Pastafarianism and the Future of Political Protest

 Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster ‘Pastafarian’ makes statement

The Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster came out of a satirical open letter written by Henderson in 2005, protesting the Kansas State Board of Education’s decision to allow teaching Intelligent Design as an alternative to evolution in public schools.

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On the website, Henderson notes not just atheists can be members of the church — it welcomes any kind of believer.

“We are not anti-religion,” Henderson states on his website. “We are anti-crazy nonsense done in the name of religion. There is a big difference. Our ideal is to scrutinize ideas and actions but ignore general labels.

Follow Samantha Sadlier on Twitter, @SamSadlier,
and on Facebook at facebook.com/spectrumsamanthasadlier.

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Yet while Pastafarians sometimes get together for parades and festivals, they started as lone believers separated by great distances and are avowedly individualistic and anti-dogma.

They’ve turned into a diverse group of sects, all with different ideas about what Pastafarianism means, united mainly by common symbols. Some now see Pastafarianism as a lark, like the effort to turn Jedi Knights into a census-accepted faith in the UK, while others still use it as a platform to protest legitimate social issues.

Those who use the noodly faith to protest, though, often do so alone—like Austria’s Nico Alm who fought from 2009 to 2011 to earn the right to wear a pasta strainer on his head in his driver’s license photo. It was supposed to be a protest of the unequal allowance given to religious people (who are allowed to wear confessional headgear in these pictures), but his point eventually backfired when the state let Alm wear whatever he wanted as a citizen, not a religious individual, so long as it didn’t obstruct his face. Not all Pastafarians approved of Alm’s stance. Not every Pastafarian wants to mock organized religion. Like many satirical faiths (and some actual faiths, for that matter), by now it’s become widely fun and engaging—but in diverse and divergent ways unique to almost everyone who comes across it.

Whether someone lives in France or any other liberal democracy, whether Christian, Muslim, Jew etc, what they must accept is that while their right to believe in a religion should be respected, their religion, including its books, its rituals and most importantly its prophets have no right to be respected by others. All religions, new and old, should be subject to the same disrespect that Charlie Hedbo so boldly and bravely paid them. As Salman Rushdie, a man who knows a thing or two about this subject, said religion deserves our ‘fearless disrespect’. Long may such disrespect, whether it be in Charlie Hedbo or elsewhere, continue.

The Flying Spaghetti Monster surveys his creation in Salt Lake City.

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