New Jersey Pastafarian Told He Can’t Wear a Strainer on his Head When Taking a Drivers License Picture

A couple of years ago, Austrian Niko Alm won the right to wear a colander, the official headwear for Pastafarians, in his driver’s license picture:

Whether or not it was tongue-in-cheek, the thought behind it was that people of other religious faiths were allowed to wear headgear (Jewish men, Muslim women) so why not him?

Looks like 25-year-old Aaron Williams tried to do something similar in New Jersey a couple of weeks ago:

Motor vehicle workers in Dayton called police on a man who insisted on wearing a pasta strainer on his head during the taking of his driver’s license photo, according to a police report.

Reached by phone on Wednesday, Williams said he is serious about the movement.

“I take it as seriously as anybody else when it comes to religious beliefs,” he said.

I’ve reached out to Aaron for comment on this story and will post an update to this story if I hear back from him.

On a side note, the comment of the day goes to the guy who wrote:

I wonder if they locked him up in the State Penne.

About Hemant Mehta

Hemant Mehta is the editor of Friendly Atheist, appears on the Atheist Voice channel on YouTube, and co-hosts the uniquely-named Friendly Atheist Podcast. You can read much more about him here.

  • Brian Westley

    He should contact the American Colander Liberties Union.

  • Roger Bauman

    This is offensieve.

  • Rich Wilson

    We giggle, but there is an important principle here. We make special accommodation for religious belief that we don’t extend to other personal taste.

    If “God told me to” isn’t an excuse for killing your kids, then how it “God told me to” an excuse for wearing a hat? Either everyone gets to wear the hat, or nobody gets to wear the hat.

  • Sam Kay

    Uh… Should you be posting his address? =/

    His quote is a little off-putting. I would like to see Pastafarians be a little more serious in making their reasons clear. The point is that the government needs to stop putting up with religious nonsense.

  • Randomfactor

    Their religious exemption is like his chosen headgear: It doesn’t hold water (although it probably does strain gnats.)

  • bethelj

    What is the point of this: to “shame” everyone who identifies religiously with their clothing choices?
    Fine, wear a colander. It just seems a little attention seeking.

  • Feminerd

    Nope, the point is to be consistent. If you can wear silly things in the name of religion, anyone can wear any silly thing in the name of religion. Even if it’s not your religion or a mainstream religion.

  • Kengi

    No, the point isn’t to shame religious people. The point is to demonstrate the unfair privilege religious people have in our laws and society.

  • Reginald Selkirk

    If he were serious about his religious belief, he would move to Austria.

  • Kengi

    It’s a shame you think people should move out of the United States of America so they can seek equal treatment under the law. If only the US had some sort of law which guaranteed such treatment. Maybe we should create one!

  • Roy Gamsgrø

    Catholics that are serious about their faith should move to the Vatican?

  • A3Kr0n

    I hate living in a country run by a religious government.

  • Reginald Selkirk

    That works for me. If you have to explain your jokes, they are no longer funny.

  • rlrose328

    I do applaud his attempt at making a point, but they just don’t get it and never will.

  • John_in_Vegas

    The Flying Spaghetti Monster is an amusing parody, but as atheists and non-believers we should be looking for ways to dismantle religion and not to create another one. Instead of trying to grant aluminum hats status in the sacred realm, we could try to demystify religious traditions with history, archeology, science, medicine and other technological advances we’ve made since these traditions began. Educate instead of placate. In this case, more isn’t better.

  • Rain

    He should have bribed them.

  • Greg G.

    BMV manager Al Dente was not amused. He said, “If we allow people to wear colanders, tomorrow we’ll have people wearing spaghetti wigs with marinara and Parmesan cheese on top… Hey, is Olive Garden open?”

  • allein

    Ha, this made the “No Sweat News” on my local radio station’s morning show today. I guess there are worse things the locals could make that segment for.

  • Greg G.

    Who said it was funny before you explained it? Actually I thought it was funny and only wish I had beat you to it.

  • chicago dyke

    humor has its own power too.

    there are about a zillion posts, books, talks and youtubes out there by “serious” people who have all the academic skills you mention, arguing against belief and religion. but sometimes humor makes the point just as well.

    we can walk and chew pasta at the same time. and we should. Ramen.

  • Revyloution

    Randomfactor, you just won the internets! Congratulations.

  • Sindigo

    American Sieve-il Liberties Union, surely.

    Though then the initials don’t work. Tough one, that.

  • Smoo

    Who should governments get to decide what religions are approved and which are not?

  • Ibis3

    Um. Because killing children ends people’s lives, but wearing a hat is an accommodation that can be made without doing very much harm?

  • Rich Wilson

    Ya, it’s an over the top example, and I kind of wish I hadn’t taken it there. That said, why do we not allow headgear in general in the first place? If there’s a real reason for “no headgear”, then it should be absolute. If permitting the headgear isn’t doing very much harm, then why not allow the colander?

    The more I think about it, I think it’s not just an example of religious accommodation, it’s an example of a really dumb rule. If there’s a loophole, then I’d say thats prima facie evidence that the rule has no value.

  • John_in_Vegas

    Yes, humor has a place in the debate and can deliver a powerful message, however the concern that I have about the Pastafarian movement is that it seeks to become the very thing that it is against. Instead of weakening the religious argument with silly wordplay and analogies, it actually bolsters the argument when, in the case of the young man in New Jersey, someone tries to gain legitimacy for the movement.

    A false distinction is made between science and religion that says both can exist together in harmony. That’s impossible because religion is science and medicine-only as it was understood in the past. As technology advances and new discoveries are made, religion should retreat and become less credible, but when we create new situations that honor a new idea as religious, even if it is the lovable and wacky Pastafarians, we give traditional religion the strength to remain a viable opponent to reason.

    True atheism, cannot coexist with religion, as atheism is not just a statement of non-belief in a deity. It is the result of a process by which we expand our knowledge using verifiable evidence to explain the universe and our existence within it. That process will never be complete if we simply agree to coexist and do nothing to overrule and replace the related religious dogma as we move forward.

  • nojinx

    It is the wearing of aluminum hats that is demystifying religious traditions. It is the use of the parody that dismantles the religions it parodies. It is education by example, specifically the example of the self from without, the example of the outsider that mirrors the self. Sometimes it is too easy to ignore the irrationality of something when you already accept it or want to believe it. By providing a parallel but offset contrast, theists can see the problems of their beliefs in a new light, and hopefully gain a new perspective from it.

  • nojinx

    It is a US religion, started in the mid-west. He already lives in his Holy Land.