A second member of the B.C. Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster claims his religious rights are being violated after ICBC has refused to let him wear a pirate hat for his driver's licence photo.
Vancouver’s Seven Dair recently went to ICBC to update his B.C. Care Card as it has his old name and no picture.
“I went in wearing my utility kilt and my tricorn hat,” he said. “I noticed they made the person in front of me take off his glasses and baseball hat.”
When it came to his turn, Dair said he showed the clerk his change-of-name certificate and his Pastafarian card.
“She looked at it in confusion, then just handed it back to me,” he said.
She then asked him to remove his pirate hat and glasses.
“I said, ‘I can't. I can’t see anything without my glasses and I can't remove my hat for religious reason,’” he explained.
She insisted so he said he conceded to take off his glasses but not the hat.
“She then said, ‘OK, I can take it but I have to send it in for review,’” Dair said.
"After the photo was taken we went back to the desk and I said, ‘This is why I showed you my Pastafarian card as part of my religion,’ then showed her the card again as well as the fish tattoo on my arm."
Dair said the clerk told him he might be asked to come in and have another photo taken and that a temporary card could be issued without a photo.
He opted for a temporary card.
On Oct. 11, Dair received a letter saying if his pirate hat is not considered a religious head covering, he might need to get a new photo taken.
The letter asked him about his religion and religious belief, the significance of his head covering and what religious obstacle or consequence would flow from not wearing his religious head covering.
“I think it's going to need an honest but calculated way to answer it. Perhaps even from a lawyer who is adept in dealing with the government and human rights issues. Perhaps even a team of Pastafarians," Dair said. "I'm going to wait on it a bit till I have a solid way to proceed.”
One of those Pastafarians is Gary Smith of Grand Forks, the church's leader — also known as Dread Pyrate Higgs.
Smith has been battling ICBC over the same issue for years. Smith has taken his fight to wear a pirate hat in official photos to ICBC, the province’s Human Rights Tribunal and the Supreme Court of B.C.
Most recently, the B.C. Ombudsperson denied Smith a request to wear the attire in a photograph for his security guard licence.
Dread Pyrate Higgs
Meanwhile, Smith continues his own swashbuckling with ICBC.
He recently went into a Service BC office in Fort St. John for a driver's licence renewal.
Smith said the clerk wasn’t bothered whether he wore a pirate hat or not. Then she saw his file and changed her mind, Smith said.
So, he took his hat off.
Underneath, he had a temporary tattoo of the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster logo: a swirl of spaghetti with two meatballs and a pair of eyes on stems rising from the noodles.
Meanwhile, he said he now has a lawyer in his corner who has been corresponding with ICBC, which might review his file.
What is the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster?
The church came into being after a 2005 dispute with the Kansas State Board of Education.
It has a satirical seriousness behind its antics — it gives moral support to those around the world who cannot express themselves, especially folks in non-democratic nations.
Smith is a devout follower and believer in Quob, the deity who is in friendly conflict with the Pansexual Quantum Toaster whose holy day is March 23.
“We are not anti-religion, we are anti-crazy nonsense done in the name of religion,” the church's website said. “There is a big difference. Our ideal is to scrutinize ideas and actions but ignore general labels.”