just in the last 100+ years that are all combined responsible for over 100+ million deaths and not a Christian among them. So tell me again how bad Christians are and how great Atheists are.

        Also, your lies about Christians being racists, prejudice, violent and having contempt for the poor are just that, lies. Are there a few matching that description? Sure. But as a whole, nope, not at all.

        As for the poor, you only have to look at the charities to see different. Good Will, Salvation Army, Samaritans Purse and many, many others are all Christian founded and run. Look at all the missionaries that go all over the world helping feed the poor, build schools and fix up homes. Many of the churches in this country have programs to help people with their rent, utility bills, clothing, food and most people don't even realize that. Some churches run after school programs with computer labs to help single parents.

        If you look at the charities atheists support, they are mostly animal shelters. So please, quit lying. If you have facts, sure, bring them forth. But to pass on your bigotry toward Christianity just shows you are a hypocrite, liar and a bigot. Fortunately though, God's son Jesus paid the price for those sins for all of us.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          jackn, 20 Nov 2015 @ 7:17am

          Re: Re: Re:

          Warning. Wacko alert. I can't wait 'till these types need to wear ID.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 20 Nov 2015 @ 2:39pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            You can't attack the message, only the messenger? Oldest liberal trick in the book. Only liberals think that tactic works. Please address his/her arguments if you can.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 21 Nov 2015 @ 10:31am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              You don't address 'not even wrong'. You just smile and back away.

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

              • icon
                BernardoVerda (profile), 21 Nov 2015 @ 4:47pm

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                Or (what I did) give the guy a vote for "LOL"/"funny"?

                And then hope enough other people do the same, that it gets an official "Post has been deemed Funny by the community" icon?

                reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 20 Nov 2015 @ 8:38am

          Re: Re: Re:

          Hail satin!

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          Dark Helmet (profile), 23 Nov 2015 @ 6:09am

          Re: Re: Re:

          "Stalin was given the book Origin of Species when he was 13 and justified his actions as being evolutionary."

          Thinking Stalin's atrocities weren't tainted by a Russian Orthodox Church, and thinking that Stalin didn't raise his own religion as a cult of his own personality, is an incredibly wrong way of viewing history....

          "Likewise, Hitler was a Darwinist and thus his idea of the master race."

          That's not even CLOSE to being true. Hitler was part Christian, part pagan, who believed in a strange bastardization of Norse supremacy. There was nothing secular, in other words, about Hitler. Nothing atheist, either....

          "There are several more of the most genocidal dictators to ever live just in the last 100+ years that are all combined responsible for over 100+ million deaths and not a Christian among them. So tell me again how bad Christians are and how great Atheists are."

          Christianity had its reformation. If this were the fourteen hundreds, for instance, you'd be singing a totally different tune, as Christendom was the primary instigator of murder on the planet.

          "Also, your lies about Christians being racists, prejudice, violent and having contempt for the poor are just that, lies. Are there a few matching that description? Sure. But as a whole, nope, not at all."

          I would never have intended on saying otherwise. I doubt the original commentator did either. The point is that many people love wrapping themselves in the cross, but fail to act as their religion prescribes. To that extent, they don't actually have sincere religious beliefs. They just like being in a gang.

          "If you look at the charities atheists support, they are mostly animal shelters."

          Citation needed. Because you're super, mega wrong. Ever heard of the ACLU? Doctors w/o Borders? Amnesty International, SHARE, or UNICEF? All secular....

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • identicon
            Wendy Cockcroft, 24 Nov 2015 @ 6:02am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            If this were the fourteen hundreds, for instance, you'd be singing a totally different tune, as Christendom was the primary instigator of murder on the planet..

            Erm, I submit one Genghis Khan, non Christian, for your consideration. http://www.history.com/topics/genghis-khan

            He and his descendants did a fair bit of murdering.

            The point is that many people love wrapping themselves in the cross, but fail to act as their religion prescribes. To that extent, they don't actually have sincere religious beliefs. They just like being in a gang.

            Agreed. However, Christians were never one homogenous mass, as a brief look through the history thereof will attest. As a decentralised entity it was on the receiving end of persecution on and off during the reign of the Roman Emperors. After it became the Roman state religion and became a centralised hierarchical organisation with a decidedly secular outlook, the murdering began, primarily of dissidents, i.e. heretics. The Crusades were basically a massive land grab. The Inquisition started as an effort at ethnic cleansing in Spain, then became a purge of dissidents followed by moral panicking over the Plague. Apparently it never got closed down.

            The Reformation resulted in the mass fracturing of believers into either centralised or decentralised groups. Guess which ones were involved in the most wars, etc.?

            And that, dear friends, is the trouble with using ANY belief system as an excuse to impose an authoritarian regime. Sooner or later it departs so completely from its founding principles it becomes a cartoonish opposite of what it's meant to be. It's easy to blame religions but to be honest any system can result in authoritarian oppression "for the greater good." It's just a matter of degree.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        Berenerd (profile), 20 Nov 2015 @ 4:30am

        Re: Re:

        Saying all of Christianity, or even most of it,are racist is like saying all blacks are criminals, all muslims are terrorists, and all politicians are out to have sex with your rose bushes.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          Jeff Green (profile), 20 Nov 2015 @ 6:20am

          Re: Re: Re:

          He didn't say all Christians were racist, he said there are millions of people who claim to be Christian but then display characteristics incompatible with that belief.
          He didn't say there are no Christians who get it right, just that many who get it wrong.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 20 Nov 2015 @ 7:55am

          Re: Re: Re:

          I didn't say all of them were. Many are not. However, tens of millions of them ARE.

          I am not concerned with the Christians who are kind and charitable and loving: I don't share their faith, but I share their humanity.

          I am very concerned with the Christians whose attitudes and conduct are diametrically opposed to the basic tenets of their own religion. There are people, right now, TODAY, on your TV screen who are actually arguing that we should turn away penniless, homeless, desperate children. Yet these same people trumpet -- in their bios and in their speeches -- how very much they hold Christian values.

          There is nothing Christian about them. Like I said, I don't share the Christian faith, but I did read their book. Carefully. And their book instructs them to take pity on the helpless, to care for the sick, to feed the hungry. Not to slam the door in their faces and leave them to die horribly.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • identicon
            Wendy Cockcroft, 24 Nov 2015 @ 6:06am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            Those people aren't the real deal, they just wrap themselves in the Cross in an effort to appear respectable, moral people. By their fruit you shall know them.

            I pay no attention to words but to deeds. That's how you can tell where a person is really at.

            I actually read somewhere that some people are using "Christian" as a catch-all term to describe White Western people. That's a gross misuse of the name as it is simply not true; Christianity is not exclusive to any ethnic group.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        rk57957, 20 Nov 2015 @ 6:06am

        Re: Re:

        "And doesn't such an accommodation normally require a sincerely held religious belief that wearing the thing is required, and not just that the person wants to make a point?"

        I'd say yes the person is just doing this to make a point.

        As for accommodation of a sincerely held religious belief ... I would prefer the government not determine what is sincere or not.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        nasch (profile), 20 Nov 2015 @ 6:27am

        Re: Re:

        What does that have to do with a driver's license photo?

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 20 Nov 2015 @ 4:35am

      Re:

      "If not, the presence in the photo will only hamper identification and should have been disallowed."

      This is so stupid I almost can't believe it was written.

      Explain to the rest of the class how a colander on a person's head could ever possibly hamper identification of any person.

      I only ask because I'm pretty sure identification is largely dependent on, you know, a person's face and there is no colander being worn over it.

      So by all means explain yourself, because otherwise you're flat out full of it

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        andy, 20 Nov 2015 @ 11:36am

        Re: Re:

        Seriously you believe that a colander will not hide a persons hair which is one of the main ways to identify someone. dumb

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Bob Buttons, 20 Nov 2015 @ 11:48am

      Re:

      Part of the point of the colander in The Church of FSM is to point out the absurdity of being able to get around rules due to religious objection. There are many rules everyone else has to live by whether in a job or filing gov't forms that some get to just opt out of and claim their religion forbids it so it doesn't apply to them. Unless a role is assigned to determine what is genuine belief and what isn't, then to allow any exceptions to the rules is to allow (essentially) them all. Often, the religious seeking exemption become so unhappy at others utilizing the exemption that they try to get rid of it so no one can use it. This can be seen with statues on gov't property and religious promotion in public schools. The Satanic Temple steps in and tries to use the same benefits and the whole thing gets closed down. The colander thing helps expose these scenarios when religion is favored over non-religion by allowing rule exemption. Lastly, about not wearing it all the time, Church of FSM doesn't require it be warn all the time, just in official photos. The ID law also doesn't require the religious garment to be warn all the time for it to be allowed in the image.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      tqk (profile), 22 Nov 2015 @ 8:11pm

      Re:

      But they don't need to allow it in an ID photo.

      You're completely missing the point, which is, "why is your government the final arbiter of who you are"?

      Really, who the fsck are they to say who you are?!? FFS!

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    @b, 20 Nov 2015 @ 2:37am

    The One True point of hampering one's own identification is

    There is no spoon. There is no sincere.

    Poe's Law: One cannot tell the zealotry from its parody.

    Now pass da sauce.

    WWMD. What Would Meatball Do.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Berenerd (profile), 20 Nov 2015 @ 4:27am

    Please understand that I am not against freedom of speech and yes, she has the right to wear that thing on her head, HOWEVER, in NH, when I was a teen, it was against the law to wear anything on your head, minus a hair piece, when getting your photo taken. I thought that was universal. I am willing to bet laws will be changed.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      OldMugwump (profile), 20 Nov 2015 @ 6:45am

      Re: against the law to wear anything on your head

      That used to be the case in most states.

      The whole point of her protest is that the law WAS changed, to accommodate religious requirements for headgear.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        tqk (profile), 22 Nov 2015 @ 8:24pm

        Re: Re: against the law to wear anything on your head

        The whole point of her protest is that the law WAS changed, to accommodate religious requirements for headgear.

        And that is wrong, and we shouldn't be going there!

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 20 Nov 2015 @ 6:50am

    He boiled for your sins!

    He boiled for your sins!

    All hail the Flying Spaghetti Monster

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    QW, 20 Nov 2015 @ 7:40am

    Silliness is not really the issue

    Now I say all of the following as someone with deeply held religious convictions of my own, so please don't dismiss my comment as coming from an us vs. them position:

    I think it's unfair to say that Pastafarianism is silly.

    Pastafarians think their religion is no less silly than any other, and that is the point that is being made, in essence, by the whole of their religious movement.

    It is also fair to say that Pastafarians do have significant and well formulated beliefs, albeit they are beliefs about the nature of religion, and not strictly beliefs in the specified pastafarian tenets.

    But let's be honest, almost no people of faith actually sincerely hold to all of the stated tenets of their religion.

    The fact that it is reasonable to think that your average Pastafarian does not literally believe in the Flying Spaghetti Monster does not mean that they are not holding beliefs worthy of protection. It does not mean their faith, such as it is, should be automatically dismissed.

    The most important thing for me is that allowing Pastafarians to practice freely is the best evidence that we are capable of allowing religious freedom for religions that we might *personally* believe are not valuable, made up, or worthless.

    After all, there but for the grace of God (sorry) go us all.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anomynuos Crowad, 20 Nov 2015 @ 12:19pm

      Re: Silliness is not really the issue

      It's a parody religion. No one comes into it thinking it is anything but that. Their only deeply held conviction is that it's all in jest.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Melkemind (profile), 20 Nov 2015 @ 9:54am

    It goes both ways

    I think it's funny that people who purposely publish offensive material whine when people respond with offensive comments and idle threats.

    Yes, you absolutely have the right to offend people, but they also have the right to be offended, no matter how irrational it is. Playground rules apply. If you talk about someone's mama, be prepared to get chewed out or maybe even get your butt kicked.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Bob Buttons, 20 Nov 2015 @ 11:52am

      Re: It goes both ways

      You could actually see the Church of FSM as the reaction. It was created in protest of people pushing their religion into the public school system saying if you teach 'intelligent design' then you need to teach about FSM as well.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 20 Nov 2015 @ 10:55am

    The conflict and confusion sown by a simple colander is beautiful. Or ridiculous. Either way, Hail Eris!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    andy, 20 Nov 2015 @ 11:22am

    What a load of crock.

    I don't understand when there are rules regarding driving licence and passport photos how a court could find them wrong and allow people to ignore them.

    If anything the judge in this case is so wrong and so ignorant that he should be struck off and not be allowed to rule on any further cases, ever. His IQ is obviously very low and he does not deserve to be in the position he is in but should be working somewhere like MacDonalds if he signs an agreement to abide by all rules.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 20 Nov 2015 @ 11:50am

    The headline of this article grates a bit. There didn't seem to be much of a "battle".

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Robert, 28 Nov 2015 @ 12:51pm

    Pastafarians strain credulity, too.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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