Australians: Remember to mark Pastafarian on this year’s census

Published August 8th, 2011 by Bobby Henderson


The Australian census is here and now is the time to mark Pastafarian as your stated religion, if you like. 

I won’t make a long argument and I won’t say that you should absolutely do this.  But I do believe it’s a reasonable and legitimate choice.  If there are things in the Pastafarian religion that you identify with, and if you would like to see the Pastafarian religion gain formal legitimacy, then please designate Pastafarian as your religion.

Update 8/10/2011

I see some discussion in the comments, and I got some emails, pleading don’t throw away your votes because they won’t be counted. It’s a reasonable point – marking No Religion will be officially counted, while writing in Pastafarian will not be. But I would ask, what is the actual purpose here? Will policy follow from these results? If you believe that, you might want to mark No Religion. If, like me, you are more cynical and believe policy comes first and the data is used as a justification (and only when it supports the policy decision), you might feel more free to mark Pastafarian, if you’re inclined.

75 Responses to “Australians: Remember to mark Pastafarian on this year’s census”

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  1. Jolly Roger Jeff says:

    I won’t even hesitate putting Pastafarian on my Census form. As far as I’m concerned, it is only religion for the thinking individual. I even wrote a letter to the Sydney Morning Herald attesting this fact, but so far they haven’t seen fit to publish it. Hopefully His noodly appendage will touch them before the next edition.

  2. Trevor Souter says:

    I wish we could! Marking Pastafarian or FSMism etc will be counted as “no response” just like marking Jedi will be considered no response.

    This may not matter to you but if you are an atheist ( as in one who dismisses all gods EXCEPT the FSM ;) ) then this information is important.

    Here is a list of valid responses for ‘no religion’ http://www.abs.gov.au/ausstats/[email protected]/Previousproducts/9B80BA8CC9FA6A25CA25697E00184AF6?opendocument

    How would we go about pushing for FSMism to be seen as a legitimate religion in the next census?

    Glory be to the FSM!

    • Jolly Roger Jeff says:

      Interesting link. I never realised that there were so many religious categories available. Having looked at them all, I think that 7013 Altruism (unselfish concern for the welfare of others) has a nice noodly feel to it. Unfortunately, it also covers Human Being and we all know that His Noodly Greatness was definately not a human being. Not with those appendages.

      We jut have to hope that enough Australians put Pastafarian down that they will have to legitimise us. Our time will come. Pasta be praised.

      • Herb says:

        Thanks for the link Trevor. As much as I wish to be able to select Pastafarian, I would encourage people to go for a response in the 7014s found within the link. These selections appear to be heading down the right path and don’t involve the mainstream religions.

        7014 Evolutionist
        7014 Existentialist
        7014 Free Thinker
        7014 Free Thought
        7014 Materialist
        7014 Philosophist
        7014 Positivist
        7014 Rationalism
        7014 Sceptic
        7014 Science, nai

        Personally I like the sound of Evolutionist and although not perfect appears to be the most accurate interpretation of my beliefs. Or perhaps a hybrid of Evolutionist, Free Thinker and Rationalism (wonder what the children will look like?!?)

        RAmen & Cheers

        • Theresa says:

          Those are not the choices on the actual sheet – There are only 9 and 7 of them are christian variatians

        • Theresa says:

          Those are not the actual choices. There are only 9 to choose from and 7 of them are a christian variation.

        • Theresa says:

          oops double entry

        • Trevor Souter says:

          Yes, on the form there is a box to write specifics. This list is a list of what is accepted. (Note: there are many pages, not just the one link I posted)

        • Herb says:

          Love your work Trevor! & thanks for providing the link. Have forwarded the details onto my likeminded friends and colleagues!

        • His Wholyness the Cook says:

          None of these are religions.

    • Keith says:

      I fail to see how one mythology can be accepted as being a valid response yet Pastafarianism is considered “No response”. Nevertheless, I will still be putting “Pastafarian”. Incidentally, you’ll notice that question 18 asks about our ancestry. Unless they are pursuing the same path as Nazi Germany and testing us for racial purity I fail to see what business it is of theirs.

      • Trevor Souter says:

        I would love to put Pastafarian but you must realise that by doing so you are giving the Christian church exactly what they want…

        • Theresa says:

          yes the census is very biased towards christian religions. Therefore they have made it so that no matter what the true religous beliefs of this country are it will come out that statistically it is a christian country.

        • Trevor Souter says:

          Yes most of the tickboxes are Christian but there is an “other” box which allows you to write any religion you like. The only problem is not everything is accepted as a legitimate religion. Jedi and Pastafarian for e.g. is NOT considered a religion in the eyes of the Australian Census and will be counted as “no response”. This means for each person that marks Pastafarian on their census they will essentially be giving -1 to Atheists. This will suit the Christian church just fine….

      • Brian Fritzen says:

        As for “Ancestry:” In the States (and this has been going on for over a decade at least), on our birth certificates you can claim your child is American, which is what we put for our children.

        Can’t you say your “ancestry” is Aussie?

        • Keith says:

          Not really. My ancestry is English and Welsh but as far as I am concerned it is non of their damn business where my forefathers come from: it has absolutely no bearing on my residential status in today’s Australia, nor does it influence where I shop, what I buy, who I vote for or what hobbies I engage in. To me it is just an unwarranted invasion of privacy.

        • Trevor Souter says:

          Yes, we can mark Australian as our ancestry. You can chose up to 2.

      • stylusmobilus says:

        Keith, as I understand it, they collect that for data on where immigrants come from etc. I know, the questions are a bit intrusive but when you look at their website and the statistics they issue you get a picture as to why they ask it…even the ‘where were you 5 years ago’…so they can gather stats on human movement.

        The main reason I put Pastafarian is I am proud to be one and love being part of the group. For the chaplain program, I understand this may not be the case everywhere but I have seen nothing but positives come from the program. Bigger issues bother me a bit more, such as the way our government fails to address immigration issues in a humane fashion. If a chaplain helps a wayward, unhappy Xtn kid in a school and stops a suicide then my taxes have done their job. I don’t care if the kid believes in a faith, I’m glad this kid is back on track and happy.

        ‘Vote 1’ Pastafarianism. In the words of the mumbling and ever bigoted John Laws, ‘Keep The Dream Alive’. Ramen!

        • Keith says:

          It would be interesting to see a copy of a census form from, say, 30 years ago to see what has changed. Of course I can’t say what they have added or taken away but I still think some of the questions are nosey and pointless. As for my ancestry, if the data are entered on a computer they can find the details out from the last census (assuming I answered the question). As No. 6 said ” I will not be pushed, filed, stamped, indexed, briefed, debriefed or numbered. My life is my own”. Question 6 incidentally asks about “marital status”: a religio-centric question that is redundant considering question 5.
          Regarding the Chaplaincy programme, if the kids want psychological help then the councillor should be a trained child psychologist or at least have experience in that field. They should be secular. If the children want spiritual help that is what their local vicar/parson/church/ whatever is there for. Right at this moment the High Court should be hearing the evidence in objection to the programme. I hope it succeeds in squashing the programme.

  3. Theresa says:

    Yes, I would love to write Pastafarian – or even Atheist. But as the Australian Atheist organisation has pointed out – if you do either it wil be treated as if you didn’t answer it at all (no response). They are encouraging all non-religous persons to enter “no religion”


    So sadly I will be only entering “no religion” and hope everyone else will so that the religious choices won’t be the majority this year.

    • Brian Fritzen says:

      This is why the real argument shouldn’t be “What to put on the census” but rather to have separation of Church and State. I can’t believe they take your tax monies and give them to religions that you don’t belong to. That is such an odd concept for me that I am having trouble wrapping my head around it.

      Perhaps the Australian Atheists should spend their time and money petitioning the government to create a “wall of separation” between church and state.

      • Keith says:

        There was a case revolving around this in the early eighties ( I think). The judgement of the High Court was that although seperation of church and state were implied in the Australian constitution is was not firmly established in law. http://www.hsnsw.asn.au/MaxWallace.html

      • Trevor Souter says:

        We are classified as a secular government however we have a school chaplaincy program in our PUBLIC GOV funded schools! Churches are tax exempt and religious groups receive gov funding!! It is utterly ridiculous and the Australian atheist groups are fighting against these things and we are making some progress. At the moment though we have some politicians blackmailing other groups to remove secular ethics classes and retain religious lessons. We have an agnostic/Atheist Prime minister yet she does sweet fuck all about it. She does however have bigger issues to deal with at the moment and bringing up her atheism would be the final nail in her coffin considering the large number of Christians in this country. We just thank the glorious FSM that tehre’s not as many fundies here as there are in America ;). Ramen!

        However, if there was then they probably wouldn’t have any financial problems lol.

    • Jolly Roger Jeff says:

      I understand what you’re saying, but the fact that they can tell us how many respondents put Jedi or Pasatfarianism on the census form means that they do record the individual responses, even though the official document will register it as “no religion”. I’m still going for Pastafarian. If enough people do it then they must one day take notice.

      Surely their must be a legal eagle out there who has been touched by His noodly appendage and is willing to take this on as a pro bono case. Standing there in court wearing his, or her, pirate regalia, replete with eye patch. Imagine the publicity for the cause. Imagine the reaction of Fred Nile!

      This is clearly a job for the FSM.

      • Trevor Souter says:

        Roger, you are mistaken! It will not be counted as “no religion” it will be counted as “NO RESPONSE!” This is a big difference. It means instead of your vote going down as non religious, it doesn’t count it at all! This is exactly what Christians groups want to see. It means one less atheist is in the country in the eyes of the government!

        As for them one day taking notice… In 2001 72,000 marked Jedi after there was a big campaign for it despite the threat of a $1000 fine for anyone who did. In 2006 only 50,000 marked Jedi and the Gov still does not recognise it despite there being a legitimate group that truly believes in “the force”. It is unlikely that Jedi will ever be accepted and it is just as unlikely that Pastafarian will ever be accepted. It sucks, I know, but marking Pastafarian won’t help our cause. If we were serious about having it recognised there are other more appropriate and much more effective ways of doing it.

        If you are an atheist then mark ‘No religion” just tell your friends you put pastafarian or Jedi if you think it is funny. The only person who is going to see it is the data entry bitch neway… If we want to reduce the strangle hold Christianity has on our government we MUST not let our voice be silent by giving a “no response”.

        • Alan Poulter says:

          Trevor, well put. I was really excited about putting ‘Pastafarian’ on the census until I read that it would not be counted.

          If His Noodlyness is to be believed – and I believe – the only effective thing to do is to register ‘no religion’.

          We can always promote His Noodlyness in other ways, but this is too important than to register an answer that will not be counted.

        • Trevor Souter says:

          They can hold us down but ultimately they will have to answer to his deliciousness. If the heathens are not careful our lord the FSM may send a flood of red wine & Italian herbs to cleanse this world!

        • Theresa says:

          I understand that this year they won’t even count and/or release the number of Jedi/Pastafarian entries as a deterrent next census. Please put “no religion”. Check out the Atheist Australia website to clarify a few points.

  4. LSM says:

    NO NO NO NO NO!!!!

    DO NOT do this. It will not be counted.

    There is a current promotion in Australia by the Atheist foundation to mark “No religion”.

    As much as it might make you feel good, doing this is stupid.

  5. Richard says:

    A more useful approach would be for all athiests, Pastafarians, etc. to use the email contact on the ABS web site and complain about the lack of appropriate groups. It probably won’t help, but will give them something to read.

  6. Richard says:

    After all, read the classification list set up by the ABS:

    6999 Aetherius Society (Flying Saucer Group)
    7012 Atheism

    Does this mean you CAN write Atheist?

    • Theresa says:

      You can write whatever you won’t but this year unless it’s in a tick box it will be counted as no response.

  7. Hydaral says:

    I for one will definitely be writing Pastafarianism, how do you think religions get added to the “acceptable” list? There has to be enough people with that religion for them to recognise it.

    This is the definition that the ABS uses to acknowledge a religion:

    “Generally, a religion is regarded as a set of beliefs and practices, usually involving acknowledgment of a divine or higher being or power, by which people order the conduct of their lives both practically and in a moral sense.”

    Pastafarianism fits this to a tee. The FSM is the higher being, the Gospel of the Flying Spaghetti Monster dictates our beliefs and practices and guides our conduct and morals.

    I’m not that familiar with Jediism, so I couldn’t tell you how closely it fits with the definition.

    • Hydaral says:

      Here is another bit from the same ABS page:

      “The scope of the classification is all religions and subsets of religions in the world as defined above. In practice, only those religious groups that have a significant number of affiliated persons in Australia are separately identified in the classification structure.”

      This tells us definitively that to be recognised there has to be a “significant” number of practitioners, no clues on how many “significant” is though

      • Trevor Souter says:

        This is not the case Hydaral! Religions don’t get recognised simply by numbers on a census! They must be a not for profit organisation and apply to be tax exempt + apply to have any donations made to the organisation tax deductible. If the organisation is approved of all these things then it is considered a religion.

        These conditions should be met before we mark FSM on a census.

        • Keith says:

          The Catholic Church, Scientologists, Mormons etc are non profit organisations? Sounds to me that the CFSM scores over them in that respect alone.

  8. Richard says:

    Ah! I missed the point of the 7000 group. So back to my previous suggestion. We should ALL write to the ABS (and local parliamentary members?) and request that “Pastafarian” be included; with the additional request that the ABS counts the number of requests and publishes it.

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