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Massachusetts Pastafarian wins right to wear colander in license photo

By Ben Hooper
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The Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles allowed Lindsay Miller, a self-described Pastafarian, to wear a pasta colander on her head in her driver's license picture. Photo courtesy of the American Humanist Association
The Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles allowed Lindsay Miller, a self-described Pastafarian, to wear a pasta colander on her head in her driver's license picture. Photo courtesy of the American Humanist Association

BOSTON, Nov. 16 (UPI) -- The Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles has agreed to allow a self-described Pastafarian to take her license photo in religious headgear -- a pasta colander.

The American Humanist Association's Appignani Humanist Legal Center announced the RMV has agreed to allow Lindsay Miller to express her religious identity by wearing a pasta colander on her head in her driver's license photo.

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Miller, a member of the secular Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster, had initially been denied permission to wear the strainer in her photo and had gone without a license during the ensuing months of legal wrangling between the RMV and the Appignani Humanist Legal Center.

The Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster is an organization dedicated to the idea that their deity, the eponymous Flying Spaghetti Monster, is just as likely to exist as the Christian God.

"Some claim that the church is purely a thought experiment or satire, illustrating that Intelligent Design is not science, just a pseudoscience manufactured by Christians to push Creationism into public schools. These people are mistaken -- The Church of FSM is legit, and backed by hard science. Anything that comes across as humor or satire is purely coincidental," the church's website states.

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Miller applauded the RMV's decision.

"As a member of the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster, I feel delighted that my Pastafarianism has been respected by the Massachusetts RMV. While I don't think the government can involve itself in matters of religion, I do hope this decision encourages my fellow Pastafarian Atheists to come out and express themselves as I have," she said.

David Niose, legal director of the Appignani Humanist Legal Center, said the issue was a simple case of religious equality.

"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," he said.

Texas Tech student Eddie Castillo was said to be the first U.S. Pastafarian to wear a colander in his government-issued ID photo in 2013. The unusual headgear has also been sported in driver's license photos in countries including Austria.

Pomfret, N.Y. Town Council member Christopher Schaeffer made headlines last year when he wore a colander on his head during his swearing-in ceremony.

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