Pastafarians seek religious exemption from exposure to the unvaccinated | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Pastafarians seek religious exemption from exposure to the unvaccinated

"The Noodly Lord says follow the science," West Kootenay resident and member of the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster said of the church's initiative to exempt their members from exposure to unvaccinated individuals.
Image Credit: FACEBOOK/Gary Smith
September 21, 2021 - 6:30 AM

It may have come as a surprise when the province announced public health orders that granted no religious exemptions for vaccine requirements, but one church is seeking a different kind of exemption.

The Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster want to be exempt from exposure to unvaccinated people.

"I find it weird that religious exemptions are an accepted thing in general, seems like it would be best to leave public health policy to the most knowledgeable, not religious leadership," church founder Bobby Henderson writes in the letter. "But if Churches must take a position on the issue… I am happy to announce that we are offering official letters for those Pastafarians who would like to be exempt from working in proximity to the unvaxxed."

The 'church' says exposure to "harmful virus particles" are "forbidden to devout Pastafarians," according to the church website. The Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster exemption letter suggests that unvaccinated individuals be "placed in a special area to contain their emissions," in order to keep Pastafarians from exposure to COVID-19.

Members, or "Pastafarians," can seek their own letter of exemption through the church's website, signed by its founder, Bobby Henderson.

Pastafarians are a satirical organized religious organization. Most readers might be away of their tricorn hats or even colander hats. Despite its website bio claiming the Church had "existed in secrecy for hundreds of years," its actual formation came about in 2005 when Henderson challenged a Kansas State Board of Education decision to teach intelligent design as an alternative to evolution in science classes.

Henderson posted the exemption letter on the Church's website after he was asked about the church's stance on proof of vaccination mandates.

READ MORE: What is the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster and why is it in court?

"The Noodly Lord says follow the science," Gary Smith, Grand Forks resident and Pastafarian, said.

He's a minestrone (minister) and captain of the B.C. chapter of the Church, leading their meetings every third Friday of the month, which are called Pasttats.

"I can't say... every member is in agreement, because, of course, we're all individuals," he said. "Maybe that's a bit contrary to what more well-established religions are willing to take."

The satirical society has 192 Pastafarians, in B.C. While it may be looked at jokingly, the ideals behind the society are strung from very real questions about the place of religious organizations in society.

"It's a bit of a struggle against institutionalized religious privilege," Smith told 

Smith attempted to challenge ICBC after it refused to allow him to wear his tricorne hat in a driver's licence photo.

Claiming he had been discriminated against based on his religion, he attempted to take the dispute to the B.C. Human Rights Tribunal, but they refused to hear his case.

Smith then challenged the tribunal decision in the B.C. Supreme Court, but he lost.

"We're just a small band of folks who have different beliefs and there is no good reason that we can figure out why those who believe in other major religions... are afforded rights under the constitution or the Charter of Rights and freedoms that a small band like us should not be able to enjoy, or are excluded from," Smith said.

READ MORE: B.C. judge rules 'Pastafarian's' treatment by ICBC not discrimination

The Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster is offering exemption letters to its members requesting to be distanced from unvaccinated individuals.
The Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster is offering exemption letters to its members requesting to be distanced from unvaccinated individuals.
Image Credit: Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster

Despite the lack of religious exemptions from vaccines for religious reasons, worship services are not one of those services where proof of vaccines are required for entry — either outdoor or indoor.

While the province currently maintains mask requirements for most indoor spaces, with capacity limits for certain events, there are no such restrictions on religious services.

There are some organizations, however, that may place their own restrictions on their congregations. The Archdiocese of Vancouver, for example, has decided that masks will be required for all indoor events, but will not require proof of vaccination.

READ MORE: Anti-COVID-19 vaccine protestors enter Salmon Arm schools

— With notes from Ben Bulmer.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Levi Landry or call 250-819-3723 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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