In the realm of out-there religions, the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster is almost universally considered to be one of the most bizarre of the bunch. Still, that hasn't stopped New Zealand from taking a stride for religious equality in allowing ordained ministers of the Pastafarian sect to join couples together in holy bolognese matrimony.
After the Flying Spaghetti Monster Church's New Zealand head applied in November, it was a relatively speedy process to get them approved for issuing marriage licenses. The general register, Jeff Montgomery, told Stuff NZ that as the applicants were genuinely seeking to "uphold or promote religious beliefs, philosophical or humanitarian convictions," there was no reason to deny them despite the relatively young history of their ideas and what might be considered by some to be outlandish tenets.
"In considering the matter I have referred to the Objects of the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster, reviewed material available online about this organization and considered other organizations 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 organization', members have rebutted this on a number of occasions."
"As register-general it is my role to apply the relevant legislation. In this case, my decision can only be based on whether the organization upholds or promotes religious beliefs, or philosophical or humanitarian convictions... No judgment is made on the validity of those beliefs or convictions."
The Flying Spaghetti Monster Church has faced difficulty in gaining the same rights that other religions maintain in several countries typically lauded for religious freedom. In some places, Pastafarians have attempted to take their driver's license photos wearing colanders on their head. In Canada, where the sect still cannot perform weddings, a man was denied to do so in 2014, reported CTV.
"They said that they will not be issuing me my photo licence because they understand there is no religious requirement that prohibits me from removing the colander. The truth is, sometimes I have the religious inkling to wear my colander."
"I think we can all look forward to the time when these three theories are given equal time in our science classrooms across the country, and eventually the world; One third time for Intelligent Design, one third time for Flying Spaghetti Monsterism, and one third time for logical conjecture based on overwhelming observable evidence."
Would you allow an ordained Flying Spaghetti Monster minister to marry you?
[Image via John Dill/Flickr]