A council member in Pomfret, N.Y., wore a colander on his head as he was sworn into office to represent his religious beliefs.
Christopher Schaeffer, a minister for the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster, took his oath of office before the Pomfret New York Town Council on Jan. 2.
His church, which was founded by an atheist in 2005, uses the spaghetti strainer as its symbol.
“It's just a statement about religious freedom,” Schaeffer told the Dunkirk Observer after he was sworn in. “It's a religion without any dogma.”
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Bobby Henderson, founder of the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster, wrote a blog post about the swearing-in ceremony on Monday, saying Schaeffer "may be the first openly Pastafarian sworn into office."
"Some people will see it as obnoxious or a sign that he’s not taking the oath of office seriously," Henderson said. "But I am completely confident that Schaeffer will distinguish himself as a Council member of the highest caliber."
The church’s website maintains that Pastafarianism is a genuine religion, believing that pirates were the original Pastafarians and "were peaceful explorers and it was due to Christian misinformation that they have an image of outcast criminals today."
The website adds: "Some claim that the church is purely a thought experiment, satire, illustrating that Intelligent Design is not science, but rather a pseudoscience manufactured by Christians to push Creationism (the doctrine that God created the universe) into public schools. These people are mistaken.
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"The Church of FSM is real, totally legit, and backed by hard science. Anything that comes across as humour or satire is purely coincidental."
Schaeffer said that he is fully committed to working with Pomfret residents.
"Mostly, I'm just looking forward to making sure that the town is run smoothly and we meet the needs of all of our citizens," he said. "If anybody ever has any concerns or questions, I hope they contact me, because I want to make sure that everyone is represented.”