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Straining credulity: Woman gets OK to wear colander on head for license photo

Temporary license for a Pastafarian
Pastafarian

The RMV agreed to let a member of the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster wear a colander on her head to get her driver's license - after she had her lawyer at the American Humanist Association explain the First Amendment to them.

Pastafarians, of course, believe "the existence of a Flying Spaghetti Monster to be just as probable as the existence of the Christian God" and part of that credo is paying homage through collanders worn on the head.

Lindsay Miller hopes her victory will bring out other Pastafarians to apply for licenses with strainers on their heads.

[Attorney Patty] DeJuneas said,The First Amendment applies to every person and every religion, so I was dismayed to hear that Lindsay had been ridiculed for simply seeking the same freedoms and protections afforded to people who belong to more traditional or theistic religions. We appreciate that the RMV recognized the error, apologized, and issued a license respecting her First Amendment rights, and hope that RMV staff will be trained to respect diversity."

"If people are given the right to wear religious garments in government ID photos, then this must extend to people who follow the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster," said David Niose, legal director of the Appignani Humanist Legal Center.

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Comments

This is awesome!

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My collander is empire red.

Can't wait for the first time she's pulled over and the RMV releases an official photo...

I will bring antlers to my next driver's photo...

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As any religious argument that I've ever seen.

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I see she went with the gaudy polished chrome finish, instead of the much-preferred restrained brushed nickel. A bit too showy for my taste.

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Everybody knows that the brushed nickel crowd is going straight to hell. Shun them.

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Another link showed that she was an organ donor. Way to go! Wear whatever the hell you want, you earned it.

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wearing the collander on the head is just a bit much for me.

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I have no problem with it, as the government has no obligation to prevent people from making fools of themselves.

The amazing irony, of course, will be that the besmirchers-in-chief will be those who consider themselves "defenders of individual liberty" (including religious liberty).

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          IMAGE(http://media.thedenverchannel.com/photo/2014/09/09/ShawnaHammondLicense_1410316338067_7914545_ver1.0_640_480.jpg)
          IMAGE(https://allaboutimages.files.wordpress.com/2014/12/dl_colander.jpg)
          IMAGE(http://i.imgur.com/RFc7qks.jpg)
          IMAGE(http://cdn.thinkprogress.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/11/pastafarian_utah-800x430.jpg)

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at least we're in good company with California. The rest, eh, ur, not so much.

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I noticed perhaps all but the first have gone for the metal calendar, their version of the tin foil hat.

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They're probably using paper calendars like the rest of us. Or maybe even Google Calendar.

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Look at the photo, then at the 1977 birthdate. Nope.

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However, here's another article about a man who fought for his right to wear a colander in Texas:
            IMAGE(http://kcbd.images.worldnow.com/images/23248235_BG3.jpg)
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It's actually a world-wide trend — In New Zealand, this adorable gentleman is sporting a fashionable blue colander:
      IMAGE(http://i.imgur.com/1BtukQU.jpg)

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"[Spaghetti Monster organization] says it is not making an antireligious statement by advancing a set of outlandish beliefs. Instead, it says it is highlighting the need to make a distinction between the beliefs espoused by various religions and the value that people get from them."

Yah right. And blackface is just a way of celebrating the differences between the races.

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First of all, it's the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster, or Pastafarianism. You wouldn't refer to the Catholic Church as "Jesus organization," would you?

Secondly, your blackface line is an idiotic comparison. Religion is a voluntary adherance to a personally-chosen mythology, not quite the same as race.

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Even if you equate religion with culture of origin, there is still a hole in the "blackface" argument: no other religion or culture demands that one wear a colander on the head.

It isn't like this person is in "catholicface" by wearing a nun's habit or something.

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its still a good picture of you Swirl.

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This headline gets two snaps up; in a circle!

[look that up, youngins]

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otherwise its not really safe to wear driving.

The public benefit is that police and others who ask to see her ID will get a better idea of whom they are dealing with.

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I vote Markk02474 for the best comment. Your last sentence sums it all up.

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Lindsay Miller lives in Lowell. Adam, given all that occurs in the Mill City that could be covered by UHub, why this?

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A collander on the head? Official photo? Epic.

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This opens the door to Bostonians to wear strainers on their heads as well. I sometimes cover court decisions that don't come from Boston cases for the same reason (well, that they set a precedent of some sort, not that they involve people wearing kitchen implements over their ears - although I admit I am also partial to any appellate rulings that hinge on colonial ordinances or other colonial documents, even if they really don't affect Boston, although sometimes they do).

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Does she live in the Spaghettiville section of Lowell, area where the former Prince Spaghetti factory was located?

http://www.waymarking.com/waymarks/WM6TFF_Spaghettiville_Lowell_MA

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The RMV, in recent years, has decided that eye glasses obstruct the face too much. People who normally wear glasses have to remove them for their photos (unless, presumably, their religious sect requires them). Many of the license photos I've seen of people who normally wear glasses have a similar glazed look, as they can't see what's in front of them very well. If you look at the other picture, you'll see she wears glasses in that one, and I suspect that was the cause.

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reason to not require that glasses be worn when the license picture is taken. Ever head of contact lenses.

And yes, people I know who wear contacts do not wear them all the time, and often wear glasses instead.

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Many people have different pairs of glasses and many get several new prescriptions and get different frames over the 5 years that a license is valid.

It is a simple matter to ask people to take their glasses off to see how they match the picture.

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Especially when you only need to get a new photo only every other time you renew your license.

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RMV is now cataloging faces which is paying dividends in catching illegal immigrant criminals who re-enter the country/state and use a different identity to gain a new Mass driver's license.

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Because there are holes in their legal arguments? Does seem kind of strained.

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I have no problem with Pastafarians wearing colanders on their heads in their driver's license photos, as long as they're part of their daily religious dress. If it's important enough to wear to the RMV, it's important enough to wear every day.

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Otherwise, it's really upsetting your day to day? So glad you don't "have a problem with it". hahaha

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If wearing a colander - actually wearing it regularly - not even every day, but regularly - is a sincerely held belief of yours, then go ahead and wear it to your RMV photo. If wearing a colander is just for the photo, and that you never do again, then let's call this what it is - an abuse of a law designed to protect people with actual beliefs.

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Uh, and you are the one who determines these?

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Look at this dork's smug grin. You really think they were previously disenfranchised, and that this is anything but blatant attention seeking? It's not my call or my fight, but let's not pretend this is something it isn't.

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If I were to wear a crucifix in my license photo, would you insist I wear it every day?

This is a useful litmus test for religious-freedom hypocrites everywhere. Your strip just changed color.

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Pastafarians, of course, believe "the existence of a Flying Spaghetti Monster to be just as probable as the existence of the Christian God"

Meaning no disrespect here, but do they actually have a Bible? Is their belief of the existence of a Flying Spaghetti Monster supported by an actual interpertation of centuries of documented historical events?

And, as others have stated, do the true believers actually wear the colanders at all times when they are in public?

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Pick any longer-lived practice of worshiping some purported mystical deity: for instance, ask yourself if you expect Christians to wear crucifixes every day of their lives to profess their faith.

The Church of the FSM is, I believe, designed to point out the absurdity of teaching religious beliefs as science in our public schools, specifically, the Creationism espoused by Fundamentalist Christians as equally valid science alongside current evolution science.

If you think teaching Creationism as science is a good idea, I expect I can't help you understand why combating superstitious ignorance, including by the use of pointed satire, ought to remain a critical goal of public education.

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as science in public schools? For the record, I do not support this practice, and I am have been a practicing Catholic my entire life.

Further, I have never believed that there is one "correct" religion, and have always tried to respect other people's views and beliefs . However, I do have a problem with a purported "religious" organization that, as you yourself state, apparently has the sole intention of mocking other organized religions and their practices.

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Rather, they're attacking the patently irrational notion that religious beliefs should be taught in our public schools as science. See the difference? It's kind of important, and I don't think it's that hard to understand.

If you want to give equal time to science and one religion's non-science in our children's science classrooms, in a country with a constitution that explicitly forbids the establishment of a state-sponsored religion (the very notion that led the Pilgrims to flee Europe for these shores in the first place), you need to make room for every religion's non-science -- including devotees of Yahweh and haters of Xenu and ironic kowtowers to His Noodlieness --- and that is clearly both absurd and dangerous.

Work on your grasp of the smart satire at work here, and get your basic American civics straight.

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that explicitly forbids the establishment of a state-sponsored religion (the very notion that led the Pilgrims to flee Europe for these shores in the first place)

While I'm generally in agreement with your points, as the descendent of a guy who was excommunicated for suggesting the state shouldn't get involved in religion as well as some Quakers who were hounded out of Boston, I'm pretty sure that's not it.

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The Pilgrims weren't objecting to establishment of A state religion, they objected to establishment of one that was different from theirs.

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church-state separation in the Constitution. That's the bottom line for the CFSM, reflected in the reason they were founded in the first place: keeping Creationism from being taught as science.

I'm curious: do you think that religious myths deserve equal time in our public-school science classes? If not, you may object to the Pastafarians' satirical tactics, but you're on the side of their goals.

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Neither perruptor nor I had anything to say about the Pastafarians' tactics. I was just struck that in your posts supporting a movement(?) created to oppose creationism in public schools (and which I have also opposed, though by the more rather direct route of working with teachers/science educators/etc. to challenge legislation and school board decisions) you brought out the thoroughly ahistorical "Pilgrims came seeming religious liberty" idea, likely due to that being a simplistic viewpoint taught in schools that ignores the radicalness of the idea of a separation between church and state and the difficulties that had to be surmounted before it was eventually written into the Constitution. That's all.

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Mormon scripture is barely 200 years old. Doesn't quite qualify for centuries old. Yet they are accorded legitimacy. Pastafarians can of course claim an ancient lineage dating back to the cultivation of grain for flour. Their scripture is found in the literal "writings" of the bread of life instead of metaphor. Some scripture is based on sacred text. Other scripture is based on sacred spaghettti, and it's various other emanations such as linguini, spaghettini, lasagna, etc.

I believe that there is much good in religion. When the practise of religion binds people together to do good, supports a feeling of meaning in life and directs its adherents to bettering the world for ALL people then a given religion is supporting good and deserves respect.

But there are practioners of religions who support a narcissitic kind of religious belief that is narrow minded and arrogant in believing they know all that needs to be know. These religious people are dangerous because they create a cacoon for themselves excluding whoever does not follow their rules (and they assume their rules are the only rules for everyone). That extremism happens to often.

So humor that points out the holes of religius belief helps keep in mind that all religions are belief systems made up by human beings out of human experience.

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Disgusting that millennial atheists are now attacking Mulsims, Sikhs and other religions that have headdress in this ridiculously offensive way for attention under the guise of satire.

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A shameful attack on the funny hats of one kind or another that most religions take seriously. But take a shot at their Jeremiah Johnson beards or skinny jeans, and they get all sniffy, amirite?

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Sure, if members of this "religion" really did do this every time they were out in public, I'd have to problem with this, but it is mocking Sikhs and Muslims, nothing more.

It burns me that the freedom of religion, a great concept, is being used to basically pervert what it was designed for.

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What would really be great is if they instead focused on the absurdity of a science class in a public school that taught, "Look, there's one view that says the Earth was created by a mystical deity in the last 10,000 years, and there's another that's different, based on empirical evidence. You kids are free to make the call. Who is really to know? That's what science is about! It's what you *believe* that's important! 1+1? Could be 2. Or maybe that's just what *Satan* wants you to think. Class dismissed!"

But you have to admit: them religious hats are comical. I think they're onto something.

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They are a sincere expression of religious belief.

A Muslim woman wears a covering on her head when she is in public because Islam teaches the importance of modesty.

Sikh men wear dastars as a part of their Sikh identity. This goes back to the founding of the religion. Sikh men have been harassed as boneheaded racists have thought they were Muslims, yet Sikhs still keep on wearing them.

Some sects of Judaism also hold that wearing a kippah is a show of piety.

I'm neither a Muslim, a Jew, or a Sikh, but I am offended when people refer to their sincere belief as "comical."

By the way, none of this has anything to do with the teaching of the origins of the universe or life on this planet, but I would assume the pastifarians would be the first ones to support someone who insists the lesson plan you set forth be followed.

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over whose heads my post clearly whooshed:

"Yep, FSMs are really all about busting on religious headgear."

The FSMs are not really all about busting on religious headgear.

"What would really be great is if they instead focused on the absurdity of a science class in a public school that taught, 'Look, there's one view that says the Earth was created by a mystical deity in the last 10,000 years, and there's another that's different, based on empirical evidence.'"

The FSMs actually focus on the absurdity of teaching religious beliefs in public-school science classes.

"But you have to admit: them religious hats are comical. I think they're onto something."

Religious hats are not comical, but gotdatwmd's post suggesting that Millennial mockery of religious headgear is the actual basis of the FSMs is a hilarious (I assume deliberately ironic) misreading of their intentions.

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It probably has something to do with my lack of head covering.

Look, they can parse things whichever way they want, but this is totally mocking the idea that people put things on their head for religious reasons, and forcing them to remove the headgear would be forcing them to act against those beliefs.

I've seen a lot in Boston, but I've never seen a person wearing a sieve. If they do it at religious services or whatnot, cool, but joining with humanists on this effort kind of shows their true colors.

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but allow me to reiterate: the FSM's basic conceit is, "Look, if you want to teach your religious myths as scientific fact in a country that forbids a state religion by its Constitution, you have to teach my religious myths, too. And your religious beliefs have a much place in a science classroom as our assertion that the world was created by an omnipotent invisible pile of spaghetti, the worship of which we profess by wearing colanders on our heads."

By focusing on this notion that they are trying to insult people who unironically wear religious headgear, you appear to be deliberately missing their point. It's not, "Ha-ha, your hat is funny!", it's that "You can be as solemn about your religious beliefs as you like, but you still need to GTFO out of our children's science classrooms. Your myths are not made any more scientifically valid just because you express your piety with specific headgear."

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The beliefs of the Church of the FSM vis a vis what is taught in the public schools is irrelevant. This article is about someone wearing a sieve on their head for a drivers' license photo claiming that it is for religious reasons. My claim is that no member of this "religion" does this on a regular basis, that basically this is an insult to Jews, Muslims, and Sikhs.

My question is this- if, at the end of the Church of the FSM's push to be able to wear kitchen utensils for drivers' license photos the government went the way of France and deem that since they cannot figure out what is an actual religious observance and what is not everyone has to take the photos with nothing on their heads, would that have been a victory?

I have no problem with these people's views on the teaching of evolution or whatever in the public schools. My problem is with this specifically.

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creation myth, concept of an afterlife, sacred scriptures, religious holidays, marriage rites, symbols you can put on your car -- all for satirical purposes to highlight how no religion has any business in public-school science instruction.

But having their own religious headgear -- which you personally have decided to interpret as an insult to three specific religious groups, even though many Christian and other denominations also have their own traditions around religious headdress -- is beyond the pale?

You can perhaps see my confusion with your viewpoint. If your point is that nobody should satirize any religion, period, your argument might have some self-consistency, but I doubt that's what you're getting at.

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Because it has nothing to do with schools. And for that matter since when has any religion had any say over any science curriculum in any public school system in Massachusetts. But again, this has nothing to do with education.

I can accept that these people are adopting their own articles of faith, and if they are doing this theoretically to make a point about public education, they look even worse.

I sometimes mock my own religion. Heck, a lot of Catholicism is built for that, but yeah, I have a big problem with people expending a lot of effort, including taxpayer dollars, to mock other people's religious beliefs. A while back,at this website, I was taken to task for telling a story about how I thought Unitarianism was strange (the seeming lack of a unifying belief system) then changed my mind when a Unitarian pointed where I was wrong (they do have a unifying belief system after all, but within that a bunch of different beliefs was allowed, which is kind of cool.) The point missed was that I was wrong for even doing that in my mind. I chill with Jehovah's Witnesses, ponder how Muslims view things different than I do, and of course enjoy seeing how Talmudic scholars debate issues. At the end of the day, people believe what they believe. If someone develops a serious belief that a flying spaghetti monster created the universe, all power to them, even though I think something else caused things to be. But if they are doing it to mock people, shame on them.

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I get what you're saying about their views on what to teach at schools, but I don't understand how wearing ridiculous headgear for a driver's license photo promotes those views. An RMV office isn't a school, and the folks who promote teaching creationism in schools don't tend to wear any kind of religious headgear (or any other specifically religious clothing).

So wearing a colander on ones head for a driver's license photo to protest teaching creationism in schools seems like a total non-sequitur to me.

On the other hand, if one wanted to protest the idea that, while non-religious people are forbidden from wearing anything on their heads for driver's licenses, Muslims, Sikhs and Jews are allowed to wear their religious headgear, this would seem like a good way of expressing that opinion.

So I can understand why Waquiot is assuming that they're making fun of Muslims, Sikhs and Jews.

Can you please explain how wearing a colander for a drivers license photo conveys this message about what to teach in school?

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... outside of having "official photos" taken is part of CFSM practice, while wearing pirate paraphernalia (including hats) supposedly is -- why don't they at least demand the right to wear pirate hats for photos of this sort?

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with this particular point of the CFSM's extended parody of religion. It's all of a piece: "We insist on acceptance of all the religious-freedom rights ascribed to any religion. That extends to wearing headgear that non-adherents might find odd. If you truly believe that such rights are deserved by other denominations, why would you deny it to us?" It still boils down to the same point: "If you want to teach your religious myths as science in public schools to our children, we demand equal time, and the fact any such teaching in science classes is ridiculous is exactly our point."

Trying to conflate that very self-consistent bit of satire with simple mocking of more-established denominations' religious practices, as opposed to their self-stated objective of keeping religious myths out of our science classrooms, can only sensibly explained in two ways: either you object to any satire of anyone's religion, or you are going out of your way to miss the point they are so obviously trying to make.

It strikes me as particularly perverse that some people want to cast it as an attack on specific religious sects with overt adherence to religious headgear. Many religions hold to this practice in some form or another: it's logically inconsistent to try to twist it into an attack only on Sikhs, Jews, and Muslims. To me, that smells like a cynical red herring: the real issue is that Fundamentalist Christians are trying to subvert the teaching of genuine science in public education -- their efforts in Kansas to that effect were precisely what gave birth to the CFSM -- and one way to distract attention from that obvious point is to introduce imagined offenses to other religions.

If you want to argue that this particular bit of satire is in poor taste because in your mind it singles out the most obvious adherents to religious headgear, you are welcome to that opinion. But I think you are playing into the hands of people who think their best defense of their promotion of a state-sponsored religion is to accuse defenders of church-state separation like the CFSM of being insensitive to religions that Fundamentalist Christians privately would love to see marginalized. That's not just a disingenuous line of attack, to my mind: it's un-American.

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Pastafarians mock religious belief. Pardon the cliche: they mock the holy cow. Even among liberals and progressives I think that in the effort to be respectful to all we have lost the skill of satire and mockery. Any satire or mockery is assumed to be intentionally hurtful and a put down. Hence the inability to recognize that this is about more than church-state religions, or the appearance of a way off assumption that Pastafarians are attacking particular relgious head gear. It's interesting that the diversion of focusing on mocking religious headgear did not mention the miters of Catholic and Episcopal bishops or the headwear of Orthodox priests. The point of Pastafarians is that religions are not holy cows to be treated as something untouchable and above and beyond criticism. Any institution needs humorous barbs to help it not become overly inflated with the closed certainty of absolutism.. It is not the person of the practitioners which is satired, it is the absurdity of absolute arrogant certainty that exludes and causes as much hard to the outsider as it might provide good to the adherent.

Is it possible to satirize and respect? The stories of Genesis are to me of great essential beauty. I don't read them as literal but as metaphor that shines a light on the weaknesses of human beings. But they also give sense to understanding of what good and evil in a world. They are part of my religious mythology. Even transubstantiation - which I do not literally believe - still possesses to me a sense of deep truth which is that I can take into my imperfect mind something of the transcendance of the Divine.

Yet I laugh deeply during all of the Life of Brian. And when they sing, "Look on the bright side of life," I am reminded of the struggle it is to maintain a good attitude when life craps on a person. So even satire can convey sublime truths.

I believe that Pastafarians are a healthy and much needed satire of religius belief.

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