UK: Pastafarianism as a religion

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UK: Pastafarianism as a religion

Postby TDKs on Tue Jan 07, 2014 5:49 pm

Well, I stumbled across an old article - http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/religio ... Court.html

The summary is that five supreme court judges effectively changed the definition of religion.

Lord Toulson, giving the judgement, wrote that "religion should not be confined to religions which recognise a supreme deity". Toulson describes religion as "a spiritual or non-secular belief system, held by a group of adherents, which claims to explain mankind's place in the universe and relationship with the infinite ... "

“Unless there is some compelling contextual reason for holding otherwise, religion should not be confined to religions which recognise a supreme deity,” said Lord Toulson, delivering the lead judgement.
“First and foremost, to do so would be a form of religious discrimination unacceptable in today’s society.”

So, technically, Pastafarianism can be a religion. For me, it IS a religion.

I'm currently working on getting my UK Pastafarian Driver's License :D

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(There's also a CoFSM over on GooglePlus: https://plus.google.com/communities/111 ... 8046422198)
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Re: UK: Pastafarianism as a religion

Postby DavidH on Tue Jan 07, 2014 6:01 pm

Good luck to you, TDKs! My guess is that you'll get a lot of bureaucratic bullshit before they finally have to give it to you.
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Re: UK: Pastafarianism as a religion

Postby Cardinal Fang on Wed Jan 08, 2014 9:51 am

Hasn't it always been a religion? After all, we always have believed in a supreme deity, albeit a pasta based one

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Re: UK: Pastafarianism as a religion

Postby Pete Byrdie on Wed Jan 08, 2014 11:07 am

Good luck, TDKs! Are you the first in Britain to try to get our religion officially recognised in such a way?
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Re: UK: Pastafarianism as a religion

Postby TDKs on Wed Jan 08, 2014 2:16 pm

Pete - I believe so. I think I may be the first woman, too.

Cardinal - the issue with belief not being necessary has always thrown others somewhat. I'm amused that our position has now been confirmed by the Scientologists. There's a delicious irony in there somewhere.

DavidH - Niko Alm was at it for three years. I am patient.
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Re: UK: Pastafarianism as a religion

Postby Cardinal Fang on Wed Jan 08, 2014 8:16 pm

Wrinkle in the UK ruling. Whilst the judge's ruling allows for Scions to be able to marry in the chapels, basically the arbiter of whether something is a religion/ religious organisation is not the Registrar General (who decides where people can marry), but the Charities Commission, as they are the ones who rule whether something is a religion for the purposes of tax exemption, rates paid on buildings.

At present the Charities Commission say that Scientology is not a religion. In light of the ruling it is reviewing this ruling. However one of the reasons that that decision was made in 1999 was that it could not demonstrate that it was operating for the public benefit, as the manner in which it conducted its activities were too private.

Given that the Church of Scientology is very secretive, its inner workings are hidden, there is little or no transparency about its finances or leadership, and the fact that it has a long history of allegations of harrassing and silencing critics all over the world (search: John Sweeney, Paulette Cooper, Casey Hill, Operation Snow White, Bonnie Woods, Arnaldo Lerma - and many thousands of others) - one wonders how they could make a case for "public benefit".

Additional info: A Plymouth Brethren congregation in Devon is appealing to have the "public benefit" clause dropped.

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Re: UK: Pastafarianism as a religion

Postby TDKs on Thu Jan 09, 2014 3:28 pm

Not such a problem for Pastafarianism - I've always felt we're very open about our position and intentions. :)

I keep having a look over the Charities Commission stuff, but I often find myself daunted by it - I'm not sure where to focus the idea of "public good" because Pastafarianism does have a variety of goals.

I'm currently arguing with some folks that my driver's license "stunt" is an attempt to further the previous work of others for a) religious acceptance and b) to clarify that religions DO get exceptions that other groups and people do not. Drawing attention to it by doing it seems practical to me.

I'm not convinced that religions should have so many benefits that other groups struggle to access themselves (as you mentioned, tax benefits, buildings exemptions etc) and that, really, religions shouldn't have special privileges just because they're religions.

If they're actually charities, then they should be entitled to the same rights as other charities. I don't feel it right that they should be manipulative in their "charity", using it to solely promote their own religion, to get converts - (look at that idiocy with that church "helping" by sending rosaries and bibles to the Philippines.) - or to push an agenda that will harm others including those NOT of their religion (like those anti-abortion lobbyist).

I would be very interested in your views on the matter - in fact, I'm going to make a secondary thread on the matter, as it's not entirely on topic.
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Re: UK: Pastafarianism as a religion

Postby Cardinal Fang on Thu Jan 09, 2014 4:24 pm

Isn't our "public good" trying to get equality of belief into science classrooms? You know "one third time for Intelligent Design, one third time for Flying Spaghetti Monsterism (Pastafarianism), and one third time for logical conjecture based on overwhelming observable evidence".

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Re: UK: Pastafarianism as a religion

Postby TDKs on Thu Jan 09, 2014 4:59 pm

laughing

Cardinal, thank you. I think it is easy to get distracted when there's so much there.
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Re: UK: Pastafarianism as a religion

Postby Pete Byrdie on Tue Jan 14, 2014 4:00 pm

From reading a recent article about the Scientology case, I gather that, in the UK, a secular marriage ceremony can occur just about anywhere, but a religious ceremony must be held in a place of worship, which is why it was so essential for this couple to have Scientology's status as a religion recognised. This is a blow for Pastafarians, of course, who do not have places of worship. Although, how a ceremony is judged to be religious by the authorities is beyond me. If I want to dress as a pirate and have The Flying Spaghetti Monster honoured at my wedding, I would have thought that was my decision. It might mean that having Pastafarianism recognised as a religion means we can't have Pastafarian weddings as we have no places of worship in which to have them, but as long as it's not recognised then all we are doing is having surreal wedding ceremonies. You know, like other religions do, but not in places of worship.

I'm sure we can count on support from our brothers and sisters of the Church of Scientology. There are clear parallels between getting accepted those beliefs surrounding His Noodliness and those surrounding the fantasies of a science fiction author. We fight the ignorance and intolerance together, my friends! Although, I wouldn't count too heavily on their support. Rather than the claimed membership of 10 million worldwide, 25,000 and 40,000 is claimed by other estimates.
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Re: UK: Pastafarianism as a religion

Postby Cardinal Fang on Tue Jan 14, 2014 8:44 pm

A loophole kinda came up in another discussion a whilst back. Pastafarian weddings at the mo would not be legally recognised, due to the ban on any religious rites in a secular ceremony.

There is nothing to stop a couple though first of all going to the registry office and having a small ceremony to get the legal piece of paper, then having a full blown proper Pastafarian wedding after that (either same day or some time later). This is how groups such as the Humanists, Hindus etc currently have to do it. There's no reason why Pastafarians cannot do the same. Because any Pastafarian ceremony then would not need the formal legal bit of the ceremony, it could be held anywhere people wanted. Likewise, there has never been any reason why Scientologists could not do the same thing - get their legal bit of paper, then have a wedding ceremony separate where they celebrate with their (not disconnected) friends and family. IMHO this court case has more to do with the Scion's quest for legal recognition (and any financial benefits that come with it), rather solely to do with where a person can, or cannot, get married.

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Re: UK: Pastafarianism as a religion

Postby Pete Byrdie on Wed Jan 15, 2014 10:14 am

Cardinal Fang wrote:There is nothing to stop a couple though first of all going to the registry office and having a small ceremony to get the legal piece of paper, then having a full blown proper Pastafarian wedding after that (either same day or some time later). This is how groups such as the Humanists, Hindus etc currently have to do it. There's no reason why Pastafarians cannot do the same. Because any Pastafarian ceremony then would not need the formal legal bit of the ceremony, it could be held anywhere people wanted.


Indeed, I don't really see why all weddings shouldn't be conducted in such a manner. There really is no reason to have God there for the legal bit. His signature is never required.

Cardinal Fang wrote:IMHO this court case has more to do with the Scion's quest for legal recognition (and any financial benefits that come with it), rather solely to do with where a person can, or cannot, get married.


Well, that's incredibly cynical! If that were the case, Scientology would just be some cult whose attempt at religious belief was less about seeking truth and more about milking members and the state of money. To suggest The Church of Scientology is attempting to capitalize on the love two of its members share for one another is just... oh, I can't keep it up!

EDIT
Above, I wrote:His signature is never required.

Speaking of which, where's mine? Was The Flying Spaghetti Monster offended by my portrayal of him on my flag, The Jolly Pasta, and reached into the forum with His appendage to smite it. It was the eyestalks, wasn't it? I never liked them, but I never got around to changing them. I've been too busy! Please don't strike me down with your appendage, I beg you! Ahhhhh!
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Re: UK: Pastafarianism as a religion

Postby Cardinal Fang on Thu Jan 16, 2014 12:26 am

Pete Byrdie wrote:EDIT
Above, I wrote:His signature is never required.

Speaking of which, where's mine? Was The Flying Spaghetti Monster offended by my portrayal of him on my flag, The Jolly Pasta, and reached into the forum with His appendage to smite it. It was the eyestalks, wasn't it? I never liked them, but I never got around to changing them. I've been too busy! Please don't strike me down with your appendage, I beg you! Ahhhhh!


http://www.venganza.org/forum/viewtopic.php?f=48&t=46889

I think lots of signatures have vanished.

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Re: UK: Pastafarianism as a religion

Postby Lord High Admiral on Sun Jan 19, 2014 11:48 am

This seems a rather interesting project. However, it was a bit unclear to me, is the goal of the project to earn the right to wear religious outfit in the driver's license photo or seek actual full blown charitable status with the Inland Revenue.

England is among the few remaining states in Europe where the state and church retain strong legal links between each other. Finland (where I am from) is an other notable case where among other things the state chruch has been granted the power to levy its own taxes - not only from its member but also from for-profit corporations. The EU laws require that the state has to provide equal treatment to all religions and this legislation is compelling to all member states. Since the United Kingdom is member of the European Union, then at least in principle a person who claims to believe in FSM in a organized and consistent fashion is entitled to any rights granted to any other religious group.

If TDK seeks only to have a pastafarian picture in her driver's license, she needs only to fight with the authority issuing the driver's licenses and convince the bureaucrat-in-charge to accept it. I believe the proper authority in the UK is the Driver & Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) under the department of transportation. If the application is denied, she should formally request the DVLA to specify why, in their view, Pastafarism does not qualify. Furthermore she should request that they provide a standard which specifies what constitutes a religion. Based on this information a proper complaint can be lodged.

If the goal is to have charitable status then forming a some sort of organization is virtually guaranteed to be a necessity. As far as I know, in the UK religious associations are organized as normal associations and then benefits are separately claimed under different laws from different agencies. So the first step would be to set up a Pastafarian religious association and draw a constitution for it. Besides the mandatory requirements the constitution should include articles that adequately define the religion and religious practice to make it easier to demonstrate at a later stage that the practice of the faith is organized. This will also serve to demonstrate that significant support exists for the faith should sufficient number of members be acquired.

I got some experience on the topic as I am trying to achieve official recognition and benefits from the state to the Pastafarian Church. Unfortunately the state and the courts seem to think that I am merely joking. The case went to the supreme court and eventually into the European Court of Human Rights which unfortunately threw it out as frivolous. I guess naming strippers as holy and essential part of the religious service was too much for the court. I am trying again with a modified constitution.
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Re: UK: Pastafarianism as a religion

Postby Cardinal Fang on Sun Jan 19, 2014 5:39 pm

Correct me if I've misunderstood TDK. Am I correct in thinking that your intent is to achieve equality of status of our religion along side any other in the UK?

I don't think there is any question of tax advantages or any such, as the UK Pastararian Church does not seem to have any income to pay it on - believing in the FSM is after all free of charge.

However some could argue that the reason the Scientologists are campaigning for legal recognition is to try and get tax exemption for the cash their adherants have to pay in order to practice or progress in that religion. That is possibly why they wish for some special recognition of wedding ceramonies beyond what most religions have here in the UK.

Of course that would be a cynical view of Scientiology, and we must believe that this (rather litigeous) religion simply has the interests of it's adherants at heart and nothing more.

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