A Canadian man who practices the “Pastafarian” religion lost his driver’s license last week, and is being required to take a religious spaghetti strainer off of his head before he can get a new one.
Surrey, B.C. resident Obi Canuel told the National Post that he became a Pastafarian before obtaining a driver’s license wearing the colander last year. But officials with the Insurance Corporation of British Columbia later determined that the photo could not be used for his license.
Canuel had been using a paper interim license while fighting for his right to wear the headgear, but officials told him last week that the interim license would not be renewed.
So-called Pastafarians say that they believe that the world was created by the Flying Spaghetti Monster. The mock religion was created in 2005 to protest the Kansas School Board’s decision to teach intelligent design. Pastafarians have obtained driver’s licenses wearing spaghetti strainers in several U.S. states, but Canuel would have been the first B.C. resident to do so.
“It was my impression that the West Coast of Canada was the most permissive and accommodating region in the entire country — perhaps I’m wrong,” Canuel explained. “People all over Canada and the United States are telling me they’re on my side, and are applying pressure.”
Montreal-based public relations specialist Everett Martin explained to National Post that Canuel had brought up a legitimate point about religious freedoms.
“There’s no way for an institution in my mind to draw a line and say ‘this is a valid religion and this isn’t and we’re going to enforce that,’” Martin said. “As soon as you start trying to pick and choose, you’re automatically making mistakes.”
Watch the video below from National Post, broadcast Oct. 9, 2104.