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Georgia Drivers License Discrimination

Published January 4th, 2016 by Bobby Henderson

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Christopher Avino wearing a colander in his temporary license photo

More news about Pastafarians wearing colanders in their drivers license photos, this time in Georgia.

The Dept. of Driver Services refused to issue a permanent license to Christopher Avino (after issuing a temporary with colander headwear) and asked him to come back and re-take the photo. More surprising is that their legal department wrote a letter laying out their reasoning, which includes this line, “Pastafarian is not actually a religion. Rather it is a philosophy that mocks religion”.

Here’s the whole letter:

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Obviously most of us disagree with their view that Pastafarianism exists only to mock religion (I could not disagree more), but I find it particularly surprising to read such a statement in a letter written by the DDS General Counsel. I did not realize the legal departments of small government offices were empowered to declare what is and what is not a legitimate religion.

And it shouldn’t matter, but I wonder: would this General Counsel happen to be Christian, and did that have anything to do with the DDS decision to deny the permanent license?

Christopher wrote a smart and entertaining letter in response to the DDS. The whole thing can be read here, but in case you do not read it, let me paste here my favorite part:

“You mayfind our beliefs to be strange, but as strange as you may feel they are, they are still our beliefs. Some may find it strange that Christians believe that Jonah spent “3 days in a whale’s belly” according to some texts. Some may find it strange that Muslims believe that Muhammad was carried to the seven heavens on the back of a winged horse. Some may find it strange that Scientologists believe that Xenu, the dictator of the Galactic Confederacy brought billions of people to earth in a DC-8-like spacecraft, stacked them around volcanoes, and killed them with hydrogen bombs. Maybe you, the reader of this letter, do not personally believe that Muhammad flew to heaven on a winged horse, but do you question the validity of Islam as a religion? “

As frustrating as I find these bureaucratic hurdles, I think overall they end up helping the Cause, because they bring so much attention to the issues. There are already volunteers willing to help take up the legal fight, and I’ve read many messages of support, many from people who are not Pastafarians but who support us.

Huge thanks to Christopher for spending the time and energy to get into these issues.

RawStory has a good overview of all that’s happened here.

UPDATE —

Christopher moved to Nevada, and has applied for and received his Nevada driver license, wearing a Colander:

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I could not be more pleased — I take this as implicit approval by the Nevada licensing authority, clearly they support Pastafarianism headwear. Thanks!



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