A Pagan from Maine won the ability to wear his horns in his driver’s license picture, after making the argument that it was no different than a Jewish man wearing a yarmulke or a Muslim woman wearing a hijab.
According to website The Wild Hunt:
In early August, [Phelan] MoonSong went to the nearest Bureau of Motor Vehicles (BMV) located in Bangor. He stood in line with other residents, who asked MoonSong about the significance of his horns. When he reached the front of the line, everything was routine. He provided his change of name documentation, birth certificate, and other identifying documents. He was then told to wait before having his photo taken.
“I was eventually called up and the clerk asked me if my horns were implanted and I told her they are not,” says MoonSong. He informed the clerk that he wears them all the time as a religious headpiece as a Priest of Pan.
MoonSong says the clerk then conferred with co-workers. She returned and took his photo with the horns on. But there was a catch.
“She then told me I had to get my photo approved by the Secretary of State,” explains Moonsong. “She also informed me I was to mail him any religious documentation from a central governing body or doctrine of what my religion requires me to wear, copies from any religious books of my order or belief requiring such wear, etc.”
His license was initially rejected, but when he went back to the BMV to say he was considering a lawsuit, they suddenly acquiesced and said the rejection was because they didn’t know he was wearing the horns for religious reasons. (MoonSong said he made that clear from the beginning.) In any case, he got his license.
I won’t pretend to understand why these horns are significant, but if he says they’re part of his religion, it’s not the government’s job to say he’s full of it. That’s why Pastafarians have often tried to get pictures with colanders on their heads. If someone’s else’s “silly” beliefs permit the wearing of headgear, why not theirs? They say they’re sincere believers; the government has no right to push back on it.
My favorite part of this story has to be an exchange that happened in a Maine newspaper. Someone challenged MoonSong’s religion, saying it’s not like he was “helping the poor, patients in nursing homes, the homeless, or reaching out to others in need.” This was all a big joke to him, right? MoonSong responded in the comments:
If he’s that selfless, letting him wear the horns in his license picture seems like the least anyone can do for him.
(Image via Facebook)