Thursday, March 29, 2007

Freedom of religion for Pastafarians

This is patently outrageous. A kid is claiming he follows the Flying Spaghetti Monster religion and that his religion requires him to wear a pirate suit. He was suspended for being disruptive.

Outrageous. We'll assume, for the sake of argument, he does genuinely hold the belief (in my mind, believing in a spaghetti monster in the sky is no more or less rational than believing in a mad jealous god who smites people if they don't believe in him, or in a guy being born from a virgin and coming back to life and ascending into heaven and turning wine into blood (I like my wine as it is, thank you very much)). Anyway, I digress.

I'm sure the religious wackos would come down against this guy, agreeing that yes, his costume was disruptive.

The problem is, they come down on exactly the opposite side when it comes to mad Christians being disruptive. For example, they're strange bedfellows with the kid in the Bong Hits for Jesus case (recall that the kid, outside the school, had a poster saying that jesus likes pot or something similar and was suspended for being disruptive). They're on his side, because they want to be able to put up signs outside schools saying "Jesus thinks that being gay is bad" or "don't kill your foetus." They also routinely intervene in cases where kids wear t-shirts that say "the Bible says homosexuality is bad."

Of course, this is somewhat apples and nectarines. If the kid truly believes his religion and that it requires a certain dress, he should be allowed it. That's like a nutjob Christian needing to wear a crucifix (a macabre ornament if there ever were one).

That's entierly different from allowing a kid to be disruptive by saying "because of my religion, I believe that homosexuals are evil, and I should be allowed to say so." That's disruptive and not required by the religion.

Similarly, if the kid walked around saying "Arrrrrrrrrrr me hearties!" I'd be all for suspending him too.


Jason Bo Green said...

I like pastafarianism - it was invented to make a point, and, whether or not I disagree with each use that it is put to, I do think it makes that point well.

Dammit, if only I could remember the emoticon for the Flying Spaghetti Monster... grr!

IslandLiberal said...

"Flying Spaghetti Monsterism" is a satirical "religion", and everyone knows it. He is being disruptive and using a good-faith provision to try and get out of the consequences.

Regardless of what you think of Christianity (and it's clear you don't like it; a crucifix is not macabre; it's a sign of Christ's ultimate love and sacrifice), it is a genuine religion, and you're being incredibly disingenuous to compare it with FSM.

Dean P said...

Islandliberal: I'm not going to bow down to the nonsense that just because irrational beliefs happen to have been believed for a thousand years or so that they deserve some kind of added respect. They don't. Believing in a flying pasta monster is the same as believing in a prophet who had the word of god revealed to him is the same as believing in virgin births is the same as believing in fairies and dragons and unicorns. Who are you to judge whether it's a satirical religion or not? Typical christian nonsense: my religion is better than yours (see Sam Harris' dialogue with Andrew Sullivan), your beliefs aren't as good as mine.

And yes, a crucifix is macabre. If it weren't swathed in the "oh we can't criticize it" cloak of religion, any other symbol which had a half naked man nailed to a board would be considered grotesque.

But, of course, you're right, you're christian, god's on your side.