Monday, January 02, 2023

European Court Again Holds That Flying Spaghetti Monster Church Is Not a Protected "Religion"

In two recent Chamber Judgments, the European Court of Human Rights reaffirmed its prior holding in a 2021 case that the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster, whose adherents are also known as Pastafarians, does not qualify as a "religion" or "belief" protected by Article 9 of the European Convention on Human Rights. In Sager v. Austria, (ECHR, Dec. 15, 2022), Austria's Office for Religious Affairs refused to recognize the Church as a religious community. The European Court rejected petitioner's challenge to that decision, saying in part:

[B]y holding that Pastafarianism perceived itself as an ironical and critical movement with educational, scientific and political aims, and lacked religious rites, duties and an active following in Austria, the Office for Religious Affairs and the Federal Administrative Court duly applied the above‑mentioned standards requiring a certain level of cogency, seriousness, cohesion and importance.

In ALM v. Austria, (ECHR, Dec. 15, 2022), Austrian authorities refused to issue petitioner an identity card with a photograph showing him wearing a crown made of pasta.  Again, the European Court rejected petitioner's challenge to that decision. Law & Religion UK reports on the decisions.