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The Flying Spaghetti Monster is a satirical deity for the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster, a parody religious organization with followers known as “Pastafarians.” The being resembles a large floating mass of cylindrical pasta with two large eyestalks that carrys meatballs on each side of its body.
In January of 2005, the Kansas Board of Education was considering making changes to its science standards. The board proposed that “intelligent design”, the claim that a conscious being created the universe, be presented as an alternative explanation to evolution and that teachers should be required to state that evolution is a theory and not a fact. Bobby Henderson, a 25-year old Oregon University student at the time, noticed that the Board only specified “Intelligent Designer” and not the specific name of any one known deity. This inspired Bobby to protest the proposal by creating the fictional deity named “Flying Spaghetti Monster.” In May of 2005, Henderson posted an open letter to the Kansas school board on his website, in which he addressed his opinion that intelligent design was no more valid than the belief that a Flying Spaghetti Monster created the universe.
On June 22nd, 2005, the Internet news site BoingBoing posted an article titled “Dear Kansas: Why stop at ‘Intelligent Design?’ What About Spaghetti Monsters?”, which featured an excerpt from Henderson’s open letter. On August 19th, BoingBoing followed up with a $1 million “Intelligent Design challenge”, announcing that they would pay one million dollars to anyone who could “produce empirical evidence which proves that Jesus is not the son of the Flying Spaghetti Monster.” On August 29th, 2005, the New York Times published an article titled “But Is There Intelligent Spaghetti Out There?” In September that year, a Flying Spaghetti Monster flash game was developed by Plasmic Studios.
Pastafarian Drivers License
On July 13th, 2011, The Telegraph published a story about Austrian Niko Alm who was awarded the right to wear a colandar on his head in his driving license photo, as it had been deemed “religious headgear”. Niko wrote on his blog:
“Today I was able to get my new driving licence, and in it you can clearly see that I’m wearing a colander on my head to demonstrate my allegiance to the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster”
On September 21st, 2012, a 27-year-old man was arrested in Greece for creating a Facebook page satirizing the deceased Greek Orthodox monk Elder Paisos. The Facebook page, titled “Geron Pastitsios” after a Greek pasta dish, was disabled shortly after the man’s arrest.
On September 24th, Greek authorities sent out a press releaserevealing that the man had been arrested after Cyber Crime officials had received “thousands of complaints.” That same day, a Change.org petition was launched to urge the Greek parliament to free the man--now dubbed “Geron Pastitsios”--and abolish the country’s anti-blasphemy laws, which was later submitted to the /r/atheism subreddit with a claim that the man was arrested for creating a Pastafarian group on Facebook.
Within 24 hours, the Reddit post received over 17,700 up votes and 950 comments and the Change.org petition received over 7,950 supporters. On September 25th, the Internet news site The Daily Dot published an article titled “Greek authorities charge man with blasphemy for Facebook page.” On Twitter, the hashtag #freeGeronPastitsios was was used to spread awareness of the man’s arrest.
The Flying Spaghetti Monster has inspired the creation of several real-life installations, photoshops into historical footage and has been extensively covered by news media regarding intelligent design controversy.
Search query volume for the keywords “flying spaghetti monster” rose significantly in June of 2005, shortly after Henderson posted the open letter to his website.
The Washington Post – Kansas Education Board First to Back ‘Intelligent Design’