Catching up on draft posts, most of which will never see the light of day, I found this that I wrote about a week ago. Fortunately, it’s still highly relevant, for the eternal fight between state secularism and private religion continues.
Reader gravityfly has informed me of a most momentous event with an important bearing on America’s freedom of religion. It’s a huge victory for all of us.
As reported at HuffPo, Texan Eddie Castillo, a devout Patafarian, has won the right to be photographed for his driver’s license. And he’s from Lubbock, a conservative town in a conservative state.
Castillo told KLBK that the triumphant moment came after a lengthy fight with the state’s Department of Public Safety that the unusual headgear was protected as part of his religious beliefs. He worships the Flying Spaghetti Monster, a deity created by an atheist in 2005 in protest of the Kansas School Board’s defense of teaching intelligent design. According to its founding principles, “the only dogma allowed in the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster is the rejection of dogma.”
Castillo is the first American to successfully have his government-issued photo identification taken while wearing a colander, though DPS officials are reportedly planning to follow up with Castillo in order to “rectify” the situation. Others have tried unsuccessfully, and Castillo told KLBK that he was surprised at his victory, which he called a “political and religious milestone for all atheists everywhere.”
“Especially in Lubbock County where we are kind of looked at as one of the most conservatives cities in the country,” Castillo said. “I’ve heard of the stories happening of the guy getting arrested for attempting to do the same thing that I was doing so when I walked in there I had to mentally prepare myself to probably gather bond or something to get out of jail.”
The part in bold, though, worries me. The photo, as shown at the at the KLTV site is for a “temporary license,” and I suspect the state won’t let him wear the strainer in his photo for a permanent license.
As usual, Europe is ahead of the U.S. in its openness to social deviance:
Pastafarians in Europe have seen more success in their efforts to pay homage to the Flying Spaghetti Monster in official documents. Earlier this month, Czech citizen Lukas Novy was issued an ID showing him wearing colander, after officials ruled that turning down his request would violate the nation’s religious equality laws. Austrian atheist Niko Alm’s license also shows him wearing a strainer, the product of a lengthy legal fight.
I’ve posted before on Novy’s ID, and here’s Niko Alm’s driver’s license: