The picture at the top of this post has been getting a lot of attention because it shows an elected politician getting sworn into office wearing a colander on his head. Christopher Schaeffer was elected as a councilman in the city of Pomfret, New York and he is wearing a colander because he is a Pastafarian, and a minister in the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster. H
Hemant Mehta has an interview with Schaeffer which is informative:
Read that last line again: "Even though my religion is satirical, that does not make it any less valid than any other." There is an important point to be made here. If society allows people to claim that firmly held religious belief impacts public policy for others than what is to stop other people creating religions to align with whatever public policy belief they want to promote?It has come to my attention that my religion has become a topic of debate. Although it is not in my nature to discuss my religion unless asked about it, I do not want my beliefs to be a distraction to this board while it carries out its duties. Therefore I have prepared this statement.My religion encourages adherents to wear the holy headgear under certain situations; the taking of official pictures is one of these situations. I did not take this action out of disrespect for the office, quite the opposite I have great respect for this country and the citizens of Pomfret. Our constitution allows for, we the citizens, to practice our religions without fear of oppression. This was one of the greatest gifts our forefathers left us.I do not ask that you accept the beliefs of my religion, I do ask you to treat it with the same dignity and respect that I treat yours. I will not apologize for the beliefs and customs of my religion. Even though my religion is satirical, that does not make it any less valid than any other.
In the case of the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster this is their doctrine:
This may be a Church I can believe in!Pastafarianism is a real religion.Most of us do not believe a religion – Christianity, Islam, Pastafarianiasm – requires literal belief in order to provide spiritual enlightenment. That is, we can be part of a community without becoming indoctrinated. There are many levels of belief.By design, the only dogma allowed in the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster is the rejection of dogma. That is, there are no strict rules and regulations, there are no rote rituals and prayers and other nonsense. Every member has a say in what this church is and what it becomes.