While most people seemed unbothered, even amused, by the prayer, one assembly member turned his back, while several refused to take off their hats.
Fortunately for the Church of The Flying Spaghetti Monster (FSM), religious liberties in the United States stretch far and wide.
According to the Anchorage Daily News, a Pastafarian pastor graced the residents of Alaska’s Kenai Peninsula with a government-sponsored prayer session on Tuesday, a colander firmly atop his head.
The pasta-centric faith initially began as a response to the Kansas State Board of Education’s 2005 hearings on teaching intelligent design in schools. Since then, the FSM has garnered a respectable following comprised largely of those frustrated with organized religion.
Ultimately, it does seem to carry a bit more levity than most other faiths, as evident by Barrett Fletcher’s prayer session.
“A few of the assembly members seem to feel that they can’t do this work without being overseen by a higher authority. So I’m called to invoke the power of the true inebriated creator of the universe, drunken tolerator of the all lesser and more recent gods, and maintainer of gravity here on Earth,” said Fletcher, of Fitz Creek, Alaska. “May the great Flying Spaghetti Monster rouse himself from his stupor and let his noodle appendages ground each assembly member in their seats.”
Fletcher’s appearance came after the Alaska Supreme Court ruled last October that nontraditional faiths were allowed to participate in these sessions. While his comically facetious speech only lasted around 90 seconds, the resulting chuckles in the room suggest it was worth it.
The FSM’s lore regards an invisible, drunken monster made of spaghetti and meatballs created the universe.
Fletcher, for one, finds the concept of an invocation preceding a government meeting “offensive,” and founded his local Pastafarian chapter in 2016, after the Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly implemented a policy limiting which religions could conduct its pre-meeting invocations. That’s the law that was struck down last year after the ACLU filed suit.
This week’s Pastafarian invocation followed on the heels of a Satanic Temple invocation in June. Iris Fontana used her opening prayer to “Hail Satan,” after which a dozen people left the room.
While Fletcher’s prayer was inherently more lighthearted, one man did turn his back during the invocation, while others failed to respectfully take off their hats.
In 2016, Nebraska U.S. District Court Judge John Gerard denied the church’s standing as a religion in America. He called it “satire,” which the FSM’s own website certainly seems to confirm.
The site claims the church, “after having existed in secrecy for hundreds of years, came into the mainstream just a few years ago.”
Concluding his speech, Fletcher wished all assembly members “an ample supply of their favorite beverage at the end of this evening’s work.” His last words were simply, “Ramen.”
After learning about the government-sponsored Pastafarian prayer session in Alaska, take a look at 47 photos from when Americans settled in Alaska. Then, learn about evidence of the fabled “King Polar Bear” potentially being discovered in Alaska.