Pastafarians continue their fight for religious rights, setting precedent for all religions.
There have been a handful of cases in which a Pastafarian has donned their helmet and gone to battle with the government over religious rights. This time a woman from Oklahoma has challenged the government for her right to wear a colander, her religious head covering, in a license picture. There is a precedent for many of these cases, each with varying levels of success. While some have regarded this as nothing more than a publicity stunt, others have said that it provokes important questions about the nature of religious rights.
An Interesting History
The people who have designated themselves as Pastafarians do so from their tongue-in-cheek beliefs in the Flying Spaghetti Monster. They see this as a supreme being that is as likely to exist as the Judeo-Christian God. They invoke a form of Hitchen’s Razor; where if the individuals purporting the existence of a supreme being wish to argue Its existence, it is up to them to prove it. The belief in the Flying Spaghetti Monster is not a serious attempt at a religion, and for this reason it has often been disregarded by the law.
A Small Victory
The woman that has made headlines throughout Oklahoma and the nation, Shawna Hammond, wore her Flying Spaghetti Monster garb to the DMV and had her picture taken without any problems. She cited the fact that she obeyed all of the other rules that pertain to taking a picture and, aside from a few giggles, was able to get the picture to appear on her license. While this was considered a success for the non-religious individuals living around the state, Hammond’s case may be reviewed by the state in light of the rules being “outdated”.
Many Interesting Precedents
There have been many others that have tried to wear colanders to have their pictures taken, with varying degrees of success. Individuals in New Jersey, Illinois, as well as Texas have all tried to have their picture taken with the symbol of the Flying Spaghetti Monster and have been rejected. This has led to a variety of different court cases taking place throughout the nation and in others such as Canada and the United Kingdom. These lengthy battles have resulted in some rejections being overturned, but many others being upheld. While Pastafarians seem to have established a strong legal precedent with such cases as Hammond, but it will be a long time before they gain universal acceptance in the eyes of the law.