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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Filed Under: australia, flying spaghetti monster, license photo, lindsay miller, pasta strainer, pastafarian

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  1. 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....

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