A federal judge in Nebraska has ruled that the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster (FSMism) is not a real religion, delivering a setback to practicing Pastafarians around the country.
In an order filed Tuesday, U.S. District Court Judge John M. Gerrard wrote that: “The Court finds that FSMism is not a ‘religion’ within the meaning of the relevant federal statutes and constitutional jurisprudence. It is, rather, a parody, intended to advance an argument about science, the evolution of life, and the place of religion in public education.
While Gerrard seems to find satirical value in FSMism, he balked at the argument of plaintiff Stephen Cavanaugh, currently a prisoner in the Nebraska State Penitentiary, that prison officials should “afford his ‘faith’ the same rights and privileges as religious groups, including ‘the ability to order and wear religious clothing and pendants, the right to meet for weekly worship services and classes and the right to receive communion.’”
(A footnote in the decision wryly notes that “Although Cavanaugh does not explain this in detail, it is clear from the FSM Gospel that “religious clothing” means a pirate costume and “communion” is, not surprisingly, “a large portion of spaghetti and meatballs.”)
This is not what the Founding Farfelles intended.