Niko Alm -- an atheist from Austria -- won the right to sport a strainer as headgear in driver license photo proclaiming that the headgear was part of his religion; Pastafarian. Alm's battle to earn this right lasted almost three years according to BBC News. Read on to discover more of this odd "religion."

Mr. Alm's -- a self proclaimed atheist -- made the decision to sport a strainer as headgear in response to the Austrian recognition of confessional headgear in official photographs. Alm's clams he belongs to the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster, thus the name Pastafarian.

According to the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster, they have exisited in secrecy for thousands of years, and only recently came into the mainstream in May 2005.

Here are some of the beliefs of the Church of the FSM:

  • We believe pirates, the original Pastafarians, were peaceful explorers and it was due to
  • Christian misinformation that they have an image of outcast criminals today
  • We are fond of beer
  • Every Friday is a Religious Holiday
  • We do not take ourselves too seriously
  • We embrace contradictions (though in that we are hardly unique)

They also go on to say: This is not a joke.

Austrian officials made Mr. Alm to submit to a medical interview to check his mental fitness to drive.

An Austrian police spokesperson said that the license was issued due to the fact that his entire face could be seen in the photo, not that it was approved on the grounds of religious beliefs.

The discussion of religious beliefs can be "straining" in the eyes of traditional religions, but Niko Alm is on a mission to get Pastafarian and the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster recognized as a true religion.

What do you think? Is this just a scam against mainstream religions or should this be recognized as a religion -- take a look at Scientology -- that's considered a real religion. I myself may just review more about the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster; I am fond of beer.

[BBC News]