Dec 17, 2015

Pastafarian marriages approved in New Zealand

Helena Horton
THE TELEGRAPH
December 17, 2015

Ever wanted to get married while wearing a colander on your head?

Move to New Zealand - they just gave the right to the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster to perform marriage ceremonies.

Members of the church call themselves Pastafarians and believe that the world was created by an airborne spaghetti and meatballs-based being, although its own website notes that some followers consider it to be a satirical organisation.

The announcement that the church is now allowed to perform weddings was made on the government gazette.

Registrar-general Jeff Montgomery defended the decision, saying that it was made on the basis that the organisation promotes religious beliefs.

He said that it is not based on how valid the religious claims the organisation are.

The registrar-general told stuff.co.nz that the request was valid because the purposes set out by the church were educating and training people, particularly atheists and superstitious people, about Flying Spaghetti principles and practices.

He said: "In considering the matter I have referred to the Objects of the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster, reviewed material available online about this organisation and considered other organisations already able to nominate marriage celebrants.

"A review of media and the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster's international website show a consistent presentation of their philosophies. While some claim this is a 'parody organisation', members have rebutted this on a number of occasions."

The church's anonymous leader, who asks to be referred to as the Top Ramen, told Radio New Zealand that the next step is to nominate a marriage celebrant for approval. "We are a bona fide church, and our people do like to get married, some of them several times," she says, adding that Pastafarian wedding attire can range from pirate outfits to the traditional colander headgear. "We can wear the pirate gear, we can wear the pasta gear, we're quite flexible."

'Pastafarians' are earning legitimacy around the globe. Recently, a Massachusetts woman earned the right to wear a colander on her head as a 'religious accessory' in her driving license.

The woman, Lindsay Miller, said: "As a member of the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster, I feel delighted that my Pastafarianism has been respected.

"While I don’t think the government can involve itself in matters of religion, I do hope this decision encourages my fellow Pastafarian Atheists to come out and express themselves as I have."

AT A GLANCE

The Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster

  • It came into being in 2005 after an open letter was published aimed at the Kansas school board, asking for the church to be taught just as Christianity was taught in local schools. They argued that the church was just as legitimate as any other religion.
  • They claim that they have millions of followers
  • Many think that the church is a thought experiment or satire, and has been used as such in Richard Dawkins' book 'The God Delusion'
  • They say on their site: "We believe religion – say Christianity, Islam, Pastafarianiasm – does not require literal belief in order to provide spiritual enlightenment. Much of the transcendent experience of religion can be attributed to the community. And while some members of religion are indoctrinated True Believers, many are not. There are many levels of Belief and each is no more or less legitimate than the other."That is to say, you do not have to Believe to be part of our Church, but we hope in time you will see the Truth. But skeptics, as well as members of other religions, are always welcome."
  • Their heaven apparently contains a 'Beer Volcano' and a 'Stripper Factory'.
  • They ask their female members to dress as 'Pirate Wenches' and to send pictures to the church of themselves dressed as such
  • Their official headgear is a colander

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/religion/12055350/Pastafarian-marriages-approved-in-New-Zealand.html

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