Governments' Lighter Side

‘Pastafarian’ wins battle with DPS to wear colander-helmet in ID photo

Well there is a headline I never thought I’d write. But thanks to Lubbock County, Texas, student Eddie Castillo, I am able to mark "include colander-helmet in a headline" off my bucket list. 

Castillo wrangled with the Texas Department of Public Safety for over a month over the right to wear a colander, which he says is a symbol of his faith, in his driver’s license photo. The battle was won Aug. 20.

Castillo says he belongs to the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster, a satirical faith that sprung up as a tongue-in-cheek protest against the teaching of creationism in schools. And while the tenets of his church are meant to satirize organized religion, (Pastafarians believe heaven is full of beer volcanoes and that pirates are holy beings, according to the New York Daily News) Castillo told local TV news source KLBK that his message is of religious freedom, rather than being anti-religion.

"I don't want to say it’s poking fun at religious head-wear in other people’s faiths. I would like to think that it actually opens the doors for new age religion… it kind of symbolizes acceptance and it kind of celebrates, in a sense, that we are a melting pot of a country," Castillo told KLBK.

Castillo isn’t the first Pastafarian to attempt to wear a colander in an ID photo, but he is the first to be successful in the U.S. Last winter, a New Jersey man had a run-in with the police over his insistence that his pasta strainer was religious headwear. “Had it been a turban or a headscarf, or something from a mainstream religion, then it would’ve been fine,” Aaron Williams, Pastafarian, told the New Brunswick Patch.

Castillo told KLBK he was surprised at the victory, which he called a “political and religious milestone for all atheists everywhere,” but the precedent may not stand. KLBK spoke with DPS, who said their legal department has reviewed Castillo’s case, and they will be contacting the Pastafarian to “rectify the situation.” 

Discuss this Blog Entry 4

Anonymous (not verified)
on Aug 28, 2013

Texas has always been more of a non-conformist state in regards to personal appearances than other states, and, from what i've seen, especially those on the (much more formal) East Coast (i.e. New Jersey). That's probably why the DPS tolerated what was worn in Texas than what the New Jersey State Police would tolerate in their state.

Anonymous (not verified)
on Aug 29, 2013

Now, if I were a State Trooper, and asked Eddie for his I.D., ...

Anonymous (not verified)
on Sep 5, 2013

"the tenants of his church"
Seriously? I didn't realize that the Pastafarians were living in their churches.

on Sep 5, 2013

Hey, thanks for pointing that out! We've made the correction.

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What's Governments' Lighter Side?

It is an irreverent take on local and state government news.


Derek Prall

Derek Prall is a professional journalist who has held numerous positions with a variety of print and online publications including The Public Manager magazine and the New Jersey Herald. He is a 2008...
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