Bobby Henderson's Blog
February 1, 2016
Great news, The Netherlands has recognized Pastafarianism as an official religion. There are efforts for recognition in a bunch of places — I find it interesting (and telling) the reactions from the various governments. Clearly The Netherlands is a great place.
The Metro has a nice article about the successful Netherlands effort here.
Nice work guys.
January 4, 2016
Christopher Avino wearing a colander in his temporary license photo
More news about Pastafarians wearing colanders in their drivers license photos, this time in Georgia.
The Dept. of Driver Services refused to issue a permanent license to Christopher Avino (after issuing a temporary with colander headwear) and asked him to come back and re-take the photo. More surprising is that their legal department wrote a letter laying out their reasoning, which includes this line, “Pastafarian is not actually a religion. Rather it is a philosophy that mocks religion”.
Here’s the whole letter:
Obviously most of us disagree with their view that Pastafarianism exists only to mock religion (I could not disagree more), but I find it particularly surprising to read such a statement in a letter written by the DDS General Counsel. I did not realize the legal departments of small government offices were empowered to declare what is and what is not a legitimate religion.
And it shouldn’t matter, but I wonder: would this General Counsel happen to be Christian, and did that have anything to do with the DDS decision to deny the permanent license?
Christopher wrote a smart and entertaining letter in response to the DDS. The whole thing can be read here, but in case you do not read it, let me paste here my favorite part:
“You mayfind our beliefs to be strange, but as strange as you may feel they are, they are still our beliefs. Some may find it strange that Christians believe that Jonah spent “3 days in a whale’s belly” according to some texts. Some may find it strange that Muslims believe that Muhammad was carried to the seven heavens on the back of a winged horse. Some may find it strange that Scientologists believe that Xenu, the dictator of the Galactic Confederacy brought billions of people to earth in a DC-8-like spacecraft, stacked them around volcanoes, and killed them with hydrogen bombs. Maybe you, the reader of this letter, do not personally believe that Muhammad flew to heaven on a winged horse, but do you question the validity of Islam as a religion? “
As frustrating as I find these bureaucratic hurdles, I think overall they end up helping the Cause, because they bring so much attention to the issues. There are already volunteers willing to help take up the legal fight, and I’ve read many messages of support, many from people who are not Pastafarians but who support us.
Huge thanks to Christopher for spending the time and energy to get into these issues.
RawStory has a good overview of all that’s happened here.
December 26, 2015
Excellent — the Lansing State Journal made an article about the Flying Spaghetti Monster Holiday display at the Michigan capitol grounds.
The tongue-in-cheek church — its pamphlet advertises “flimsy moral standards” and a “WAY better” heaven that includes a stripper factory and beer volcano — brought its monument to its creator to the statehouse on Friday. The monument shows a sort of blob of spaghetti with eyeballs on top and giant meatball orbs on either side.
You can read more of the Journal article here. There’s a video and some more photos as well.
The backstory is that Michigan lawmakers decided to open up the capitol lawn to everyone (as not to appear to promote Christian displays), and a number of religious groups (including us) jumped on the opportunity for outreach.
Huge thanks to Chris Beckstrom and the local Pastafarians for organizing the display and their evangelism efforts (not to mention Chris’s impressive accordion playing). No doubt passers-by were enchanted, maybe already considering converting to Pastafarianism.
December 25, 2015
December 15, 2015
Good news — New Zealand has approved the Church of FSM to perform marriage ceremonies.
The application was approved under a sub-section of the Marriages Act, satisfying the registrar-general that the principal object of the organisation was to uphold or promote religious beliefs, philosophical or humanitarian convictions.
Montgomery said the purposes set out by the church were educating and training people, particularly atheists and superstitious people, about Flying Spaghetti principles and practices.
Those principles covered human rights, cultural and spiritual diversity, ethics, relieving poverty and advancing education.
“In considering the matter I have referred to the Objects of the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster, reviewed material available online about this organisation and considered other organisations already able to nominate marriage celebrants.
“A review of media and the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster’s international website show a consistent presentation of their philosophies. While some claim this is a ‘parody organisation’, members have rebutted this on a number of occasions.”
You can read more about it here at stuff.co.nz.
I lived in New Zealand for a year in college and it does not surprise me that the NZ government has publicly acknowledged our legitimacy, both because they are a progressive open-minded people, and also because of the amount of drinking that goes on over there.
Unrelated, they have birds that eat cars:
December 14, 2015
This has become my favorite Holiday tradition: a government institution hosts a Christian-themed display, then non-Christian groups demand a display as well, then the Christians who thought a government building was an appropriate place for a religious display get worked up by the “war on Christmas”.
The one in the news this year is a DMV in Florida with a baby Jesus display. Here’s an article in RawStory talking about it.
And a great quote by a Christian activist:
“My hope is that the Christ in Christmas is louder than a wood display and some figurines,” Pam Olsen, president of the Florida Prayer Network, explained to the Miami Herald.
“I have been pondering this for a while,” Olsen said. “The racial tensions and mass murders, the shootings at the Planned Parenthood and in California – something is very wrong in our country. We need to step back and say we need to stop. Let the sound of the Christ Child bring hope, joy and peace instead of dissension.”
I will admit that I have a small (very small) amount of sympathy for the Christians who get upset that they can’t just put a baby Jesus in the DMV and keep the “wrong” groups out. I recognize that they are more comfortable in a world where everyone shares their religious views (or keeps quiet about their own). I think this is less about promoting Christianity and more like a nostalgic yearning for simpler times. And I’ve always liked Christmas displays – even if they’re a little Jesusy – I’ve never found them too bothersome.
That said, once these Christian vs non-Christian display stories hit the news, I think it does become a highly charged issue, and the Christian warriors come out speaking loudly about the war on Christmas. This I find ridiculous, and I am very thankful that we have so many Pastafarians who stand up for our rights. I can not wait to see the FSM Holiday display this year.
 A note on Holiday: years ago we noticed there was a shift in the way people expressed winter greetings — fewer “Merry Christmas’s” and more “happy holidays”. We concluded that these people were most likely Pastafarians (albeit many of them in secret) wishing people a happy Holiday – referring to our winter celebration also known as ChriFSMas.
December 9, 2015
Good news — I’ve brought back the Holiday e-card machine this year. Some may remember this — it’s a page where you can send Holiday messages to your friends and family (it’s free). The cards are delivered by email.
There’s a couple designs and I’ll add some more if people want.
One small request: please use this card machine in good spirits, not as a way to antagonize people.
Please check it out and let me know what you think. Here’s the link: Holiday Card Machine.
November 16, 2015
There’s an interesting article about us at Psychology Today.
Some of this may have been due to timing — first there was the news about Lindsay Miller’s successful efforts in wearing a Colander in her Massachusetts license photo, and then shortly after, the terrible news of the Paris terrorist attacks.
Mr. Noise in his article is looking at our light-hearted activities and thinking about what, if any, relevance our antics have in more serious matters, in particular the secular world’s struggle against religious extremism.
Which brings us back to Miller and her colander. Talking to a television reporter with her spaghetti strainer proudly placed upon her head, she may not come across to casual observers as reason personified. But first impressions can be deceiving. Pastafarianism is indeed a weapon in the arsenal of reason, a rebuke of religions that rationalize violence, treat women as property, and promise eternal rewards to those who take innocent lives. The FSM apparently disapproves of such things.
Of course, fundamentalist religion would disapprove of Miller and Pastafarianism as well, and the most extreme of fundamentalists would treat Pastafarians pretty much as they treated the staff of Charlie Hedbo in January and other residents of Paris on Friday night.
[The full article can be found here. It's a good read.]
Interesting analysis, but I’m not sure that any Pastafarian activities have such clear (and noble) motivations, and it is alarming to think what extreme fundamentalists may like to do to us for any perceived mockery.
I feel it is a basic human right to poke at any institution/ideology, and any institution/ideology that holds itself above criticism is one at odds with the modern world.
That said, I think Pastafarianism is at its best when it’s good-humored, and at its worst when it becomes hateful. (This will not be a venue for inflammatory anti-Islam sentiment).
I’m not sure anyone has a great idea of what is the solution to violent extremism. It may need more than “weapons of Reason” to defeat it.
What do you think?
The Boston Globe has a nice story about a Pastafarian lady’s successful efforts in wearing a colander in her driver’s license photo, helped by the American Humanist Association.
In August, the Lowell resident was denied a renewed license by the Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles, she said, for wearing the metal cookware.
“They were kind of laughing at me,” Miller said. “I thought of other religions and women and thought that this was not fair. I thought, ‘Just because you haven’t heard of this belief system, [the RMV] should not be denying me a license.’ ”
According to the RMV’s website, drivers are barred from wearing hats or head covers in their photos, unless the clothing items are “for medical or religious reasons.”
Miller filed for an appeal immediately after the August incident. Through a friend, she enlisted the help of Patty DeJuneas, a member of the Secular Legal Society, a network of lawyers that assist the American Humanist Association.
You can read more about it at the Boston Globe here.
I feel like our efforts to wear Religious Headwear in Offical Identification may be misunderstood occasionally (this Boston Globe article caused more than few upset emails). I wish that it was more clear that the Church of FSM is not a mean-spirited group and that we’re not out to mock anyone’s particular religion or their religious hats. It is just that it’s weird to find these places where bureaucratic regulation and religion are entangled — and I hope that we’re doing more good than bad when we fight for equal right to use these rules. I realize that we may inadvertently offend a few religious people (and maybe annoy a few bureaucrats) and for that I’m sorry.
We can all look forward to the day when Pastafarians feel it’s socially acceptable to wear religious headwear in our daily lives.
November 11, 2015
Been a while since I posted one of these, but this one irked me.
Please do not delude yourself that people of real faith are not interested themselves in where you and the other FSM assholes live, and where your loved ones attend school, or work etcetera….
I am not making any threats of any kind, as I am a non-violent Christian.
However, all of the people with my beliefs are not so willing to tolerate your silliness.
My advice is to shut down this pathetic folly, before people far less tolerant of your mockery of their spirituality take an active interest in your membership on a very personal level…
Not sure if that’s a threat or general douchery. It’s weird that people can send such vile messages and assume (hope?) that we won’t publish their identities. I don’t have much interest in publicly shaming, but it’s tempting. You get a C for effort, Kevin. Next time leave an anonymous note or something on my car.
But I think we should give this guy the benefit of the doubt and assume he’s having a rough day, not not-so-subtly threatening us. I think Kevin needs the FSM in his life.