“Let me make this clear. We are not anti-religion; we are anti-crazy nonsense done in the name of religion. There is a big difference. Our ideal is to scrutinize ideas and actions but ignore general labels,” Bobby Henderson said.
The Pastafarian religion, as described by its website, has been around for hundreds of years but was a secret until a letter by Henderson was written to the Kansas school board in May of 2005.
Although it may sound silly, the Pastafarian religion is legitimate. It is even supported by devout Christians, Hindus and people who follow the Jewish faith.
Pastafarians worship under the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster. There are no strict regulations, and the belief is that every member has a say in what becomes of the church.
Pirates were considered to be the original Pastafarians, and it is thought that because of Christians, society now sees them as outcasts.
Some things the Pastafarians believe in are: beer, every Friday is a Holiday, the embracement of contradictions and not to take anything too seriously.
But the religion was taking something pretty seriously not too far from Shippensburg.
In West Chester, Pa., Pastafarian Minister Tracy McPherson gave a speech in front of the Pennsylvania County Commissioners.
McPherson took a stand saying, “As I drove through West Chester, I saw the holiday displays in front of the courthouse. Prominently displayed were the Jewish Menorah and a Christian Nativity display, depicting the birth of Christ.”
But nothing was displayed for the Pastafarian religion.
From 2007 to 2009, the group was granted a place for their display on the courthouse lawn, but something changed in 2010. Since then, no other religion has been allowed to display any decoration on the courthouse lawn.
Commissioner Ryan Costello rejected changing the display from the year 2011. Commissioner Kathi Cozzone showed some interest in allowing non-Judeo-Christian displays on the lawn. The vote was left up to the third commissioner, Terence Farrell, who was the writer of the display guidelines last year.
The commissioners turned down McPherson’s request by a vote of 2–1.
McPherson still strives for justice for the Pastafarian religion. She has been trying to set up an appearance on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart.
McPherson said on her Facebook page, “As your minister, I am now exploring legal options to bring equality to this county.”
Colleen O’Connell is a Shippensburg University student from West Chester.
“I just think it’s really wrong. I don’t think it’s fair that people have to be marginalized just because someone thinks they’re a little different,” O’Connell said.
“With millions, if not thousands of devout worshippers, the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster is widely considered a legitimate religion, even by its opponents who are mostly fundamentalist Christians who have accepted that our God has bigger balls than theirs,” Henderson said.