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While the world is burning over deeply held religious beliefs, one woman in Massachusetts has succeeded in her quest for official respect for her farcical faith, Pastafarianism. Her driver's license photo will reflect the religion's creed by showing her with a spaghetti strainer, according to the Boston Globe.
It sounds absurd, perhaps, but given the international uproar over religious headdress in official identifications in recent years, the spaghetti strainer was an important symbolic win for Lindsay Miller and Pastafarians. The Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster is a parody but not anti-religion, and she says she did have other women of faith in mind when she first sought a license wearing a spaghetti strainer.
Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster
The first time Miller went to the Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles seeking a license, "They were kind of laughing at me," Miller said. "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.'"
Miller appealed the denial based on religious discrimination with the assistance of an attorney who is a member of the Secular Legal Society, a network of lawyers that assist the American Humanist Association. Patty DeJuneas said that every religion deserves protection under the First Amendment, even if others think a certain sect may be "ridiculous."
"I'm not a Pastafarian. But my understanding, and my view of it, is that it's a secular religion that uses parody to make certain points about a belief system," DeJuneas said.
Laughing at Dogma
The Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster is an international movement. It does not seek to mock religion, but dogma. The church website states, "The Church of FSM is legit, and backed by hard science. Anything that comes across as humor or satire is purely coincidental."
According to the newly minted license holder, "It's a religion that uses parody. We accept all dogma, but we reject all dogma at the same time," Miller said. "That's what is so great about Pastafarianism. It accepts everyone."