Georgia man Chris Avino created a lot of controversy after sporting a colander on his head for his temporary driver’s licenses photo. Chris Avino, claims to be a “Pastafarian” one who worships the “Flying Spaghetti Monster” and now Chris is fighting his religion with the DDS after being asked to re-take his photo without the colander.
— Chris Avino (@cavino) December 31, 2015
Georgia Department of Driver Services states that Georgia allows for citizens to wear a veil, scarf, or headdress in their photos. But “a colander is not a veil, scarf or headdress” says DDS top lawyer, Angelique McClendon.
The state “does not deem it appropriate to allow customers to be issued identification cards of licenses that portray satirical or offensive points of view,” McClendon added, describing Pastafarianism as “not a religion” but instead a “philosophy that mocks religion.”
“Just because a colander is not traditionally used as a headdress does not mean that it cannot serve that purpose,” he wrote to McClendon in response to her letter. “In fact, it does serve that purpose for the tens of thousands, perhaps even hundreds of thousands, of believers who claim Pastafarianism as their religion.”
Pastafarianism and its deity the Flying Spaghetti Monster were spawned in 2005, when Bobby Henderson mocked the Kansas Board of Education for allowing the teaching of Intelligent Design, a variation of creationism, in public schools. Since then, Pastafarians from around the world have won the right to wear a colander on their head in their driver’s license photos.
“You may find our beliefs to be strange, but as strange as you may feel they are, they are still our beliefs. Some may find it strange that Christians believe that Jonah spent ‘3 days in a whale’s belly’ according to some texts,” he wrote. “Some may find it strange that Muslims believe that Muhammad was carried to the seven heavens on the back of a winged horse. Some may find it strange that Scientologists believe that Xenu, the dictator of the Galactic Confederacy brought billions of people to earth in a DC-8-like spacecraft, stacked them around volcanoes, and killed them with hydrogen bombs. Maybe you, the reader of this letter, do not personally believe that Muhammad flew to heaven on a winged horse, but do you question the validity of Islam as a religion?”
Avino said the state of Georgia had no right to judge whether his choice of religion was valid or not.
“Our religion exists,” he concluded. “It is legitimate. It’s claims are no less valid than the claims of other recognized religions. I am in no way breaking the law or breaking any rules by wearing my religion’s headdress, a colander, during my driver’s license photo. But DDS is. DDS is infringing on my 1st amendment right to express my religious beliefs freely within the laws of the United States of America, within the laws of the state of Georgia, and within the rules of the DDS.”