Pomfret, NY – Christopher Shaeffer was sworn in as Pomfret’s newest town councilman last week. As a Pastafarian minister, he appeared for the ceremony in full religious regalia in honor of his beliefs (e.g., he wore a pasta strainer on his head).
Schaeffer is a member of the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster, an atheist-founded group that usually serves as a social critique of organized religions. Among their symbols, the Flying Spaghetti Monster:
Pictured here, giving life to man.
As well as the colander which is worn on the head of self-styled “Pastafarians” like Schaeffer:
You might be tempted to see Pasafarianism as a hostile mockery of religion, but Schaeffer said that he’s just expressing his rights like anyone else who adheres to a faith.
“It’s just a statement about religious freedom,” Schaeffer told the Observer. “It’s a religion without any dogma.”
Bobby Henderson, who founded the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster in 2005, said that Schaeffer “may be the first openly Pastafarian sworn into office.”
Several Pastafarians have made headlines over the years over their rights to religious expression. My favorite kind of story, which happens a lot more often than you might think, is the classic “driver’s license pasta strainer” scenario. The most recent was August, 2013.
Eddie Castillo, a Texas tech student, spent four months trying to convince government officials to allow him to wear a colander on his head for his driver’s license photo. Others have attempted this with mixed success, but Castillo was ultimately allowed to wear the pasta strainer for the photo on religious grounds.
“You might think this is some sort of a gag or prank by a college student, but thousands, including myself, see it as a political and religious milestone for all atheists everywhere,” Castillo told KCDB.