Massachusetts Woman Wears Strainer in License Picture for Religious Reasons
Just when you thought the whole Pastafarian meme was played out, a Massachusetts woman goes and gets her license photo taken with a colander on her head.
Lindsay Miller, a self-identified member of the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster, successfully appealed to the Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles to allow her to wear a colander on her head in her driver’s license photo in order to show devotion to her faith.
Her faith, Pastafarianism, is a “secular religion” that exists to mock organized religions and poke fun at the separation of church and state.
“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,” said Miller in a statement posted on the American Humanist Association’s website.
When Miller’s request to have her photo taken with the colander on her head was denied, a friend pointed her to AHA and got in touch with a member of their legal team, Patty DeJuneas. The team filed an appeal for her, but the hearing was eventually postponed and the RMV let her move forward with taking her photo with the colander on her head.
“The First Amendment applies to every person and every religion, so I was dismayed to hear that Lindsay had been ridiculed for simply seeking the same freedoms and protections afforded to people who belong to more traditional or theistic religions. We appreciate that the RMV recognized the error, apologized, and issued a license respecting her First Amendment rights, and hope that RMV staff will be trained to respect diversity,” said DeJuneas in the statement.
This is not the first time a member of the Pastafarian religion has been allowed to wear a colander on their head in their license photo.
In an email, MassDOT Spokesman Michael Verseckes explained to Boston the RMV’s policy on license photos.
“The RMV processed the customer’s request consistent with its established facial image policy” said Verseckes. “We do not get into the sincerity or the veracity of religious beliefs.”