This Australian guy is wearing a pasta strainer in his driver's licence photo
The Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster is one step closer to legitimacy in Victoria, Australia, after a man was issued with a driver's licence showing him wearing a colander on his head.
Marcus Bowring, a search engine optimisation consultant, was issued the ID after he had his photo taken while dressed in the religion's customary headgear at the Carlton VicRoads office earlier this year.
The 34-year-old said he expected a steamy reception when he prepared to face the camera after a fellow Pastafarian initially had a similar request knocked back last year.
However when Bowring got to the front of the queue, he found that the response from VicRoads was less strained than he'd anticipated.
"I kept the strainer in a bag until it was time to take the photo because I was bit worried that there were a few bigots around that might not accept it," he said.
"But the young guy that was taking the photo was quite happy. He said something along the lines of 'respect' or 'well done'. He was perfectly fine with it."
While he was pleased the photo was taken without things boiling over, Bowring wasn't confident that his application would be accepted.
But just a few weeks later his licence arrived featuring the image that he'd dreamed of.
"As far as I'm aware no one has successfully got it on their licence in Victoria prior to me. I've done a bit of research," he said.
"Someone has to authorise them somewhere, I thought some bureaucrat would try and stop it happening. Until I actually received it I was doubting that it would be actually be processed."
Captain Tanya Watkins of the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster Australia said Victorian Pastafarians had been granted the licences wearing the strainers since January this year.
"To the Victorian Government we would like to extend our thanks and appreciation for their non-discriminatory policies," she said.
Pastafarianism has been described as a satire or parody of other forms of religion, but its adherents say the church is not a joke and that it has just as much legitimacy as other beliefs.
On its website, the church says it is not an "atheists club" and not anti-religion but "anti-crazy nonsense done in the name of religion".
Bowring said the rise in the popularity of Pastafarianism was a response to Christian creationism being taught in schools "without question".
He said "unlike other major religions", Pastafarians don't force "ridiculous rules and laws" on the private lives and bodies of other people.
"I'm all for removing laws based on all religions, which we currently have many of," he said. "Worst of all, they make it impossible to buy a slab of beer on Good Friday."
VicRoads licensing practice director Helen Linder declined to discuss Bowring's case for privacy reasons but said religious headgear was allowed as long as it didn't obscure the person's face.
She said VicRoads respected "all cultures and beliefs" and understood that many religions have "items of dress and appearance that hold special significance".
For the record, Bowring uses the same strainer he wore in his licence photo to make pasta for dinner. Spaghetti bolognese is his favourite.
"I can't help believing in such a delicious deity," he said.
- Canberra Times