Perhaps you’ve never heard of the Pastafarian religion, which worships the deity of the “Flying Spaghetti Monster,” but does the fact that it may sound silly make it any less valid as a form of worship? According to officials in Georgia, it is indeed less acceptable than say, Christianity.
This incident began when Chris Alvino went to get a driver’s license. He was originally allowed to wear a colander on his head for the photo taken to be affixed to his temporary license, but now the state is telling him he needs to have another photo taken–minus the colander.
Angelique McClendon, the top lawyer for the Georgia Department of Driver Services (DDS), told Alvino in a letter that Georgia does indeed allow people to wear a veil, scarf, or headdress in their driver’s license photo. But, she added, “a colander is not a veil, scarf or headdress. A colander is a kitchen utensil commonly used for washing or draining food.”
It is?! Gee, I sure am glad she cleared that up for me.
The state of Georgia says that it “does not deem it appropriate to allow customers to be issued identification cards of licenses that portray satirical or offensive points of view, and Pastafarianism is “not a religion” but a “philosophy that mocks religion.”
Alvino begs to differ, writing in a letter to the state:
“Just because a colander is not traditionally used as a headdress does not mean that it cannot serve that purpose. In fact, it does serve that purpose for the tens of thousands, perhaps even hundreds of thousands, of believers who claim Pastafarianism as their religion.”
Pastafarianism, in case you’re wondering began in 2005, when Bobby Henderson mocked the Kansas Board of Education for allowing the teaching of Intelligent Design in public schools. Since then, Pastafarians around the globe have won the right to wear a colander on their head in their driver’s license photos.
Alvino also informed the state that his religion is very real and they have no legal right to judge its validity:
“Our religion exists. It is legitimate. It’s claims are no less valid than the claims of other recognized religions. I am in no way breaking the law or breaking any rules by wearing my religion’s headdress, a colander, during my driver’s license photo. But DDS is. DDS is infringing on my 1st amendment right to express my religious beliefs freely within the laws of the United States of America, within the laws of the state of Georgia, and within the rules of the DDS.”
Alvino also says he will take the state to court if they interfere with his First Amendment rights.
I agree completely with Chris Alvino. Wear that colander with pride, brother! And to the jerks at Georgia DDS, let the man do as he pleases.
This article was originally published by the same author at LiberalAmerica.org.