Sunday, September 6, 2009

Student punished for his ‘spaghetti beliefs’

I recently wrote a column “Space aliens, Satanists, and those who try to control your mind” in which I talked about people with some pretty strange beliefs.

This story (which is two years old) caught my attention because I didn’t mention this religion in my article. Feeling remiss, I’m sharing it with you.

Is this a real story? Hmmmm…one might wonder until they Google “Pastafarians” and get the whole scoop.

A student was suspended from school in North Buncombe, North Carolina, for coming to class dressed as a pirate.

But the disciplinary action provoked controversy – because the student said that the ban violated his rights, as the pirate costume is part of his religion.

Bryan Killian said that he follows the Pastafarian religion, and that as a crucial part of his faith, he must wear 'full pirate regalia' as prescribed in the holy texts of Pastafarianism.

The school, however, said that his pirate garb was disruptive. Pastafarians follow the Flying Spaghetti Monster (pictured), and believe that the world was created by the touch of his noodly appendage. Furthermore, they acknowledge pirates as being 'absolute divine beings', and stress that the worldwide decline in the number of pirates has directly led to global warming.

Pastafarianism gained wide attention when its key prophet, Bobby Henderson, wrote to the Kansas School Board during the height of the controversy over 'Intelligent Design' being taught in science classes. His letter, also  published on his website, demanded equal time be given to the teachings of the Flying Spaghetti Monster as was given to ID and evolutionary theory.

Since then, the Flying Spaghetti Monster has gained countless followers worldwide, although there are those who remain spagnostic.

The school remained adamant that their decision to suspend Killian for a day had nothing to do with his religion, and quite a lot to do with his repeated refusal to heed warnings against wearing pirate outfits.

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