Christian Commentator: Pastafarians Are Mocking My Faith and I’m Offended

Larry Mendte of WXMI-TV in Michigan thinks religion is under attack.

His evidence? There are people who follow a newfangled religion called “pasta-fairy-ans”

He gets that it’s a joke, but he somehow sees a bigger problem with Aaron Williams recently trying to get his driver’s license picture with a strainer on his head as Pastafarianism commands. (And we know it’s a bigger problem because the camera zooms in waaaaay too close on his face.)

The problem is that these atheists are mocking Christianity! How dare we mock his faith?! Don’t we all know how fragile Christianity is? It’s, like, three jokes away from going extinct.

I don’t mock atheists, so don’t mock my religion! Faith in something greater than ourselves is an important underpinning of a civilized society.*

*Citation needed.

He’s right, though. Christians don’t really mock atheists. They just spread nasty stereotypes about us, bully students who are atheists, and refuse to vote for atheists for higher office… you get the idea.

But, again, how *dare* we make fun of Christian privilege?!

Then, just when you thought Mendte had spent all of his paranoia dollars, he explained the very definition of “slippery slope”:

Throughout history, when religions are mocked, attacked, oppressed, or even banned, societies crumble… And yet we see all the signs in this country, in our society, in the government, in our schools, and in the media. In America, a country born of religious freedom.

And that’s why I don’t think the pasta heads or their spaghetti god are funny. They are just symptoms of something far more destructive.

I had no idea Pastafarians were really part of an elaborate scheme to ban all religion from this country… I mean, religion has always been a force for good in the world. Right…?

He’s lucky all we’re doing is mocking faith. No atheist group is out there trying to oppress Christians. We fight for equality, not special treatment, no matter how pastors and pundits try to spin it the other way.

What Mendte doesn’t get is that religious freedom means you are free to believe whatever you want. It doesn’t mean you’re automatically immune from criticism or mockery — especially when your religion requires belief in things like resurrection, miracles, prayer, sin resulting from the eating of an apple, people who live for hundreds of years, and a virgin birth.

Talk about someone who doesn’t get the joke. Let’s hope Mendte never comes across The Onion or he’s going to go completely apeshit.

About Hemant Mehta

Hemant Mehta is the chair of Foundation Beyond Belief and a high school math teacher in the suburbs of Chicago. He began writing the Friendly Atheist blog in 2006. His latest book is called The Young Atheist's Survival Guide.

  • TiltedHorizon

    “And that’s why I don’t think the pasta heads or their spaghetti god are funny.”

    Oh-Oh! Larry Mendte broke the first “I’d Really Rather You Didn’t”; “I’d Really Rather You Didn’t Act Like A Sanctimonious Holier-Than-Thou Ass When Describing My Noodly Goodness.”

    Mendte is so lucky that I am a member of the only correct faith, else I would have to “love” him with death threats, intimidation, media attacks, and refusal of services.

    Ramen and a pesto be upon thee Larry.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/John-Evans/1017276335 John Evans

      But are you Orthodox or Reform Pastafarian? Where do you stand on the connection between global climate and Carribean piracy?

      • http://boldquestions.wordpress.com/ Ubi Dubium

        Well, I stand next to the buffet.

      • Bad_homonym

        Isn’t the real debate Marinara or Alfredo?

        • http://www.flickr.com/photos/chidy/ chicago dyke

          indeed. the alfredian heresy threatens to tear our faith apart.

        • http://www.facebook.com/people/Chris-Muir/100001962837531 Chris Muir

          Hah! Everyone knows that the True Sauce is the Pesto of St. Basil of the Holy Parmesan! But woe be to the heretical Pagasa of Mexico, with their Holy Guacamole…

        • CultOfReason

          Brothers and Sisters. Enjoy the pasta in all its varieties. The differences are there for us to enjoy, not to bicker over.

          Ramen and pesto be upon you…

          • TiltedHorizon

            My son came out as a Macheesian, I disowned him, pesto “this” you heathen.

            lol

      • TiltedHorizon

        Alfredo!?! Pa-lease! I would not sully my fork with those heretical reformists.

        • http://twitter.com/JuanaBeeri Richard Ewald

          Praise Cheeses!

      • Graham Martin-Royle

        Personally I follow the edicts of the Walking Tagliatelli Fiend (I wish I could remember who first put me on to them so that I could give the credit to them).

      • Mairianna

        I attend the Cathedral of Saints Olio y Oglio. We believe that butter and EVOO are transubstantiated as the true body and blood of the Spaghetti Monster.

  • Darkknight56

    I’m sure that when he.talks about religion being attacked and society crumbling he is only referring to Christianity and is not including Hinduism or Islam.

    • Derrik Pates

      But you see, those aren’t “real” religions. They’re not worthy of his, or anyone else’s, respect. His religion is, because it’s true. [citation needed]

  • Reginald Selkirk

    If you seek to avoid ridicule, be less ridiculous.

    • Ray

      Good one. I’m stealing that Reginald.

      • Guest

        I have quoted you, with credit. Well done!

    • Jason Hamilton

      I have quoted you, with proper credit of course. Well done!

      • Reginald Selkirk

        I suspect it is not an original sentiment, although a brief web search failed to turn up a source. Maybe the wording of the original was slightly different. It reminds me of Voltaire, but I’m not sure where I might have picked it up.

  • TheBlackCat13

    “I don’t mock atheists,” I just claim that your very existence is destroying civilization, which is so much better.

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/friendlyatheist/ Kevin_Of_Bangor

      Maybe I should change my name to Kevin the destroyer of civilization.

      • Old Fogey

        I think we could assume that from your indicated location.

    • http://www.facebook.com/Kailoa Kailoa Pulupēikemele

      Frankly, my dear Mendte, I’d rather be mocked!

  • http://www.laughinginpurgatory.com/ Andrew Hall

    The pasta strainer: the fifth column of al dente evil.

  • http://twitter.com/greenwoods4727 Eric Greenwood

    Or him to find landover baptist church ;) ,. a major parody site

  • SecularPatriot

    If Mr. Mendte could provide a step-by-step process to tell the difference between a mock religion and a “real” religion, that’d be great.

    • LesterBallard

      I think it’s that his religion is real; other religions are mock religions.

  • joethemayor

    Because of course, Larry Mendte is an upstanding, moral Christian that gets to decide what is worthy of mockery or not. That is, if you forget the part of his life where he was in an “improper” relationship with a co-anchor on a news broadcast in Philadelphia and was investigated by the FBI for hacking into her email and feeding details of her life to reporters in retribution after their relationship was discovered by his wife. He had to leave Philadelphia in disgrace after admitting that he had done the email hacking. But I won’t mock him for that. http://www.philly.com/philly/blogs/phillygossip/Larry_Mendte_admits_to_an_improper_relationship_with_Alycia_Lane.html

    • TicklishMeerkat

      Wow. If you won’t, then I’ll volunteer.

      Bet this guy wishes the internet didn’t exist.

    • http://www.facebook.com/larry.carrington.37 Larry Carrington

      I saw Larry Mendte of Michigan in the first line and immediately began to wonder if that was the Larry Mendte of Philadelphia. I remember watching his mea culpa news conference. He said he was going to dedicate his life to educating people on why they should not hack their co-workers computers to spy on them. Apparently, until he was arrested and fired, he didn’t realize it was wrong.

      • http://www.facebook.com/Kailoa Kailoa Pulupēikemele

        Of course not! There is no mention of “e-mail” in the Ten Commandments. And, no doubt his “relationship” with his co-anchor wasn’t really adultery because, … well, …. his wife just didn’t understand him.

  • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ wmdkitty

    BRB, calling Whine-One-One. They’ll send a Whaaaambulance shortly.

    • http://gloomcookie613.tumblr.com GloomCookie613

      We need to get him some ointment for that butthurt, STAT!

  • flyb

    He’s trying wayyyyy too hard to be like Bill Maher. It’s not working.

  • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

    Throughout history, when criticism is mocked, attacked, oppressed, or even banned, societies crumble.

    • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ wmdkitty

      I want to “like” this a thousand times, but it only lets me do so once.

      • http://www.flickr.com/photos/chidy/ chicago dyke

        i did it for you.

    • Randay

      I don’t care if faith-heads mock me because I consider the source. BTW, what is the difference between a mock religion and any “accepted” religion?

      Richard Dawkins made a remark, “Why are there so many old people in the churches? Because they’re cramming for the final.” He attributes it to an Australian he met.

    • TheodoreSeeber

      I would like you to point to proof of that statement.

      • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

        I’ve hesitated to reply, because we’ve had several conversations in the past, and our thought processes are so completely different that I don’t think we’ve achieved any real dialog.

        However in your case I think your question is an honest one.

        I don’t think either my statement or the original holds up to rigorous inspection. ‘Throughout history’ is both broad and vague, ‘societies’ is vague, and so is ‘crumble’. AND even if you nailed all that down it’s implying causation when it would be difficult to even show correlation.

        However the real point of my comment was to point out that his comment wasn’t really calling for respect but censorship. The context is necessary for it to make any sense.

  • anniewhoo

    I only watched the whole thing because I thought it was an infomercial. I was hoping to find out where I could purchase a magic picture desk just like Larry’s!

  • http://twitter.com/AndresC64 Andres Carneiro

    There is, in fact, nothing about religious opinions that entitles them to any more respect than other opinions get.
    – H.L. Mencken.

  • stojadinovicp

    I’m sorry, if this is not the absolute winner for the Captain Obvious award, I don’t know who is…

  • http://www.last.fm/user/m6wg4bxw m6wg4bxw

    For a change, it would be refreshing to hear or read a Christian expressing thanks for persecution and the blessings that accompany it. But no, it’s constant bitching.

  • Daniel

    You’re so funny! Your god is as real as the FSM! So, get it over…. You don’t mock atheists, but you bully them, don’t allow them to work in public offices, boycott their businesses, etc…. Don’t play the “crying baby” role.

  • Christine

    I’m going to have to disagree with you. Faith in something greater than ourselves is indeed an important part of society. It’s the whole idea of what society is. If you don’t believe that a group of people working together can do more than a bunch of individuals, if you don’t believe that certain things are worth upholding, then why support society?

    Now, if Mendte wants to claim that belief in a supernatural being is an important underpinning of civilized society, I’ll stop wondering how a correct statement managed to sneak into his rant.

    • Carpinions

      What you’re describing about society is not faith; it’s a demonstrable fact that has come about through the observation of large groupings of humans operating within an agreed-upon legal and operational structure held together by the glues of trust, currency, etc.

      Faith is believing something willingly without evidence. What we have in many countries is merely the belief that we need faith as an “underpinning of society”. And how can it truly be an underpinning if it’s often different to a man? That’s the antithesis of group action.

    • TheBlackCat13

      If you really believe that is what Mendte is referring to then I have a bridge in Brooklyn to sell you.

      • Christine

        My optimism hasn’t overcome my common sense to that point yet.

  • Carpinions

    “I don’t mock atheists, so don’t mock my religion!”

    Nevermind the fact that the millisecond an atheist tries to justify being an atheist, Christians – especially – attack them with charges of Nazism, Communism, etc. etc. ad nauseum, and by corollary the deaths of hundreds of millions of people over the last 100 years. Who needs name calling with ad hominem like that?

    • Carpinions

      Pff, of course I post before watching the video, in which he implies exactly what I posted.

  • baal

    @1:34 “Most who claim to follow the FSM are [wait for it.....] atheists!!!!”

    Most? Throughout the bit I kept wondering if he thinks anyone actually believes in his noodlyness. It seems that he does.

    • baal

      hrm, that @1 is supposed to be a time stamp for 1 minute and 34 seconds.

  • Randomfactor

    Well, if we can’t mock them, we’ll just have to follow their historical example and burn them at the stake.

  • Randomfactor

    Stephen Jones nailed it (writing about the fight against Scientology):

    “A walk down the path of history is crunchy with the crispy corpses of
    those who pooh-poohed or ignored the clown car of ridicule when it
    pulled-up to the curb. Who would have thought such a tiny car could
    contain so many infectious and revolutionary guffaws? Satires,
    parodies, blue humor, pants to the ground ass-wavings, tea-dumping,
    Modest Proposal submitting, 7 dirty word spewing, flag burning, frankly
    impolite, just plain rude and improper expressions of ridicule have
    either ignited reform, fanned the flames or kicked the corpse to make
    sure it was dead.”

  • Jon Peterson

    (To Mendte:) Kinda behind the times, good fellow.

  • Carpinions

    “Throughout history, when religions are mocked, attacked, oppressed, or even banned, societies crumble…”

    Hardly. First of all, Germany very obviously did not crumble from within, and they certainly weren’t devoid of religion, so mega-history fail there. If one were to argue that Germany DID crumble from within, we have to look no further than a grade school history book to find out it was because of poor military strategy. But even if Nazi Germany was atheist (which is demonstrably false), and every other detail remained as is, German society under the Nazis very arguably was thriving more than it had in the 2 decades leading up to the emergence of the Third Reich. It’s just that their newfound profligate status came literally on the backs and skulls of the rest of Europe while being led by a certifiable murdering sadist and mad man (who still kept a personal religion). Red China? An instance of a country under the thumb of an enemy – thus arguably in disarray caused by an external force that had a religion, Zen Buddhism – pushing that force back and building itself up (in however ugly a way that came about) to choose its make its own future (however flawed). The same could be said of Soviet Russia, who may have been ruled by a paranoid despot, but was in fact attacked and who lost many millions of citizens to the war alone. Communism may not be the sort of organizing force people like Mendte demand, but it did organize Russia and China for several decades; they weren’t states ruled by anarchy. He may also not think that the communistic worship of the state is a religion – actually he may…conservatives believe or disbelieve this at their argumentative convenience – but it is, especially if North Korea is to be a worthy example.

    As usual this is another theist idiot drunk on BS and spouting it like it is, well, gospel.

  • http://twitter.com/SouthHumanist SouthernHumanist

    That guy’s desk is awesome!

  • viaten

    “You really don’t know”, and neither do you.

  • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson
    • http://www.flickr.com/photos/chidy/ chicago dyke

      thanks for that, Rich. i’d never seen that before. heh.

    • cipher

      That was back in the day, when South Park was occasionally funny and came close to being the social satire those two con artists claim it to be.

      Lasted for about ten minutes.

  • Paul Iannacone

    A couple years ago, my former (almost) brother-in-law sold some concert tickets on ebay to this guy, while he was an anchor for the Philly station. I think the tickets were for his kid, but that is unimportant. When he showed up to make the face-to-face exchange, Mendte was about $20 short of the agreed-upon price. But, that’s OK, he gave the guy an autographed NBC10 hat instead. This was obviously before he hacked his coworker’s emails.
    You stay classy, Larry Mendte

    • http://www.facebook.com/Kailoa Kailoa Pulupēikemele

      Frankly I would told him to shove his damn hat up his ass and pay the agreed on price or forget getting the tickets.

  • http://boldquestions.wordpress.com/ Ubi Dubium

    We’re not mocking faith. We’re mocking faithheads! We’re mocking the way the godbots try to shove their religion “in our schools and in our government and in the media”, and everywhere else it doesn’t belong. And we’re mocking the way guys like him take themselves way too seriously.

    If he could follow George Carlin’s commandment of “Thou shalt keep thy religion to thyself” he’d shortly find that nobody was mocking him anymore.

    • bethelj

      Not true. Humans have always mocked those who are different from themselves. It’s part of what builds and reinforces tribalism. He doesn’t have a right to not be offended, but he has the right to dislike people who mock him, to say or write that, and to avoid them as much as possible. Is that the desired outcome?

  • A3Kr0n

    He wasn’t mocking my religion by saying “spaghetti head”, right?

  • northierthanthou.com

    At the risk of a sports metaphor, people always notice the football player that hits back. It may well be that religions don’t strike through mockery (or at least that isn’t necessarily their main weapon), but they certainly do strike at all of us. Christianity does so by demeaning life itself, and the value of all life without Jesus. It all comes short by their definition, and none of us are worthy in the eyes of their God. That’s a Hell of a slander if it isn’t true, and it isn’t. This may be so taken for granted that people forget the accusation, but it’s central to the Christian faith in general (and their missionary efforts in particular). It’s also what gets the ire going to fuel that mockery.

  • Javier

    To clarify, Mendte does not work for WXMI in Grand Rapids MI. While this video does appear on WXMI’s website, he is actually nationally syndicated.

  • Urbane_Gorilla

    Would Larry Mendte have been less offended if Aaron Williams had rolled into the DMV with a crown of thorns and dragging a cross behind him?

  • Rain

    Pastafarians aren’t taking away your religion, they’re adding to the religions. Now you have more choices than you did before. That guy on the video does a good Bill O’Reilly impersonation except with more camera angles. I wonder if he’s in show biz. He should take some Orson Welles lessons for camera angles.

  • Phil

    Guess what, Mendte, you have no right to not be offended. If your ideas and philosophies cannot stand on their own merits, they’re fair game. Get over your sanctimonious self! Being offended and being persecuted are two completely different things.

  • http://friendlyatheist.com Richard Wade

    Don’t we all know how fragile Christianity is? It’s, like, three jokes away from going extinct.

    Well that’s a pretty good one, so we only have two more jokes to finish this thing off. C’mon, people, let’s get this done!

    A Christian, a Jew, and a Muslim walk into a bar…

    • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ wmdkitty

      The Atheist ducked.

  • DougI

    If society collapses because a couple people wear pasta strainers then civilization was already doomed.

  • Verimius Reinstorff

    Correction: Faith in something greater than ourselves WAS an important underpinning of a civilized society.

  • http://www.facebook.com/karen.uncoolmom Cary Whitman

    Here’s what I’d like to say to this guy: How dare you claim that the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster is not a real church! Just because it was made up fairly recently, and has different veiws from your church doesn’t make it any less of a church! Mormonism and Scientology were made up fairly recently too, are you saying they are not “real” churches either? Who gave you the right to decide what a “real” church is? And do you really want to start going there? Because how are you going to feel when someone starts telling you YOUR church isn’t “real”? The problem with all churches is that they all have an underlying belief that they are the one true church, so they should get special privileges, there’s no tolerance of anything different.

  • http://www.facebook.com/winter.hannahward Winter Hannah-Ward

    https://petitions.whitehouse.gov/petition/officially-recognize-religion-pastafarianism-whose-god-flying-spaghetti-monster/7fdgWT37

    please sign this petition – yes, it’s a joke, but these xians need a wake up call.

    • cipher

      Not a good idea; makes us appear frivolous.

  • johnlev

    HOW DARE HE CALL MY FAITH A SATIRE!!!! For it is written in the Gospel of the FSM (Sauce be upon Him):

    “He who thou denith ME shall be forced warm beer and moldy pasta” – Rago 8:3

    “For surly I say unto you; it is easier to eat uncooked spaghetti than it is for a cat to make pizza” – Oregano 16:H

    “All one has to do is look around. MY noodleness is self evident” – Binge night 12:34AM

    I ask all of you to please eat lots of Pasta and ask that this guy be touched (not in a catholic church way) by HIS Noodly Appendage. RAmen.

  • jophlev

    HOW DARE HE CALL MY FAITH A SATIRE!!!! For it is written in the Gospel of the FSM (Sauce be upon Him):

    “He who thou denith ME shall be forced warm beer and moldy pasta” – Rago 8:3

    “For surly I say unto you; it is easier to eat uncooked spaghetti than it is for a cat to make pizza” – Oregano 16:H

    “All one has to do is look around. MY noodleness is self evident” – Binge night 12:34AM

    I ask all of you to please eat lots of Pasta, drink beer and ask that this guy be touched by HIS Noodley Appendage. But not in the Catholic Church way.

    • The Other Weirdo

      Too much of a Good Thing(tm) leads to Hell of Fat and Despair of the Round Belly.

  • Chajado

    He reminds me of when Norm Macdonald would do Larry King on SNL.

  • r.holmgren

    Wow, Selkirk starts off with excellence and almost every comment after that is funny till it hurts good. Nice
    thesauros-store.blogspot.com

  • LoudGuitr

    The only thing more pathetic than an ignorant person is a whining, ignorant person. Nobody cares if you are offended.

  • http://www.facebook.com/johndhutcheson John Hutcheson

    Theo-fascism is just as bad as any other fascism. If it can be defeated with laughter, ’tis better to laugh, than to point a gun.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1351473675 Matthew Baker

    I would like to meet the first caveman that convinced his fellow cavemen that faith is a virtue and shake his hand because he had to have been one of the first geniuses. He would be proud to know that his meme is still going strong.

  • cathouseumbrella

    Let’s be honest here Larry, the guy with the colander on his head is mocking Jews and Muslims more than he’s mocking Christians.

  • Alvaro Delgris

    Oh no!
    Heaven forbid that thousands of people should worship a silly concept!

  • TheodoreSeeber

    His faith is in pasta with meatballs? I’d say he’s not much of a Christian, but I feel the same about some 48% of the Christians on this planet.

  • BigBalls

    Atheists are smart if they admit to know nothing.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1019743497 David Rodgers

    As a long-standing member of The Western Branch of American Reform Presbylutheranism, I must agree with Larry. I think the flying spaghetti monster is a very unfair parody of our legitimate historical battle to have the right to attend church with wet hair. I find the spaghetti sauce copy of our beliefs to be a very offensive to what we have worked so hard to achieve.

  • http://www.facebook.com/corey.williams.142 Corey Williams

    I like how he said that “it still is a faith; a belief, if you will. You really don’t know.” By implication, the fact that he has faith means that he doesn’t know, either.. therefore, he doesn’t know if there’s a God.

  • realist

    I am a pastafarian and I am offended that you are so openly mock my religion!

  • Paul

    FFS you pr1ck. Grow a set of balls.The Spaghetti monster is REAL! I hear him talking to me through in my thoughts and dreams. Don’t mock Christianity? Prove it’s not a complete pile of sh1t then, no different to ANY other religion including pastafarianism you fool!

  • viddy9

    This guy is just popularising the myth that Nazism was secular or atheist. When will these frivolous religious people learn?

  • Jitterbits

    So, we’re a country of religious freedom… as long as the religion is okayed by this guy? Pastafarianism is as valid a belief system as any other religion…

  • Atheist king

    Christian: Can you stop mocking my faith?

    Atheist: Sure, as soon as you remove all the passages from your scriptures that call us evils, fools and worthy of eternal torture. As soon as you tell your preachers to stop demonizing and calling us a threat to society. Maybe after that i’ll consider it. Until that shut your hypocritical mouth.

    Thank you


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