Good news for secularism. I. Meatballs make baby Jesus cry in Florida

December 19, 2013 • 5:55 am

If you can’t lick ’em, join ’em—or rather, slurp them. reports for the first of today’s Good News for Secularism posts (there will be several):

The most recently approved display in the Florida Capitol is one from the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster.

A desk chair with a shredded cardboard representation of its deity – an eyed blob of noodles grasping two meatballs – with a sign reading: “A closed mouth catches no noodly appendages.” – ProvHerbs 3:27,” arrived Tuesday and now joins four other holiday displays in the marble rotunda.

Here it is, in all its glory!

Amanda Richard, a Pastafarian in the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster, places the group’s holiday display in the Florida Capitol. The attached sign says: “A closed mouth catches no noodly appendages. – ProvHerbs 3:27.” / Provided by Ben Wolf/ Department of Management Ser

Members, described as Pastafarians, believe, according to the church’s website that “The only dogma allowed in the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster is the rejection of dogma,” and “Most of us do not believe a religion – Christianity, Islam, Pastafarianism – requires literal belief in order to provide spiritual enlightenment.”

Peter Wood, a Florida State University graduate student who applied to include the display, said the church’s members look toward “reason and rationalism in public discourse, a mutual understanding and having discussion on government, religion and viewpoints, without being hostile,” Wood said. “It’s OK for us to have different views in society and I think its important to realize there are more than one way to view things.”

Wood said the idea was not to mock other religions, instead to show “we can learn a lot from each other. Some ideas are deemed better than others and a lot of the time they’re equally humorous and equally valid,” he said.

The Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster has been associated with atheist and secular groups for the past decade or so, said Amanda Richard, who dropped of the display Tuesday afternoon.

“The point is to show that we are a part of a pluralistic society,” Richard said. “If you’re going to have inclusion of one religion in a public space, then it encourages all the others as well.”

deathandtaxes adds:

2013 was a banner year for Pastafarian acknowledgement, with a Texas man becoming the first to win the right to wear the traditional Pastafarian garb in his driver’s license photo—a pasta strainer on the head. The victory followed Pastafarians’ landmark victory in 2011 to wear pasta strainers on their heads in ID photos.

Other atheist displays in the capitol by a manger. I bet Christians are fuming, but it’s an object lesson in the First Amendment:

Picture 1h/t: Ant

61 thoughts on “Good news for secularism. I. Meatballs make baby Jesus cry in Florida

    1. I may be ignorant, but my impression is that the FSM has accumulated amusing little elaborations over the years, which speaks to the creativity and humor of the atheist community.

      “He was boiled for our sins!” was a new one on me. The strainer headgear idea seemed an innovative response to a front in the demand by the religious for another privilege.

      If I”m wrong and these details were all worked in the early days of FSM, well that’s on me. Atheists are still creative and humorous. 🙂

      1. You’re right about the accumulation of elaborations, but that’s just the way religions work. All of them have been similarly embellished over the centuries, but of course not in such a light-hearted vein. Usually exactly the opposite, in fact.

      2. I’m fairly sure that each new concept requires several pints of beer to nurture it and bring it to full fruition. So it would be unwise to try to develop them all at one time.

  1. It is a good that this made the news cycle because no one will actually go see the displays.

    The state capitol, Tallahassee, has a population less than 200 thousand and is in the remote north east of Florida, which has a total population of 19.3 million

  2. Wood said the idea was not to mock other religions, instead to show “we can learn a lot from each other. Some ideas are deemed better than others and a lot of the time they’re equally humorous and equally valid,” he said.

    Uh huh. And sometimes mutually contradictory ideas can be strung together and snuck into the common discourse by atheists, too. Nonsense need not be the sole domain of the religious. What are holidays for, anyway?

    1. The Pastafarians have learned from the other religions that if you say nonsense often enough people will believe it. The whole purpose of the FSM is to mock religion.

      1. Yep. That was my takeaway message. Along with mocking religious “logic” with the pirate business. Seemed funny to me how the person being interviewed said they weren’t mocking religion – with bafflegab. Kind of like the way the religious claim not to denigrate the a-religious, all in a bafflegabby way.

        1. Isn’t that the point? Saying “I’m not mocking religion” while doing so is exactly what the faithful do all the same. “We’re not promoting religion… this big electrified cross on public land is a secular symbol!”

          1. “We’re not promoting religion… this big electrified cross on public land is a secular symbol!”

            The legal argument that one frequently sees here in the USA is that the religious symbol has “independent historical significance.” In other words, we can pretend that it’s not religious because the religion and its symbols have been here a long time. It’s a brilliant argument for the Judeo-Christian side, actually, since competing religions (and especially secularism) don’t have the track record, and secularists have never really been big on symbols anyway.

  3. There are rumors of Pastafarian schisms–the al dente group against the over-cooked/soggy contingent not to mention fashion disagreements between promoters of plain, functional strainer hats and more tasteful ones embellished with capers, sun-dried tomatoes and the such. Count me in the al dente/embellished crowd. 🙂

        1. The photo of Eddie Castillo clearly shows him wearing the CORRECT Pastafarian headgear–Her Holy Colander.

          By referring to it as a “pasta strainer,” this Alex Moore over at deathandtaxes reveals himself as a heretic–a MESHIST!

          KILL HIM! Ramen…

      1. That’s the great thing about being an Unicoritarian. Eat whatever pasta you want; it’s all good.

        I’ve been on a fettuccine kick of late, but I have a feeling it’s going to be lasagne next week….


  4. I am amazed, but pleased, that Florida of all places is allowing this.

    Puttanesca is, of course, the most appropriate raiment for his Noodliness. Besides being tasty we must pay homage to the hard working prostitutes. Just like that other guy, Jesus.

      1. Nooooo! Don’t sacrifice it! Eat it! Just like that other religion that eats its god.

        Or is that the same thing? We need a Noodle Pope to reveal to us the wishes of his Noodliness on this matter.

        1. “We need a Noodle Pope”
          Every pastafarian is his/her own Noodle Pope. If you want to sacrifice by consuming it, do so. FSM is pleased with every form of worship.

  5. Clearly, in order to avoid offending Pastafarians, computer programmers are going to have to stop calling poorly structured programs “spaghetti code”. 🙂

    1. No no no.
      FSM being the perfectly imperfect and imperfectly perfect being at the same time also reveals itself by means of “spaghetti code”. Even if they don’t realize it or mean it those computer programmers are still honouring FSM.
      There is no way to dishonour FSM.

  6. The Satanists weren’t allowed to present their display, that represented a verse from the christian holey book, because of its “grossly offensive” nature. It might be the first time that the christians have admitted that their book contains grossly offensive material.

    The visualization from the grossly offensive Holy Bible that the christians found unacceptable: Luke 10:18, which reads “And he said unto them, I beheld Satan as lightning fall from heaven.”

  7. “Wood said the idea was not to mock other religions, instead to show “we can learn a lot from each other. Some ideas are deemed better than others and a lot of the time they’re equally humorous and equally valid,” he said.”

    I have several problems with this statement: one is that one of the definitions of “mock” is to “mimic, in a derisive manner”. To adulate something as mundane as a plate of spaghetti as the supreme being of a made-up “religion” with its attendant rites, sayings, and paraphernalia (the colander headgear)IS “mocking”, in its most classic sense (unless, of course, you actually DO believe in the FSM, in which case you’re in trouble)- I say, “Mock, where mocking is due!”

    As for “humorous”, I find no “common ground” there: there is nothing humorous about the toll that ignorance and superstition has cost the human race; “true-believers” are characterized by their lack of humor concerning their religion and any attempts to rationally examine it. The object is to, by rational discourse and the passing of enlightened laws that do not favor irrational belief systems, to “pry” the believers out of their brainwashing to the point where they, to, can see the humor that those “outside” can see in their childish beliefs.

    The only way I see the “equally valid” aspect in this demonstration is that it proves that one can adopt an equally-absurd belief system as readily as another. Yeah, I’m grouchy this morning….

    1. OK, who was it who (allegedly) said words-to-the-effect:

      “You can’t reason someone out of a position they weren’t reasoned into”?

  8. I wonder sometimes how historians in 2000 years will interpret the artefacts they find attributed to Pastafarianism…

    …and then I wonder, what if christianity started off this way?

    1. I think its highly likely that Christianity started out as a drunken bet.

      Its certainly the best explanation for Trinitarianism.

      1. And the Nicene Creed. Or possibly weed. Certainly no sober man (they were all men) could have dreamt that farrago of nonsense up.

  9. I live in Tallahassee and when I first heard about the nativity in the Capitol Rotunda I sketched out an FSM creche complete with a pirate magi, collanders, and other Pastafarian goodies. But I didn’t intend to ever realize this plan. I am exceedingly happy that others have been more proactive with their scheming.

    I *really* need to go downtown and check out the Festivus Pole and the FSM.

    Happy Newtonmas, y’all!

  10. Shouldn’t the Flying Spaghetti Monster be…well…flying?

    Just sitting there in an office chair makes it look like a lazy bum, which has got to be some sort of heinous heresy.


  11. Hey, it looks like American Atheists have made a sign out of part of their “Who needs Christ in Christmas?” billboard — and they picked the positive part, the “Celebrate the True Meaning of Xmas!”

    I like it. I can even see it made into signs for atheists to place on their own lawns (assuming one is willing to risk vandalism.) I think the message hits just the right note between negative and positive: it promotes happy values, encourages inclusion, and will offend only the aggressive “Jesus is THE Reason for the Season” crowd. Very nice.

    Would I put it in front of my house, if it was for sale? I’d seriously think about it.

  12. Down here in New Zealand the pastafarians are being persecuted. From a press report
    “Census figures released last week have shone fresh light on Kiwis’ religious faith but tens of thousands of responses were rejected because they were not deemed legitimate. Among those considered “out of scope” are Jedi and Pastafarians, who profess to be worshippers of the Flying Spaghetti Monster.”

  13. Call me the Party Pooper, but I view the pastafarian exhibit, and their milquetoast statements on inclusion in the panoply of religious displays on public ground, as small beer.

    A strict, constitutional approach to church:state separation would prohibit *any* religious displays. This tactic seems only to reinforce the right of religious entities to utilize public space to proselytize.

    To invoke an (American) football analogy, I see this as settling for a field goal when you’re down by 4 late in the fourth quarter.

    1. I think there have been attempts that have failed so therefore this tactic. It’s the same with American Atheists putting up an atheist bench next to the 10 Commandments in Florida in front of the courthouse. If you won’t take away things then you need to accept that everyone else is going to jump in on it so there is no favouring of one religion over another.

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