Pastafarian Man Denied Religious Freedom in His B.C. Drivers License
This article discusses the concerns of a ‘Pastafarian’ man regarding his religious rights and freedoms. The Pastafarian religious movement is one of irony. The religious movement believes that a Flying Spaghetti Monster created the planet and that the only dogma allowed in the Church is the rejection of dogma. Therefore, the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster is a ‘religion’ that calls out the vast beliefs of other religions and mocks them in the form of their own religion. The issue that has been raised for this specific B.C. man is the hindrance of his ability to wear his religious headgear for his driver’s license photo. The Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster’s religious headgear worn by the B.C. man was a colander. A colander is a bowl used to strain liquid from food, like spaghetti. The Insurance Corporation of British Columbia (ICBC) website states that it honors individual’s rights “to religious expression. You will not be asked to remove any headgear that does not interfere with facial recognition technology as long as it is worn in conjunction with religious practice, or is needed as a result of medical treatment.” (1). This individual’s religious expression was not honored, as he never received his permanent drivers license in the mail. Instead months later the B.C. male received a letter that stated there was “no religious requirement that prohibits you from removing the colander for the purpose of taking the photo to appear on your driver’s license,” which concludes that he was not going to be able to wear his religious headgear in his identification card. After this news the B.C. man took the ordeal to the public, arguing that in New Zealand, Austria, the U.S., and Czech Republic, Pastafarians are allowed to wear strainers upon their head in driver’s license photos. The B.C. Pastafarian also argued that he didn’t believe that ICBC should be making decisions about what kind of religious headgear is appropriate or not. This issue is a prime example of how our multicultural country and its freedom of belief and religion can intersect into the public sector and create problems between religions that are well established and thousands of years old and between religions that spring up to almost attack the various, outlandish beliefs of those religions. The worldview created by the Canadian government regarding religion is that of freedom. Certain arrangements are made for those whose religions practices can interfere with Canadian laws and identification in order to more suit those of the practicing religion. What is seen with the B.C. man is just the same as those wearing hijabs, turbans, or various other types of headgear. Though the Pastafarian religion may not be a fully recognized Church, the Canadian government, more specifically, the ICBC has to recognize and honor the religious freedoms of this practicing Pastafarian B.C. man.