This indeed is a photo of a real Arizona drivers’ license. Yes, the man is wearing a colander upon his head. Sean Corbett has been trying for years to get an Arizona driver’s license official to allow him to do so and was successful last week – for now.
Why a colander? It is a symbol of those who are members of the Pastafarian religion. Never heard of it? How about the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster or FSM for short? That’s the name many atheists have rallied around in order to demonstrate their belief in the irrationality of religion and the special accommodations granted by many governments for beliefs deemed religious.
FSM got its start when a man wrote an open letter online in 2005 to decry the use of an “Intelligent Design” curriculum in Kansas schools. Bobby Henderson wrote:
I am writing you with much concern after having read of your hearing to decide whether the alternative theory of Intelligent Design should be taught along with the theory of Evolution. I think we can all agree that it is important for students to hear multiple viewpoints so they can choose for themselves the theory that makes the most sense to them. I am concerned, however, that students will only hear one theory of Intelligent Design.
Let us remember that there are multiple theories of Intelligent Design. I and many others around the world are of the strong belief that the universe was created by a Flying Spaghetti Monster. It was He who created all that we see and all that we feel. We feel strongly that the overwhelming scientific evidence pointing towards evolutionary processes is nothing but a coincidence, put in place by Him.
A good mocking to be sure, but this one had legs, and soon the “church” gained widespread popularity. Many like Mr. Corbett use the “church” to demonstrate against religious accommodation, as allowed by Arizona.
“I walked up to the counter and the lady gives me the up and down look and says, ‘no, you can take the picture but without the colander.'”
After trying several MVD locations, Sean was starting to get frustrated and just took the picture. Years later, however, when needing to replace his license, Sean wasn’t going to take no for an answer. An MVD manager allowed Sean to take the photo but with the knowledge that it may be rejected in the approval phase.
Approve it they did, as Arizona’s 12 News reports:
“For me to go in and actually convince them to take the picture and then get it approved is huge,” Corbett said.
Mr. Corbett may have to go in for another photo, however. As this story became viral, Arizona officials are saying the photo is invalid and will have to be re-shot, without the colander. No word yet on whether Corbett will sue if the license is considered unacceptable. Lindsay Miller made headlines two years ago when Massachusetts let her pose for her driver’s license with a colander. Lawyer Patty DeJuneas calls Pastafarianism a “secular religion that uses parody to make its point.” One wonders how the courts would rule on such a claim.