It's official - New Zealanders can now tie the knot in spaghetti. The Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster is now legally recognized as being allowed to carry on wedding ceremonies.
The Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster - which believes the existence of a god made of spaghetti and meatballs is just as likely as the existence of other gods - has just had its first marriage celebrant approved by the New Zealand Government. Church members, called "Pastafarians" can now carry on wedding ceremonies in their own church's rite... which is basically justa lot of fun.
"We have swords, we have noodles and pasta involved in the ceremony. It's a bit of fun," said the head of the church, Karen Martyn, who has been dubbed a "Ministeroni".
The New Zealand Department of Internal Affairs late last year approved The Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster's request and now allowed Martyn to solemnize weddings.
Jeff Montgomery, the Registrar-General of Births, Deaths and Marriages, says the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster demonstrated "a consistent presentation of their philosophies" when he approved the church last year. According to the law, this right has to be approved for any group that "upholds or promotes religious beliefs or philosophical or humanitarian convictions" - even though many consider the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster as a spoof religion or a parody.
The church itself emerged in 2005, following a satirical open letter written by Bobby Henderson to protest the Kansas State Board of Education decision to permit teaching intelligent design as an alternative to evolution in public school science classes. Henderson satirized creationism by professing his belief that whenever a scientist carbon-dates an object, a supernatural creator that closely resembles spaghetti and meatballs is there "changing the results with His Noodly Appendage". Henderson argued that his beliefs were just as valid as intelligent design. After he published the letter on his website, it became highly popular, receiving praise from the scientific community and of course, criticism from the religious community.
However, while the church itself has very few rules, Martyn argues that it's more than just a parody.
"Our religion has no dogma. It's one of our rules. So we have no dietary restrictions. You can wear any clothing you want. You can look like what you want. You can speak what you want. You can act like what you want. You can even belong to other religions and we don't care.
You can make fun of us because we really believe all religions should be subject to scrutiny and to humour. And they should be for the greater good — not something that tears people apart, communities apart, or pits people against each other. We are really into maximising the happiness and pleasure not only of individuals, but community and the world, all sentient beings."
Pastafarians aren't the only unusual groups to be allowed to perform wedding ceremonies in New Zealand. Other groups that can solemnise marriages include Druids, Wiccans and those who practise yoga or spiritual healing.