Pastafarian Argues Religious Right To Wear Colander In B.C. Driver's Licence Photo

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Obi Canuel is fighting to wear a pasta strainer on his head in his driver's licence photo, arguing that it is within his right to religious freedom.
Obi Canuel is fighting to wear a pasta strainer on his head in his driver's licence photo, arguing that it is within his right to religious freedom.

A B.C. man is fighting for his right to wear a pasta strainer on his head in his driver's licence photo, arguing that it is his religious freedom to do so.

Obi Canuel is a Pastafarian and an ordained minister with the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster. He believes he should be allowed to wear his religious headgear, a colander, in the photo, but provincial licence regulator ICBC has disagreed.

Canuel's plight began in the fall of 2013 (he has documented the whole thing in a YouTube video, uploaded earlier this month), when he went to renew his licence, which meant taking a new picture.

He walked in wearing his strainer and was met with bewilderment from ICBC staff. Still, his picture was taken and he was granted a temporary licence. He was told that his permanent one would be mailed, but it never was.

ICBC's website states that it honours individuals' rights "to religious expression. You will not be asked to remove any headgear that does not interfere with facial recognition technology as long as it is worn in conjunction with religious practice, or is needed as a result of medical treatment.​"

But after months of back and forth with ICBC, Canuel was sent a letter saying there was "no religious requirement that prohibits you from removing the colander for the purpose of taking the photo to appear on your driver’s license," meaning he would not be granted one with his current picture. So he's taking his fight public.

“The truth is sometimes I have the spiritual inkling to wear the colander and I don’t think ICBC should be making decisions about what kind of religious headgear is appropriate or not,” the Surrey man told CTV News.

Founded in 2005, Pastafarianism is headed by the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster which believes a drunken Flying Spaghetti Monster created the planet.

Its website states that "by design, the only dogma allowed in the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster is the rejection of dogma."

In New Zealand, Austria, the U.S., and Czech Republic, Pastafarians are allowed to wear strainers in driver's licence pictures, according to The Vancouver Sun.

Do you think Canada should be next? Let us know in the comments below.

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