A DISCUSSION OF LAW AND JOURNALISM

Tag: Pastafarian

Spaghetti Strainer as Cowboy Hat?

By LASIS Staff

In April, LASIS reported the story of an Ohioan who refused to take a pasta strainer off his head when taking his DMV photo. He was a Pastafarian, and doing so, he said, would have been violated his First Amendment rights as a Pastafarian. No dice.  The headgear had to be removed.

So it surprised us to learn that a DMV permitted a Pastafarian to leave a spaghetti strainer on as headwear for his official photo in  — of all places — Texas, a state not known as a bastion of tolerance.

Then again, nothing that happens in the Lonestar State should surprise us.

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Bless the Flying Spaghetti Monster. (R)amen.

By José I. Ortiz

Even those of us who consider ourselves religious must admit that some of our beliefs are probably a little far-fetched. Consider how some of these beliefs might sound to someone who had never heard of your religion before. A burning bush that speaks. A parting of the Red Sea. A virgin impregnated by God, whose child would walk on water, and later die — only to resurrect three days later.

Now, before I start getting hate mail, I would like to clarify that I believe the accounts as they are described above. But, we’re accustomed to them, so they might not strike us as bizarre as say, believing that a spaghetti-related item is a holy relic.

According to an article on NJ.com, Aaron Williams – who considers himself a Pastafarian – refused to take a pasta strainer off of his head in order to take his license photo in a Dayton Motor Vehicle Commission office. His reason? As a “Pastafarian”, the pasta strainer is a religious head covering.

Surprise, surprise! MVC staff told Mr. Williams that pasta strainers are not preapproved religious head coverings under state law. After the police were called, Mr. Williams reluctantly took the pasta strainer off of his head and eventually had his picture taken without it. He says, however, that he takes Pastafarianism “as seriously as anybody else when it comes to religious beliefs.”

Shouldn’t Mr. Williams’ right to practice his religion (no matter how obscure) be protected? Does the government recognize only certain mainstream religions? LASIS did some legal soul-searching.

(more…)

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