A woman has persuaded authorities to forgo strict parameters on passport photos and driving licenses, by convincing them to let her wear a colander on her head in her driving license photo.
Lindsay Miller convinced officials to look past rules that normally stop people from smiling, wearing sunglasses or donning head gear in their official image, on the basis of her stated religion.
Belonging to the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster, she won her appeal against the Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles (RMV) for the right to wear her colander, saying she is a 'Pastafarian'.
Initially, Ms Miller’s application was denied, but she won her appeal with the help of an attorney associated with the American Humanist Association.
She now is the proud owner of a Massachusetts driving license with a metal colander on her head.
Ms Miller, of Lowell, Massachusetts, said: “As a member of the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster, I feel delighted that my Pastafarianism has been respected.
“While I don’t think the government can involve itself in matters of religion, I do hope this decision encourages my fellow Pastafarian Atheists to come out and express themslves as I have.”
Ms Miller went on to say that she “absolutely loves the history and the story” of Pastafarians. She says their website has been around for hundreds of years, and only entered the mainstream in 2005.
A spokesperson for the Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles says policy does not permit head coverings or hats in license photos. But, exemptions can be made for religious or medical reasons.
Lawyer Patty DeJuneas, a member of the Secular Legal Society, said that Pastafarianism is a “secular religion that uses parody to make its point.
“The First Amendement applied to every person and every religion, so I was dismayed to hear that Lindsay had been ridiculed for simply seeking the same freedoms and protections afforded to people who belong to more traditional or theistic religions”.
Although some people see the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster Church purely as satire, or offensive, the offical website insists it is "a legitimate religion”.