Culture Darwinism

Wow: Court rules for common sense… updated

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Flying Spaghetti Monster not a religion. (pick self up off floor)

From Newsweek:

Worshippers of the Flying Spaghetti Monster call their faith FSMism or Pastafarianism, a portmanteau of pasta and Rastafarianism. One such worshipper, Stephen Cavanaugh, a prisoner in a Nebraska state penitentiary, sued the state in 2014 over the right to practice his faith.

Cavanaugh argued that his religion requires him to wear special religious clothing in the form of “full pirate regalia,” but that prison officials refused to allow him to do so, despite allowing members of other, recognized religions to purchase and wear special clothing and other items. Cavanaugh also argued that prison officials kept him from meeting and holding religious services with other members of his faith. He also demanded $5 million in damages for “deep emotional, psychological, and spiritual pain.”

But the U.S. District Court of Nebraska found that the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster is not a religion. “It is, rather, a parody, intended to advance an argument about science, the evolution of life, and the place of religion in public education,” District Judge John Gerrard wrote in a 16-page decision. More.

Update: Apparently, the Pastafarian (?) is doing time for assault with a deadly weapon. Don’t tell us; we already know. A religion of peace and all that. Some people support his claim.

Of course, it was never a religion. Started by physics grad student Brian Henderson in 2005, in order to mock intelligent design theorists, it seemingly lost the plot on the international stage.

2013 stories: Flying Spaghetti Monster chronicles: Pastafarianism, born to ridicule ID, now taken seriously as religion in Europe? That tells us much more about the Europe today than about the Pastafarians:

Then some Austrian got the prank classified as a religion. (Most religions had harder births than dealing with a puzzled bureaucrat who doesn’t understand why you sport a spaghetti strainer on your head.)

Now the European Union goes for the whole monster.


A man who wears a sieve on his head for religious reasons has been allowed to wear his bizarre headgear on his official identity card.
Prankster Lukas Novy, from Brno in the Czech Republic, claims that his Pastafarian faith means he has to wear the sieve at all times.

[Bet he lost track of it years ago.]

Officials ruled that turning down Novy’s request would be a breach of the country’s religious equality laws. More.

Action item: Austria needs smarter bureaucrats.

But then (August 25, 2013):

Pastafarians admit to being a religion …

Heck, you must have heard this by now: The spaghetti-heads who got started to ridicule the idea of design in the universe *in the Western world* —where that is cool and elite—tried it somewhere else, with predictable results: Police disruption of their activities, and arrest.

In their defense, they claim to be a religion, according to NBC News:

Pastafarians are part of an international ‘religious’ movement founded in the U.S. in 2005 in opposition to the teaching of intelligent design and creationism in public schools. It has become an international movement, generally recognized as satirical poke at organized religion. But its adherents insist that it’s a ‘real religion’ and the dogma they follow is the rejection of dogma. They claim to have 15,000 adherents in Russia.

As it happens, that won’t help at all. The 15,000 followers will be sought out (if they exist, under real names).

What this shows: These days, to get an absolutely crackpot idea going, it is safer to claim to be a science than a religion, and to have a grant from a U.S. science foundation. And to have Nobelists and Templeton Prize winners and National Academy of Science members and space aliens backing you.

Pastafarianism was so obviously a regional cultural parody, and yet… Maybe it’s instructive that it was a North American judge who figured that one out.

Classic Newsweek: “The FSM has since become a worldwide phenomenon and signal of protest against the erosion of the separation of church and state.” If only it made that much sense. The harsh reality is that the places where separation is routinely violated are far too dangerous to protest in.

Canada Free Press (hat tip!) observes, somewhat dismissively, “Tough luck, pastafarians. You’ll just have to go back to being annoying, dressing like pirates, and pretending to worship a wad of noodles without any of the protections of a real religion.” Huh? What protections were those?

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3 Replies to “Wow: Court rules for common sense… updated

  1. 1
    Indiana Effigy says:

    Update: Apparently, the Pastafarian (?) is doing time for assault with a deadly weapon. Don’t tell us; we already know. A religion of peace and all that.”

    jails are also full of christians and muslims. What does that say about those religions?

    Whether or not something is a religion is a difficult call. Scientology is a completely fabricated religion, but it has religion classification before the law. I think that it is dangerous to allow the courts to decide whether or not something is a religion.

  2. 2
    News says:

    Indiana Effigy at 1: Pastafarianism was never a religion even in Scientology’s sense. Some people just took the joke too far.

  3. 3
    Indiana Effigy says:

    News: “Indiana Effigy at 1: Pastafarianism was never a religion even in Scientology’s sense. Some people just took the joke too far.”

    And how is this really different than Scientology. Or Rastafarianism for that matter. Neither L. Aaron Hubbard or Halai Salasai (sp?) claimed to be anything other than what they were, but they became unwitting focal points for new religions.

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