Blog Against Theocracy: Pastafarian Suspended From School


Pastafarian, Bryan Killian, was suspended from school because of his religious attire in North Buncombe, North Carolina. Apparently the school warned him repeatedly to not wear the clothing to school, yet Killian persisted, remaining true to his faith. Read more below the fold.

Okay, for those that don’t know (can there be anyone that doesn’t?), Pastafarianism is the religion of the Flying Spaghetti Monster. Its adherents believe that the world was created by a touch from his Noodly Appendage and that it is the worldwide decline in the pirate population which has directly contributed to global warming.

Pastafarianism and the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster are a farce. No doubt about it. But I find the introduction of it to be hilariously problematic for the fundamentalist nutbars that demand pseudoscientific claims and religion be taught in science classes and that the fact of evolution be denigrated to something less than a hypothesis despite the overwhelming amount of evidence that supports it. If you are a fundamentalist, how can you truly deny the FSM? How can you criticize it without criticizing your own beliefs? Indeed, that is probably the very point that Bobby Henderson was making when he wrote to the Kansas School Board during their ‘intelligent’ design hearings. Henderson’s open letter demanded that the FSM version of creation via Noodly Appendage be taught alongside ID and evolution or be sued.

The obvious criticism by the religious is that the FSM is concocted and not meant to be serious, but there’s absolutely no more way to demonstrate this than there is the same criticism of Yahweh, Allah, Brahma, Elohim, Jesus, etc. In fact, I’ll quote such a criticism that I recently encountered:

If a fool can concoct something and get attract a following in the name of religion it indicates that the understanding of religion has left the public sphere – just like if I could sell gold spray painted granite on the gold market it would indicate that the knowledge of what gold is has left the public sphere (even though people might say the word “gold” quite profusely)

My response was this: each of the religions of humanity may very well be nothing more than “golden spray.” And their followers are only willing to scrape away the sprays of cults other than their own, whilst believing that their own cult is gold all the way through. To the believer, there is no reason to scrap at the surface to see if its just spray, since their doctrine tells them it isn’t.

This is the beauty of the Pastafarian movement and the Flying Spaghetti Monster. It exposes the religious for what they are as they go on about how its an “invented” religion and “obviously” not real.

The North Buncombe school that suspended Killian maintains that it was his pirate outfit which was the reason for the suspension, since it was disruptive. The very outfit that Killian stated was important for his religion and in appropriately representing his religion. I wonder if the school would be willing to extend its disruption policy to yarmulkes and kippas? Probably not. But what about a dishdasha or a hijab or even a burqa? What if a student wore a t-shirt with a graphic scene from the Passion of the Christ plastered on the front? Would school officials have the courage to be seen as insensitive to other cultures? Its easy enough to argue that there are public schools where Muslim girls wear abayas and hijabs every day without disruption. But, I assure you, there are public schools in Texas where such garb would be very disruptive if for the only reason that the students there have never seen the outfits before.

I don’t think schools should be in the practice of banning religious garb they feel is disruptive. I do, however, think that there should be some limitations: hijabs are one thing, complete obscured faces and burkas are another. An Errol Flynn shirt and a tri-cornered hat are one thing, a sword and live parrot are another. But whether or not the FSM and Pastafarianism are both purely invented or not, Killians school may have opened a can of worms it might wish it hadn’t.

About Carl Feagans 313 Articles
Professional archaeologist that currently works for the United States Forest Service at the Land Between the Lakes Recreation Area in Kentucky and Tennessee. I'm also a 12-year veteran of the U.S. Army and spent another 10 years doing adventure programming with at-risk teens before earning my master's degree at the University of Texas at Arlington.

15 Comments

  1. > If you are a fundamentalist, how can you truly deny the FSM? How can you criticize it without criticizing your own beliefs?
    Simple: Creation by FSM and/or evolution are false. The Lord is the creator. Just read Genesis 1-3

  2. If you are a Pastafarian, how can you truly deny God? How can you criticize it without criticizing your own beliefs?
    Simple: Creation by God is false. FSM is the creator. Just read the beginning of FSM’s gospel.

  3. How can you say that we should read your bible and believe that “The Lord” is the creator, where one of the most common faults in the bible is the 7th day, where it states that the sun rose and set, and that was the 7th day, that obiously states contradictions to Evolutionary terms, which FSM covers, in that carbon dating is changed by his noodly appendage. Do not base your facts on a book riddled with contradictions to itself.

  4. um well people do care because it’s a religion and obviously people care i just wish that people wouldn’t care wether or not
    other people care
    Thanks
    Zarquirian

  5. HOw Dare you deny the sacred trueness of His Noodly Appendage. I damn you to the tapioca of everlastinness

  6. Objectively, there is more evidence of the FSM than of the Christian God.

    Consider: If the world was made, a good creator would have made it as close to creation as possible. If the creator was perfect, this would involve lots of things that look like him.

    The image of God is Man. The image of the FSM is squiggles. I put it to you that there are more squiggles on earth than men. QED.

  7. I would just like to say that the logic in the post above me is flawless. There ARE more squiggles. I’m converted.

    What’s sad is that this kind of reasoning is more logical than that of ‘fundamental,’ and that people believe a flawed, contradictory book like the Bible is perfect, and contains the will of God.

  8. Most people don’t even know what the Bible (or any other book) actually says. That’s just for starters.

    Beyond that, no one has ever shown that the Bible (or any other book) contains a true account of creation, or much of anything. It makes as much sense to base beliefs on the Bible, as it does on Rig Veda, Bhagavad Gita, the Koran, or the FSM scripture, such as it is… they are all equally valid… or invalid.

  9. You’re basic premise is false. In seeking to teach intelligent design, they aren’t seeking to push a specific religion, Intelligent design theories do not necessarily include a GOD, or even, for that matter, EXCLUDE evolution. Intelligent design can include the creation by an alien race doing experiments or a test, a benevolent diety, a spaghetti monster, or even some existentialist theories that we DON’T exist but are in fact figments of someone/things imagination.

    Thusly, your entire premise is faulty. You original letter was asking for something more than what intelligent design is.

    Now as far as theories for high school, frankly, NEITHER evolution or intelligent design belong there. As soon as you step out of law and into theory, whatever it is, it is not high school curriculum. You don’t hear political theory in your high school government class, you don’t hear theoretical math. High school is a place of facts, theory belongs in college, where more mature minds can process the difference.

    The fact is biology is not “enhanced” by knowing the theory of evolution on a high school level. All that it has done for years and years is create unneeded controversy. Why bring controversy to our schools which should be worrying about far more important things?

  10. First, thank you for posting a comment. Even if this is a rather old post.

    But I would say, as would many, that your claim that “intelligent design theories do not necessarily include a GOD, or even, for that matter, EXCLUDE evolution” is utterly wrong.

    That “intelligent” design is a movement that is not only one that necessitates not just a god, but the Christian god, has been demonstrated without question in a court of law (google the Dover, PA case). ID proponents argue that evolution is false on the premise of “irreducible complexity,” the notion that some things, like the eye or the flagellum, are too complex to have evolved. They are of course wrong, and demonstrably so, but they are excluding evolution. You mention the possibility of life being the experiment of an alien race as being an example of how ID can occur without a god, but you fail to address the issue of the alien life: did it evolve via natural selection elsewhere in the universe or was it a special creation of a god. If the former, then why not use Occam’s Razor until evidence of this “experimentation” is apparent, that is, evolution by natural is the more parsimonious explanation. If the latter, then what you’re saying is that ID involves a god after all.

    My premises are without fault. Yours, however, have more holes than the colander I strained spaghetti from just tonight (pbuhna).

    Evolution is a fact, one supported by theories. Of these theories is the over-arching theory of evolution. What you’re guilty of is equivocating the colloquial term “theory” with the scientific term. The colloquial term refers to guess or idle speculation. However, a theory in science is far more. Moreover, you seem to not understand the term “law” as it applies to science. The theory of evolution by natural selection is a fact that is supported by many laws of science as well as many, many tested hypotheses. Theories in science are well-substantiated, well-supported, well-documented observations that give well-ordered explanations. The theory of gravity, atomic theory, and germ theory are but a few, indisputable theories that have a power of explanation that include many laws. And, in case you were under this ignorant assumption, theories do not aspire to graduate to laws. These are different animals altogether.

    And I should hope that you’re wrong about not hearing other theories in other subjects in high school. Indeed, I should think an education in basic geometry and algebra would completely remiss without theories like the Pythagorean theorem. High school economics would likewise be expected to discuss supply and demand, which is, I’m afraid, an economic theory. And a high school government class that is able to successfully avoid discussion of democracy is not one that I’d recommend. Democracy is, after all, a political theory.

    Evolution is a fact. One born out by mountains of evidence that is continually refined and enlarged. Its a fact that is best understood by obtaining an education in the theory of evolution by natural selection -an education you clearly are deficit in. And it not only should be taught in high school, it must be if the United States has any desire to continue to be a major power in the world. Our poor education in the sciences is fast becoming our greatest weakness.

    Any blame for unneeded controversy resides solely on the ignorant and the superstitious who refuse to obtain educations.

  11. RAmen, Brother Josh. Your logic is sound. The problem is that the ignorant/superstitious can’t be swayed by logic. They have “Faith,” which is an impenetrable shield against any logic that contradicts their beliefs. While mainstream Christians have no problem disbelieving Joseph Smith’s “golden plates,” or Mohammed’s dialog with Moses, their own beliefs are never subjected to the same judicial scrutiny.

  12. I say let the kid wear his holy pirate gear. A lot of kids dress like clowns these days, alongside which a pirate costume seems eminently sensible.

  13. RAmen, Brother Josh,

    Your explanation is superb. I’m afraid that we are up against a group of people who are so frightened by reality, that they quite literally put their fingers in their ears, and go,”Na,na,na,na…” while your note is being read to them.

    Ridicule is the only weapon which can be used against unintelligible propositions. Ideas must be distinct before reason can act upon them
    — Thomas Jefferson

    It says something about the idiocy of our age that one finds oneself having to come up with new arguments in favor of the thesis that anvils don’t float.

    RAmen,
    plumberbob

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