Monday, April 16, 2007

A "Pastafarian" student is suspended from a North Carolina high school

An amusing, but actually quite interesting story. A kid decides to identify himself as a member of the church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster (which is real, if ridiculous), whose adherents are supposed to dress as pirates. When he refuses to remove his eyepatch in school, he's suspended. He claims his freedom of religion was violated ... and who's to say it wasn't?

A school district official says, rather predictably, that "It has nothing to do with religious beliefs... We respect students’ religious beliefs."

Further developments here; student's statement here, and a political blogger comments here accurately that this inescapably shows that state authorities are choosing which kinds of religious expression are legitimate. (The blogger thinks this is a bad thing; I think it's probably completely unavoidable.)

School: Pirates are not welcome


Weaverville – When you’re a pirate, some dangers just come with the territory: scurvy, grog hangovers, a walk down the plank at sword point.

But being kicked out of school for a day?

Buncombe County Schools says the eye patch was disruptive to classroom instruction. The student’s refusal to take it off after four warnings led to discipline, the district said.

“I feel like my First Amendment was violated,” Killian, 16, said. “Freedom of religion and freedom of expression. That’s what I tried to do, and I got shot down.”

Freedom of religion?

Yes, Killian says, his “pirate regalia” is part of his faith — the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster.

The parody religion, whose “Pastafarian” members worship a sentient, airborne clump of noodles and meatballs, originated in a letter to the Kansas school board urging it to add the religion to its plans to teach evolution and intelligent design side by side.

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