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Pastafarian first to wear pasta strainer in ID photo

Posted By GABRIELLE LEVY, UPI.com   |   Aug. 26, 2013 at 4:50 PM   |   Comments

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Aug. 26 (UPI) -- A Texas Tech student became the first American to win one significant battle for religious freedom.

"Once she allowed me to I put the pasta strainer on my head, I took the biggest, cheesiest smile I probably ever took," said Eddie Castillo, of the moment he took his ID photo at a Department of Public Safety office.

For Castillo, the pasta strainer is "religious" garb. Castillo is a Pastafarian, a religious order founded by an atheist in 2005 to protest the Kansas School Board's effort to implement the teaching of intelligent design in classrooms.

Pastafarians worship the made-up Flying Spaghetti monster -- hence the pasta strainer -- and the "only dogma allowed in the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster is the rejection of dogma."

"It was created as a form of satire, but it shouldn't be taken in a sense that discriminates or disassociates other religions and it should be looked at as a political symbol for the separation of church and state," Castillo said.

The DPS said they planned to contact Castillo to "rectify" the situation, but for now, he remains the only American to successfully take his government ID photos wearing his pasta strainer.

A New Jersey man put up a fight in February when he refused to remove his strainer, although he eventually agreed to take it off when he was told he could appeal to the state. And in Illinois, a Pastafarian has been petitioning the state since May to wear his headgear.

As for Castillo, he just hopes he has set a better standard for freedom of religion, and even freedom from religion.

"I don't want to say its poking fun at religious headwear in other people's faiths," Castillo said. "I would like to think that it actually opens the doors for new-age religion, and just it kind of symbolizes acceptance and kind of celebrates, in a sense, that we are a melting pot of a country."

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