Cops Called after Pastafarian Aaron Williams Refuses to Remove Spaghetti Strainer for NJ Driver’s License Photo
Police were called after a New Jersey man citing religious beliefs refused to remove a spaghetti strainer from his head for his driver’s license photo.
NJ.com reports that 24-year-old Aaron Williams of Egg Harbor Township was at the South Brunswick motor vehicle office attempting to obtain a new driver’s license when he was asked to remove a spaghetti strainer from his head.
But to Williams, who as a Pastafarian– a member of the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster— reveres the strainer as a holy headdress, that was asking too much. So he refused to remove the strainer from his head.
“I believe the universe was created by a Flying Spaghetti Monster,” Williams told South Brunswick Patch.
“The strainer is a showing of my devoutness to the religion.”
“Had it been a turban or a headscarf, or something from a mainstream religion, then it would’ve been fine,” he added. “I guess since they hadn’t heard of the religion, that’s why they opposed it. But that’s not really acceptable to me. They’re not in a position to discriminate against religions that are mainstream, or are not mainstream, just because they have not heard about it.”
Pastafarianism was founded in 2005 by Bobby Henderson in opposition to the Kansas School Board’s decision to allow the teaching of unscientific, Bible-based ‘intelligent design’ in public schools alongside the scientifically accepted theory of evolution. Most outside observers consider it to be a satirical religion or ‘anti-religion,’ but many Pastafarians insist that their devotion to the Flying Spaghetti Monster, their deity, is very real.
“I take it as seriously as anybody else when it comes to religious beliefs,” Williams told NJ.com.
Motor Vehicle Commission (MVC) workers were not convinced, or amused. They called South Brunswick police, who convinced a reluctant Williams to remove the strainer for the photo since it was “not approved religious garb,” according to The Smoking Gun. Williams was told he could apply to the state to have spaghetti strainers added to the list of approved religious garb.
The Evangelical Pastafarian Facebook page decried the apparent violation of Williams’ religious freedom. “Faithful church member Aaron Williams was denied his Noodle-given right to wear the religious head covering of his choice– namely a pasta strainer– in his New Jersey driver’s license photo,” a post stated.
In a very similar case, sans police, an Austrian Pastafarian named Niko Alm tried to pose for his driver’s license photo with a strainer on his head. He was sent to a psychiatrist for evaluation of whether he was competent to operate a motor vehicle. Atheists delighted in pointing out that believing that a Flying Spaghetti monster created the universe and everything in it is really no different than believing that any other deity did, and that those who believe that a virgin gave birth to a child who would grow up to walk on water and rise from the dead like a zombie should also have their heads examined.
Not only was Alm competent, the Austrian transport authority ruled that he could indeed wear the strainer on his head in his driver’s license photo.
Tagged Aaron Williams, Aaron Williams Egg Harbor Twp., Aaron Williams Pastafarian, church of the flying spaghetti monster, is Pastafrianism a real religion?, MVC South Brunswick, New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission, niko alm, pasta strainer, pastafarian, Pastafarian refuses to remove stainer for driver's license photo, religious freedom, spaghetti strainer