Sean Corbett, an avowed Pastafarian from Arizona, just became the first man in the state to have a colander on his head in his driver license photo. Praise the Flying Spaghetti Monster!
Corbett, who reportedly tried several Motor Vehicle Services (MVD) locations before succeeding in getting his ID printed, told me he discovered the religion three years ago and wanted to represent Pastafarians. What made him press the issue, he said, was his experience at the MVD.
It was horrendous. So I tried several times over the years. Eventually I was able to convince a woman there to let me take the picture. She probably thought it wouldn’t pass inspection. But it did somehow. It’s a step in the right direction. They need to honor the license.
Corbett, who went on the record to officially state he is a true believer in the Pastafarian religion, also explained the bad news: The Arizona Department of Transportation is trying to invalidate the faith-based photo.
Doug Nick, a spokesman for the department, released this statement:
MVD license and ID photos are meant to show a person’s typical daily appearance and allow for religious expression or medical needs. Photos are filtered through facial recognition technology and if an error occurs, the photo can be recalled… we will go through the process to pull this credential.
Despite the threats of invalidation, Corbett points to the fact that Title III of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits discrimination based on religion in public facilities owned or operated by a state or local government. He’s currently waiting to talk to an investigator to plea the validity of the license.
Corbett added that he is a lighthearted and happy person who wanted to have fun with his faith.
In today’s day and age where it seems like religion has been used as a weapon against other people, I wanted to find something that was peaceful, fun, and lighthearted such as myself, and I have the right to express my religious beliefs, no matter how silly or ridiculous it may sound to those who are not familiar, which to be fair sounds no more ridiculous than I’m sure Christianity first sounded in its infancy.
***Update***: In response to the MVD’s statement, Corbett told us this:
I Sean Corbett declare that I am a true and dedicated believer of the Flying Spaghetti Monster. Do not misinterpret my light hearted and jolly personality that I do not take this issue seriously because the opposite is true. It is important to understand that religion is a protected class under the civil rights act, and that no one has the right or authority to pick and choose which religions are approved or not approved. While this religion was originally created as satire to prove a similar point in 2005, it has become a global phenomenon reaching millions of people.
After communicating with the OIG regarding my license, it is currently not revoked or suspended. They have a stop on the license which prevents me from making duplicates, but the license is still valid at this moment. They are requesting that I return to the MVD to surrender the license and be photographed without the headwear. I confirmed that my photo does not interfere with facial recognition software. This indicates that there is no error, they simply are discriminating against my religion. I have reached out to the AZDOT Civil Rights department and have spoken with a representative who is familiar with my story and is working with me to see what steps are necessary to fight this issue.