A student at Texas Tech University appears to be the first American to have his driver’s license photo taken — and to successfully obtain a driver’s license — while wearing a pasta strainer on his head.
The student, Eddie Castillo, pulled off the stunt by claiming to practice Pastafarianism and belong to the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster, reports KLBK.
Castillo told DMV officials that the silver, metal pasta strainer is a religious symbol for him, and they bought it.
“Once she allowed me to put the pasta strainer on my head, I took the biggest, cheesiest smile I probably ever took,” he reminisced to the Lubbock CBS affiliate.
Pastafarianism is a satire. Its proponents seek to illustrate their belief that government should avoid promoting any single religion.
The purposefully preposterous religion originated in 2005, notes the Daily Mail. A guy named Bobby Henderson concocted it (along with the Spaghetti Monster, the belief that pirates are gods and much else) while he was fighting against the inclusion of intelligent design in Kansas public schools.
“It was created as a form of satire, but it shouldn’t be taken in a sense that discriminates or disassociates other religions, and it should be looked at as a political symbol for the separation between church and state,” Castillo explained.
As KLBK notes, Castillo isn’t the first person in the United States to try such antics.
“I’ve heard of the stories happening in New Jersey, you know, the guy getting arrested for attempting to do the same thing that I was doing, so when I walked in there I had to mentally prepare myself to probably gather bond or something to get out of jail,” he told the CBS affiliate.
The Texas Tech student added that he was surprised that he succeeded in Lubbock because of its reputation as a bastion for conservatism.
Castillo also expressed his hope that he isn’t seen as “poking fun at religious head-wear in other peoples’ faiths.” Instead, he said, he hopes his action “opens the doors for new-age religion” and “celebrates in a sense that we are a melting pot of a country.”
It’s not clear if Castillo will actually be able to keep and use a driver’s license in which he wears a pasta strainer on his head.
On the one hand, KLBK notes that Castillo had wrangled for a month with the Texas Department of Public Safety (which handles driver’s licenses) before he actually showed up for his photo wearing a colander.
On the other hand, the station indicated that the Department’s attorneys are assessing the legality of Castillo’s license and will contact him “to rectify the situation.”
According to a report compiled by the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), Texas law prohibits “obvious disguises for the purpose of concealing identity or headwear that is not for religious purposes” in driver’s license photographs.