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Gary Smith, fighting for Pastafarian rights.

Published December 27th, 2019 by Bobby Henderson
Gary Smith, fighting for equal rights. Photo Vancouver Sun.

The Vancouver Sun has a nice article about Pastafarian Gary Smith’s fight to have his driver’s license photo taken while wearing a Colander. He also dresses in Pirate Regalia for formal occasions, as do many serious Pastafarians.

His headgear, a colander, is part of his religion: Smith is a Pastafarian, a member of the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster.

ICBC has informed him it doesn’t qualify as religious headgear, have refused to accept a photo of him wearing it for his licence, and Smith has now filed a complaint with the B.C. Human Rights Tribunal.

“My religious head covering is an expression of my beliefs,” he said. “I am being denied the right to express myself in a manner afforded to members of other beliefs and other faiths . There is no test of faith that any government agency, including ICBC, can apply to judge whether or not a person earnestly believes what they profess when they ask to be photographed with a religious head covering.”

Canada is, surprisingly, not always tolerant of Pastafarian rights. British Columbia, especially. Besides not allowing us to wear religious headgear in government photos, they sometimes make it difficult for our Ministers to register as wedding officiants.

Vancouver is such a multi-cultural place, I find it difficult to understand the intolerance to religions outside of the mainstream. I’d love to hear if other “fringe” religious groups run into these problems with the BC government.

Big thanks to Mr. Smith for pushing back against religious intolerance. My feeling is that, even when we lose these fights from time to time, it helps in the long run to point out the inequality.

You can read the article here.