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Bruder Spaghettus and the Pastafarian struggle in Germany

Published February 24th, 2015 by Bobby Henderson

bruder

PRI has a story about Pastafarian minister Bruder Spaghettus and his struggle for the recognition of Pastafarianism in Germany.

He [Bruder] is convinced that religion holds a privileged place in German society and that non-believers lack the same civil rights.

Weida is a 63-year-old retiree who lives in the town of Templin. It’s about an hour’s drive outside of Berlin and happens to be Angela Merkel’s hometown. Templin is also where Weida founded the “Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster,” in September last year. As one of the leading “Pastafarians” at the church, or non-church more accurately, Weida goes by the alias of “Bruder Spaghettus.”

Weekly “Noodle Worship” begins at 10 a.m. Fridays in a small building on Weida’s farmstead on the outskirts of town. It looks and feels somewhat like weekly worship services at mainstream Christian churches. There is an altar, time for prayers, scripture readings, hymns, and even a version of Holy Communion. But the similarities end pretty quickly.

Read the full article here

It’s a good article, but I find it a bit slanted in terms of calling us Atheists, not Believers in the FSM, and referring to Pastafarianism as a non-religion. When I see these tactics, I wonder if the writer does it purposely, as a means to get the article published. Still an interesting read.

Bruder is great, I am sure the FSM is very pleased to see his work.

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ID Cards now available

Published February 9th, 2015 by Bobby Henderson

We just got a card printer for making wallet ID cards for the ordained ministers. For now these cards are only available with the paper certificates of ordination.

They’re PVC cards printed with a professional ID card printer (not paper/laminated).

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* You can order them with the certificates of ordinations here. *

Note — for people who have already ordered a certificate, you can get an ID card with the same date/registry ID. I am going to send an email out this week about how to do it.

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Campus Ministers

Published January 24th, 2015 by Bobby Henderson

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Pastafarian Minister Dan Scott spotted a couple of campus ministers preaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ (in a less than tolerant tone) in front of the University of Houston, so he decided to do some evangelizing on behalf of the FSM. Judging by their faces this looks to have been a great success in church-to-church interaction.

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Who Recognizes this Utah Pastafarian?

Published November 18th, 2014 by Bobby Henderson

stgspaghettimonster111601

Asia Lemmon, also known as Jessica Steinhauser, an atheist and member of the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster, said she wanted to wear the colander, also known as a pasta strainer, on her head for the photo to make a statement.

And years before this, she went by Asia Carrera, a well known adult film star.

The Spectrum just put out an article about how all of this went down. Asia is a very smart lady and I respect her motives – and bravery – for doing this in the middle of Mormon country.

Here’s the article, it’s great: CFSM ‘Pastafarian’ makes statement

Trivia: Asia also appeared in The Big Lebowski, in the Logjammin’ scene with Karl Hungus, one of the Nihilists ( /cable expert).

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Pastafarian Inmate Sues Prison

Published November 7th, 2014 by Bobby Henderson

pirate

In FSM news — Nebraska prisoner Stephen Cavanaugh is suing over the right to pursue his faith in the Flying Spaghetti Monster.

Specifically he wants:

* to dress in religious garments — that is, full pirate regalia — and,

* to take part in weekly meetings with others who hold similar beliefs

He’s also asking for $5 Million in damages related to “deep emotional, psychological, and spiritual pain resulting from being allowed to practice my religion, and Mr. Bartlet [Religious Coordinator, Nebraska State Pen]‘s repeated mocking and insulting of my faith.”

I’m skeptical of anyone asking for money, and my immediate thought was that this is a frivolous lawsuit. But after reading the court documents and talking with people in the know, I feel that here is a troubled guy who is legitimately trying to pursue his faith and, only after being stymied by the in-house prison channels, was forced to take the fight to the courts. Yes the dollar amount he’s asking for is exorbitant (and in my view, hurts his case), but the underlying complaint feels legitimate to me.

One thing I found alarming: in the court docs there’s a claim by prison officials that, when looking into Cavanaugh’s religion, they found “the founder of Pastafarianism stated that it was a parody of religion”, and used this as a reason to deny Cavanaugh his requests for religious garments and group prayer.

They may or may not be referring to me, I don’t know — but I don’t think I’ve ever spoken to any Nebraskan prison officials, and if I did I wouldn’t have used those words.

For the record, I don’t believe Pastafarianism is a parody.

What I say, sometimes, is that some number of Pastafarians do not believe in a literal Flying Spaghetti Monster or our Creation story. And that is perfectly fine — it’s a common thing even in mainstream religion to be skeptical of scripture. The distinction is that in FSM, the culture is more accepting of people who are skeptical-minded, while in many mainstream religions, doubt is seen as an affront to the Dogmatic Truth.

My point is that there are doubters in religion in general, simply because religious scripture can be full of nonsense. You wouldn’t say Christianity is a parody just because some members don’t buy the part about the world being created in 7 days and the talking snake, etc.

Religion is more than a collection of beliefs and rituals, it’s a way to form community and a framework to make sense of our place in the universe. And on this level, I think Prison officials did Cavanaugh a disservice in not allowing him to pursue his faith. I mean, he wasn’t asking for that much. He wanted to buy a pirate costume with his own money and hang out with some other Pastafarians once a week.

One last point I’d like to make: lets consider that maybe the prison officials are simply unenlightened about the FSM. Maybe this is just a misunderstanding, rather than outright religious persecution. I suspect that Mr. Cavanaugh may be willing to call of the fight if the prison officials would relent and allow him to pursue his faith.

Here are the best articles I’ve found, if you’d like to keep reading about Cavanaugh’s case:

[1] Great article (and spectacular title) by ThinkProgress about the Cavanaugh lawsuit — Inmate Sues Prison Claiming His Religious Liberty Entitles Him To Dress Like A Pirate

[2] The raw court documents (PDF)

[3] Here’s an article where some lawyers are discussing whether the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster may have some influence in rethinking the RLUIPA (religion in prison) laws — Can the Flying Spaghetti Monster Reshape RLUIPA?

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Stained Glass

Published September 20th, 2014 by Bobby Henderson

Stephan made this beautiful stained glass window.

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The design was influenced by a previous contributor who had done a computer mockup of what the FSM would look like on stained glass.

I made a few modifications in order for it to be feasible, and for it to fit in an 24″x18′ frame.

You can see more of Stephan’s work here.

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Happy Talk Like a Pirate Day

Published September 19th, 2014 by Bobby Henderson

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I hope everyone has a great time.

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Kiva Team FSM has reached $2 Million in Loans

Published March 24th, 2014 by Bobby Henderson

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Team FSM has reached $2 Million in loans on the micro-lending site Kiva. We’re now the top-lending religious congregation on Kiva, above the Buddhists, Catholics, Muslims, and — especially pleasing to me – above the Mormons, who we’ve been in a friendly competition with for years. Congratulations everyone!

suck it, mormons

What is Kiva? Kiva is a platform where you can make small loans to people in poor areas that need help starting small business. We make small, interest-free loans towards the projects we support, and Kiva combines them to fund the loan to the person who wants to build a small workshop, farm, restaurant, fruit stand, etc. These are interest-fee loans in places like Cambodia, Peru, Uganda — places where traditional bank lending to the poor is unavailable (or predatory). Kiva ensures that the loans are paid out and that the money is paid back. A lot of us feel this is the best way of bringing economic growth to the poorest areas.

I’ve had a good experience with Kiva and I encourage anyone interested to check it out. And please join our amazing team and help us continue to trounce the mainstream religion teams.

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Pastafarian minister sworn into office

Published January 6th, 2014 by Bobby Henderson

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Encouraging news, reported by The Observer out of Dunkirk, New York:

A unique style of headwear was present during newly-seated Pomfret Town Council member Christopher Schaeffer’s oath of office Thursday afternoon, but it wasn’t intended to keep his head warm.

Schaeffer wore a colander (a strainer typically used to drain water from spaghetti) while Town Clerk Allison Dispense administered the oath of office to him before the board’s reorganizational meeting. When the OBSERVER asked afterward why he wore a colander on his head, Schaeffer said he was a minister with an even more unique organization – the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster.

This may be the first openly Pastafarian sworn into office. For sure, the first to be sworn in wearing a colander.

I imagine Council member Schaeffer is getting a lot of heat because of the news coverage. Some people will see it as obnoxious or a sign that he’s not taking the oath of office seriously. But I am completely confident that Schaeffer will distinguish himself as a Council member of the highest caliber.

Scaeffer’s statement at the end of the article says it all:

“Mostly, I’m just looking forward to making sure that the town is run smoothly and we meet the needs of all of our citizens,” he said. “If anybody ever has any concerns or questions, I hope they contact me, because I want to make sure that everyone is represented.”

You can read the article here at the Observer.

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Tampa Tribune featured the FSM Holiday display

Published December 24th, 2013 by Bobby Henderson

Tampa Tribune front page

The Tampa Tribune featured the FSM Holiday display in today’s paper, front page.

The sign says “A closed mouth catches no noodly appendages.”

And here’s the Christian nativity display that started all of this:

nativity

What do you think — next year, will the Florida Capital allow any religious displays?

Thanks to Jay Nelson for the photos.

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