You can argue that people who want to wear a colander on their heads for driver’s license pictures are just trolling the government, but followers of the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster do raise some interesting questions: When should the government be allowed to say your religion doesn’t count? What separates a parody religion from a real religion? And if someone says she’s an adherent of a particular religion, why should government officials be allowed to say otherwise?
When Lindsay Miller, a Pastafarian, wanted to wear the colander for her driver’s license picture in Massachusetts, she was rejected at first. It wasn’t until the American Humanist Association’s Appignani Humanist Legal Center and other cooperating attorneys stepped in that the situation was resolved:
As a Pastafarian, Ms. Miller wished to wear a colander on her head in her driver’s license photo, as an expression of her Pastafarian identity. However, she was denied this request by the Massachusetts RMV.
Miller said, “As a member of the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster, I feel delighted that my Pastafarianism has been respected by the Massachusetts RMV. While I don’t think the government can involve itself in matters of religion, I do hope this decision encourages my fellow Pastafarian Atheists to come out and express themselves as I have.”
If you think the government should have denied her request, you owe us an explanation as to what standard they should have used to do that. What makes someone else’s “sincerely held beliefs” in some silly doctrine more valid than this one?