Church of Flying Spaghetti Monster approved to perform marriages

The driving licence of 'Russell', an ordained minister of the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster wearing his ...

The driving licence of 'Russell', an ordained minister of the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster wearing his ceremonial "colander" headwear. The photo went viral last year.

They wear colanders on their heads and describe their religion as "pastafarianism".

Now the adherents of the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster have been approved to perform marriage ceremonies in New Zealand.

The application from the church was approved by the registrar-general of births, deaths and marriages and listed in the New Zealand Gazette.

So it's official, but there haven't been any applications for spaghetti-themed weddings. And adhering to the movement is not recognised - yet - in the census figures.

*Is that a colander on your head?
*Jedi census snub
No tax break for you, young Jedi

As a movement, the Flying Spaghetti Monster group started in the mid-2000s in the United States (where else?) as a protest against the teaching of intelligent design as an alternative to evolution in Kansas schools.

Some members of the movement have rejected the "parody" label.

Registrar-general of births, deaths and marriages Jeff Montgomery's decision said the church applied in November for approval as an organisation to solemnise marriages.

The church's chief office-bearer and 10 members applied.

A deep sea 'spaghetti monster' was captured on camera by scientists earlier this year.

A deep sea 'spaghetti monster' was captured on camera by scientists earlier this year.

They included a statutory declaration made before a solicitor and the "objects of the church".

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The application was approved under a sub-section of the Marriages Act, satisfying the registrar-general that the principal object of the organisation was to uphold or promote religious beliefs, philosophical or humanitarian convictions.

Montgomery said the purposes set out by the church were educating and training people, particularly atheists and superstitious people, about Flying Spaghetti principles and practices.

Those principles covered human rights, cultural and spiritual diversity, ethics, relieving poverty and advancing education. 

"In considering the matter I have referred to the Objects of the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster, reviewed material available online about this organisation and considered other organisations already able to nominate marriage celebrants.

"A review of media and the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster's international website show a consistent presentation of their philosophies. While some claim this is a 'parody organisation', members have rebutted this on a number of occasions."

New Zealand law does not define religious, or philosophical, organisations eligible for approval to perform marriages.

Most organisations approved to perform marriages are faith-based and cluster around well-known religious views.

However, alternative philosophies have been granted official licensing capabilities, including yoga, Wicca, Scientology, Heathen, Druidism, Humanism and Reiki spiritual healing.

"As registrar-general it is my role to apply the relevant legislation. In this case, my decision can only be based on whether the organisation upholds or promotes religious beliefs, or philosophical or humanitarian convictions.

"No judgment is made on the validity of those beliefs or convictions."

The next step for the church, if they choose to do so, is nominating a marriage celebrant for approval.

In Australia, the Spaghetti-ites say the group is in the process of establishing an official presence in "His Noodly Honour".

Last year, a Christchurch man known by his first name "Russell" appeared on Campbell Live after a driving licence photograph of him wearing a colander on his head went viral.

Russell said he was a member of the Flying Spaghetti Monster movement.

Earlier this year deep sea explorers, with tongues firmly in their cheeks, announced they had discovered a "real spaghetti monster."

And in September, the Department of Internal Affairs rejected an application by the Jedi Society Incorporated to be recognised as a charitable endeavour, including tax breaks. 

The society was established in April 2014, with an aim of acting as "guardians of peace" and keeping a particular eye on agents of the dark side of the force.

As well as protecting the galaxy, the society said it would promote the Jedi religion, build a temple and try to grow the number of Jedi adherents in New Zealand.

The First Church of Wicca and Ancient Crafts was approved to perform marriage ceremonies in New Zealand in 2009.

 - Stuff

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