source: BBC News (pictures and full story)
An Austrian atheist has won the right to be shown on his driving-licence photo wearing a pasta strainer as "religious headgear".
Niko Alm first applied for the licence three years ago after reading that headgear was allowed in official pictures only for confessional reasons.
Mr Alm said the sieve was a requirement of his religion, pastafarianism.
The Austrian authorities required him to obtain a doctor's certificate that he was "psychologically fit" to drive.
In the same spirit, Mr Alm's pastafarian-style application for a driving licence was a response to the Austrian recognition of confessional headgear in official photographs.
The licence took three years to come through and, according to Mr Alm, he was asked to submit to a medical interview to check on his mental fitness to drive but - straining credulity - his efforts have finally paid off.
It is the police who issue driving licences in Austria, and they have duly issued a laminated card showing Mr Alm in his unorthodox item of religious headgear.
The next step, Mr Alm told the Austrian news agency APA, is to apply to the Austrian authorities for pastafarianism to become an officially recognised faith.
The implications of making him go through a mental health examination just makes this all the more sweet. If you've read the full Gospel of the FSM, you're already aware that there are two major differences between Pastafarianism and (most) other major religions. i) Pastafarianism doesn't carry the weight of culture and history behind it. ii) Pastafariansim has many signs of being parody.
But does that really make it less legit than other religions? On the first point, the fact that religions are entrenched in culture and history speaks nothing to their veracity. On the second point, many aspects of major religions also show signs of anthropic fabrication, though not necessarily as blatant as outright parody. The fact that Pastafarianism is parody, and well done parody at that, does reflect on the nature of the original articles being mocked. The Gospel of the FSM employs the same tricks as groups such as ID proponents, so how can one group be legitimate and the other not? Again, the difference here is not in veracity, but rather in the fact that Pastafarians are just in on the joke.
I actually have to get my license renewed myself, and I do have a rather lovely colander... ah, but I don't want to wait three years just for a funny picture on my ID.