'Pastafarian' fights to wear spaghetti strainer for ID photo
Josh Elliott, CTVNews.ca
Published Thursday, August 14, 2014 5:24PM EDT
Last Updated Thursday, August 14, 2014 9:25PM EDT
A Surrey, B.C. man is straining the limits of British Columbia’s ID guidelines, saying it’s his religious right to wear a colander on his head for his driver’s licence photo.
Obi Canuel, an ordained minister in the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster, says the Insurance Corporation of British Columbia is denying him the right to wear his religious headgear for his driver’s licence photo. The ICBC told Canuel he couldn’t wear the colander for the photo last fall, when he tried to have his licence renewed.
Canuel says the ICBC allows members of other religions to wear their headgear, so he should also be allowed. “I don’t think ICBC should be making decisions about what kind of religious headgear is appropriate,” Canuel told CTV News on Wednesday.
The ICBC says it will not issue Canuel a licence unless he takes the colander off for a photo. The company encouraged him to go to any licencing office to have a photo taken without the colander.
“They said that they will not be issuing me my photo licence because they understand there is no religious requirement that prohibits me from removing the colander,” Canuel said. “The truth is, sometimes I have the religious inkling to wear my colander.”
The 36-year-old Canuel was photographed wearing his colander for his B.C. Services card, issued late last year.
The Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster was founded as a response to Christian perspectives on creationism and intelligent design. It allegedly sprang out of a 2005 open letter to the Kansas School Board, written by a man named Bobby Henderson. Henderson offers a tongue-in-cheek attack on the concept of intelligent design, saying that if the world was created by a deity, there’s no indication that deity was the Christian God. It could just as easily have been a flying spaghetti monster.
The Church’s website charges non-Americans US$30 to become an ordained a minister of the religion.
Canuel describes his Flying Spaghetti Monster beliefs, and his conflict with the ICBC, in a YouTube video posted Aug. 3.
“My name is Obi and I’m a Pastafarian,” he says in the video. “That means I believe in the flying spaghetti monster, the one true god who created the earth and all the universe 4,000 years ago while he was drunk.”
The Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster has been recognized as a religion in a handful of countries around the world.
The United States allows Pastafarians to wear colanders for their driver’s licence photos.
With files from CTV Vancouver