The Australian wing of Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster has been motivated by New Zealand’s recent decision to grant the organization approval to conduct weddings. Jeff Montgomery, New Zealand’s registrar-general of Births, Deaths and Marriages, recently approved the organization’s application to nominate marriage celebrants.
“My role is to enact the Marriage Act and that act enables organizations who promote religious beliefs or philosophical convictions to become a nominating organization for marriage celebrants,” said Montgomery. “I've assessed their application against that criteria and have come to the view that they uphold or promote philosophical convictions and therefore are able to nominate marriage celebrants for me to consider further down the track.”
Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster was started in the United States 10 years ago by Bobby Henderson, who first wrote an open letter protesting against the teaching of creationism in schools.
Simon Cuthbert, an ordained minister of the organization, said even though it was born out of satire, Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster has succeeded in acquiring a serious status around the world.
“We have a supreme being like any other religion,” Cuthbert said, “Wonderful carbohydrate, there's some protein there as well but he's an all-seeing, all-knowing type god who doesn't discriminate against anyone. You can be straight, gay, transsexual, Catholic, atheist — it really doesn't matter.”
Cuthbert also said that members of Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster could be gluten-intolerant.
“You can just eat the meaty parts,” he said. “That's fine.”
Like all other churches, Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster too has certain canons of conduct.
“For example, the spaghetti monster doesn't want to be basically put up on a pedestal,” he said. “He just believes that everyone should be treated the same. There's ones in there about how we should be allowing people who want to be together to just be together and a few other quite humanistic values there.”
Cuthbert explained how his organization has often been accused of mocking other religions.
“A lot of people get offended by it,” he said. “Some people may cry because they think that we are going to end up in hell. Some people get quite angry. There's a full spectrum of reactions which I can understand because really we're challenging something that is held very personal for them.”
He shared how at least 1,500 Pastafarians in Australia have showed willingness to join the organization but concerned authorities have refused to recognize the growing popularity of Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster as yet.
“New Zealand seems to be leading the way and it's only a hop, skip and a jump to Australia, the mainland,” he said. “I think Australia likes to boast that we're ahead of the times but I'm afraid we're falling well behind them at the moment and particularly in things like this.”
The organization said that its application to be incorporated as a nonprofit was rejected by the South Australian Commissioner for Corporate Affairs. However, Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster is pursuing an appeal in the District Court to ensure its recognition as an official religion Down Under.
Cuthbert said that the organization’s newfound status in New Zealand has encouraged all Pastafarians.
“No matter what avenue we can take whether it be for births, deaths and marriages, the state, national — we are going to have a go at it and then get them over the line eventually,” he said.
Photo Credits: Australian Pastafarian Lobby