South Brunswick, NJ – Police responded to a call from motor vehicle workers about a self-proclaimed “Pastafarian” man who refused to take a spaghetti strainer off his head for his driver’s license photo.
South Brunswick police arrived at the MVC facility on Route 130 to deal with 25-year-old Aaron Williams, who was there to renew his driver’s license. Wearing a spaghetti strainer as a hat, Williams refused to have his picture taken without it due to his religious beliefs.
NJ.com reports that Williams practices Pastafarianism, otherwise known as the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster, a primarily atheistic movement opposed to the teaching of intelligent design and creationism in schools.
“I take it as seriously as anybody else when it comes to religious beliefs,” Williams said of the religion.
The police report said that Williams was advised that head coverings can only be worn for religious reasons, but authorities were summoned because Williams pulled out his cell phone and began recording the worker, which is a violation of motor vehicle policy.
Police told Williams that his spaghetti strainer was not approved religious attire, and that if he wanted, he could take up a complaint with the state.
He ultimately elected to have his photo taken without the spaghetti strainer, and deleted his cell phone video. When asked why he left his home in Atlantic City to have his license renewed at the South Brunswick location, he responded “I like it. It’s a nice, new office.”
This case bears several similarities to that of Niko Alm, a self-described Pastafarian from Austria. NPR reports that he fought for three years for the right to wear a spaghetti strainer as a hat in his driver’s license photos. Officials performed a mental health check on Alm, but ultimately let him wear it. He is pictured below: