Last October 7, 2012, the Seattle Atheists Organization hosted a benefit dinner for the Washington United for Marriage Group. This was the Flying Spaghetti Monster Dinner, held at the Old Spaghetti Factory at 2801 Elliot Avenue in Seattle, Washington D.C. Donations were forwarded to Washington United for Marriage.
The proponents of same-sex marriage in Seattle wanted to encourage those committed couples to strongly vote for the approval of the Referendum 74, which aims to keep religious doctrine out of the laws of the State. One of the major issues that were tackled during this small assembly was the most recent tactics of the opponents of same-sex marriage in Washington.
Some of the newest tactics of anti-homosexual marriages have garnered high criticism and disapproval from the different pro-marriage groups. Some members report that they have been contacted by alleged members of a group called ‘Citizens of Washington United for Marriage’. The aim of the callers is to confuse their victims into voting ‘no’ for the referendum instead of ‘yes’.
The so-called ‘Citizens of Washington United for Marriage’ group does not actually exist. This incident has brought more tension between pro and anti same sex marriage groups. In light of this, the Seattle Atheists have voiced their dismay against those claiming to be following ‘God’s law’, quoting one of the Christian 10 Commandments, specifically “Thou shalt not bear false witness…” Groups are now trying to track down the organization or individuals behind these prank calls.
In Greece, a man is currently facing a possible prison sentence because of some alleged blasphemous act against a revered Greek Monk. The man, who will remain unnamed for the moment, allegedly put up a parody site on the giant social networking site, Facebook. His site parodied the monk named Elder Paisios, and he used the Greek dish Pastitios as his profile name.
There are very specific laws against blasphemy in Greece, and Pastitsios’ site allegedly mocking the Elder Paisios is incriminating. The 27 year old is currently facing the said blasphemy charges after being complained about by Christos Pappas from Golden Dawn.
The Facebook page contained images if the deceased Elder Paisios that have been photoshopped, but has now been deleted after Pappas wrote about his concern to the Greek Religious Affairs Minister. Blasphemy is a very serious offense, and can carry a maximum fine of €3,000 (equivalent to about £2,400) and an imprisonment sentence of two years.
The Greek Penal Code states that “anyone who publicly and maliciously and by any means blasphemes God shall be punished by imprisonment for not more than two years”. Another article under the Penal Code also penalizes anyone “who publicly and maliciously and by any means blasphemes the Greek Orthodox Church or any other religion tolerated in Greece”.
Greek Cyber Crime police officers arrested the man last September, at his home, which was on a farm. He was released temporarily, pending a trial. His arrest enraged several members of the Church of the Flying Monster, trending the topic on Twitter.
Several months ago, the case of Niko Alm from Austria made worldwide news, as he was the first believer of pastafarianism to have been allowed to wear confessional head gear, in the form of a pasta strainer, while taking his driver’s license photograph. Following this incident, there has been a lot of talk regarding what photos in drivers’ licenses should look like. The New Jersey Driver’s License Bureau requests that, for all intents and purposes of taking photo identification, one should refrain from smiling, laughing or anything that suggests a non-vacant expression.
This ‘no-smiles’ policy began to take quite a few hits. New Jersey is the latest State to have passed the law, preceded by Arkansas, Nevada, Indiana and Virginia. However, the DMV explained the reason behind prohibiting any kind of facial expression in their database photos. Authorities have found a fault in the facial-recognition software being used in the State. They saw that it was having quite a bit of trouble correctly matching smiling faces with those faces in the police database. This has a big impact on all drivers applying for or renewing their licenses.
Serious implications could rise from this, if the software bug is not fixed or remedied. A slight muscle out of line, a wink, a wrinkle, it could possibly offset the whole identification process. A person could be in lots of trouble just by sporting their pearly whites. At any rate, showing up with pastafarianism head gear on your license photo will surely make the traffic officer smile instead.
To celebrate ‘Out Week’, student members of the University of Northern Iowa Freethinkers and Inquirers (UNIFI) hosted the fifth annual Flying Spaghetti Monster Dinner. The gathering involves a fun and entertainment and food and is attended by both Pastafarians and pasta lovers alike. Visitors and attendees were welcomed by hosts wearing pirate regalia. Pirate costume is considered as the official garments of the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster.
The UNIFI is a group of freethinkers and inquirers at the University of Northern Iowa. Its members include atheists, skeptics, freethinkers, and those who like to criticize religious claims. They celebrated Out Week, which is an event where non-religious students of the University of Northern Iowa are encouraged to formally ‘come out’ into the community. This is a big deal for some, since the university itself is a primarily religious campus.
The events of the night began with a satirical ‘prayer’ to the Flying Spaghetti Monster, which is the deity of the Pastafariansim belief. The meal included salad, breadsticks, and the favorite of all, spaghetti. After the dinner, a performance by the University’s Improvisation Act Group “Half Masted” gave the people an entertaining show.
The final activity of the night was a fundraising raffle. The beneficiary of the raffle was the Northeast Iowa Food Bank. They targeted to raise $500 for the Food Bank. The final count revealed that they had collected a total of $600. All in all, it was a pretty successful event.