The US District Court of Nebraska has denied a prisoner’s right to practice Pastafarianism by ruling the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster, or FSMism, is not a religion but a “parody.”
Stephen Cavanaugh, a prisoner in a Nebraska state penitentiary, sued the state in 2014 seeking $5 million in damages for “deep emotional, psychological, and spiritual pain” over the alleged breach of his right to worship the Flying Spaghetti Monster or “His Flying Noodliness.”
He claimed he was not allowed to dress in “full pirate regalia,” which is required by his faith, although those practicing recognized religions were allowed to wear their necessary attire.
He also said prison officials were stopping him from holding religious services for his deity.
District Judge John Gerrard ruled Tuesday in a 16 page decision that The Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster was not a religion and that Cavanaugh’s claim was not plausible under the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act or under the state or federal constitution.
“It is, rather, a parody, intended to advance an argument about science, the evolution of life, and the place of religion in public education.”
“This case is difficult because FSMism, as a parody, is designed to look very much like a religion. Candidly, propositions from existing case law are not particularly well-suited for such a situation, because they developed to address more ad hoc creeds, not a comprehensive but plainly satirical doctrine.”
The Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster was created in Kansas in 2005 as a way of protesting the State Board’s decision to add “intelligent design” to the science curriculum.
It has since spread across the world and holds among its views that pirates were the original Pastafarians and that they were “peaceful explorers.”
Worshippers are encouraged to wear the religious headgear – a pasta strainer and can become ordained for $25.
In 2011, an Austrian man won the right to wear a pasta colander as his religious headdress in his driving license photo.