Aaron Williams, a 25-year old resident of New Jersey, tried to get a driver’s license photograph taken while wearing the headgear of his religion but the Bureau of Motor Vehicles refused to allow him to do so and called the police when he insisted on his rights. His argument was that if turbans and headscarves are allowed, then so should his choice of religious headgear.
But the officials and the police said that they would not allow him to wear a strainer on his head, which Williams said was a symbol of his religion of Pastafariansim, since he belongs to the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster. Williams finally consented to removing his headgear when he was told that “Pasta strainers were not covered by the MVC’s religious clothing policy, and he would need to take it up with the state.”
But Austrians seem to be more accommodating.
An Austrian atheist has won the right to be shown on his driving-licence photo wearing a pasta strainer as “religious headgear”.
Niko Alm first applied for the licence three years ago after reading that headgear was allowed in official pictures only for confessional reasons.
Mr Alm said the sieve was a requirement of his religion, pastafarianism.
Later a police spokesman explained that the licence was issued because Mr Alm’s face was fully visible in the photo.
“The photo was not approved on religious grounds. The only criterion for photos in driving licence applications is that the whole face must be visible,” said Manfred Reinthaler, a police spokesman in Vienna.
You can see Alm’s driver’s license photo above. His next goal is to get Pastafarianism be officially recognized as a faith.