ACLU oficially condones FSMism!

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jdogmoney
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ACLU oficially condones FSMism!

Postby jdogmoney » Wed May 10, 2006 7:39 pm

Dear Mr. money, (only thing I changed from the original e-mail.)

Thank you for contacting the ACLU and sharing your thoughtful comments about the ACLU and religion.

Ours is one of the most devout nations in the world, and it is at the same time the most religiously diverse. The U. S. has more than 1,500 different religious bodies and sects - including 75 divisions of Baptists alone. This country also has 360,000 churches, mosques and synagogues, all coexisting in relative harmony.

The ACLU is committed to defending the religious freedom of all Americans and keeping our national tradition of religious diversity alive and well. To protect religious liberty for everyone in America, however, the ACLU is often in the position of defending the minority from the will of the majority. In some instances, this involves challenging nativity displays or the posting of the Ten Commandments on public property.

We are a nation founded on religious freedom. As such, the ACLU believes our society should be particularly sensitive to the legitimate complaints that government-sponsored displays and other actions that promote religion are offensive and inappropriate to those who belong to minority faiths and to non-believers. The ACLU believes that no person should be made to feel like an outsider by his or her own government.

This in no way infringes upon the rights of individuals -- individuals and private groups, after all, have the right to display religious symbols on their own private property. However, the ACLU believes that there are better ways, other than the use of religious displays, for governmental entities to wish their constituents well during the holiday season.

For further information, you can visit the ACLU's Religious Liberty page at http://www.aclu.org/ReligiousLiberty/Re ... tyMain.cfm.

If you would like to join the ACLU or make an additional donation, please visit http://www.aclu.org/contribute/contribute.cfm or call 1-888-567-ACLU.

To find out more about what you can do, please visit http://www.aclu.org/action.

Sincerely,
D. Barber
Correspondence Manager, American Civil Liberties Union

======= Subject: Does the ACLU recognize my religion? To whom it may concern:

I practice an alternative religion. I am a follower of the Flying Spaghetti Monster, or a Pastafarian.

One of the tenets of FSMism is a religious holiday every Friday, called Friday.

As stated in The Gospel of the Flying Spaghetti Monster:
"Friday is the holiest of the Pastafarian holidays and takes place each week. During this High Day, Pastafarian are encouraged to take it easy and, if possible, try to find some sun."

If a Pastafarian were to observe this holiday "with the utmost of piety" as outlined in the book, and took off from school/work to do so, would the American Civil Liberties Union defend that Pastafarian against unfair punishment? Would the ACLU defend that person's right to individual religious pracices?

In short, would you protect Pastafarian civil liberties?

[end of e-mail]

So go ahead, Pastafarians. Do your noodly duty. The ACLU has our back.
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Alpaca
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Postby Alpaca » Wed May 10, 2006 9:13 pm

Excellent find!

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Nikkoru
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Postby Nikkoru » Wed May 10, 2006 11:22 pm

Alas, my plan to put up my giant FSM painting in city hall seems to be foiled...

It's interesting that they took it seriously there, they probably don't have much of a choice.

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Duke
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Postby Duke » Thu May 11, 2006 4:12 am

Can I get a hearty Huzzah from the congregation?


Duke
"In the first place, God made idiots. That was for practice. Then he made school boards."

--Mark Twain


He who fights with monsters might take care lest he thereby become a monster. And if you gaze for long into an abyss, the abyss gazes also into you.

--Friedrich Nietzsche


"If it turns out that there is a God, I don't think that he's evil. But the worst that you can say about him is that basically he's an underachiever."

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Postby PirateKingOfTheGoldCoast » Thu May 11, 2006 1:24 pm

Huzzah, so does this mean would all try and take off the same friday just to prove a point?
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Duke
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Postby Duke » Thu May 11, 2006 1:58 pm

We can work towards that goal, but in the meantime, just know that we have a powerful ally in the ACLU.


Duke
"In the first place, God made idiots. That was for practice. Then he made school boards."

--Mark Twain




He who fights with monsters might take care lest he thereby become a monster. And if you gaze for long into an abyss, the abyss gazes also into you.

--Friedrich Nietzsche




"If it turns out that there is a God, I don't think that he's evil. But the worst that you can say about him is that basically he's an underachiever."

--Woody Allen

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Al Dante
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Postby Al Dante » Thu May 11, 2006 2:04 pm

Duke wrote:Can I get a hearty Huzzah from the congregation?


How about a noncommittal "M'kay" instead?

To me this reads like standard boilerplate that the ACLU probably sends in reply to any complaint or query about the ACLU's position on any religious freedom issue. It certainly doesn't say that the ACLU "officially condones" Pastafarianism or any other religion. (And it would make no sense if it did so -- what kind of religious freedom would apply only to religions "condoned" by some organization?) Nor does the reply address the question of whether the ACLU would support, specifically, the right of Pastafarians to take Fridays off. It does talk about public displays of religious symbols, which jdog didn't even inquire about.

Don't get me wrong: I like the ACLU, especially when they thoroughly piss me off by defending the rights of some asshat who doesn't even deserve to live, let alone rights. That kind of intellectual honesty is rare and precious. I'm glad they support religions freedom for members of small-minority faiths, as they obviously have always done. That in itself certainly deserves a hearty Huzzah! from me -- but it's not news.

- constitutionAL

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Duke
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Postby Duke » Thu May 11, 2006 2:14 pm

It does strike me as an auto-reply type form letter, but we take what we get.


Duke
"In the first place, God made idiots. That was for practice. Then he made school boards."

--Mark Twain




He who fights with monsters might take care lest he thereby become a monster. And if you gaze for long into an abyss, the abyss gazes also into you.

--Friedrich Nietzsche




"If it turns out that there is a God, I don't think that he's evil. But the worst that you can say about him is that basically he's an underachiever."

--Woody Allen

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PirateKingOfTheGoldCoast
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Postby PirateKingOfTheGoldCoast » Thu May 11, 2006 2:19 pm

These guys get 1,000's of letters a day. Everyone gets a form letter return, until there is an issue that they can take to court. Then you get a phone call.
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Al Dante
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Postby Al Dante » Thu May 11, 2006 3:33 pm

Rather than pester the ACLU for further answers that would be unlikely to be forthcoming, I decided to do a little research on the question of accommodation of religious holidays under current U.S. law. Sad to say, the prospect doesn't look good for those laid-back Fridays in the sun.

The key precedent in U.S. law appears to be the Supreme Court case of TWA vs. Hardison in 1977. Until then, under Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, employers were told they must "reasonably accommodate" employees' religious beliefs and practices in the workplace unless doing so would cause "undue hardship." The 1977 decision altered that, by exempting employers from accommodating employees' religious beliefs wherever doing so would cause more than "de minimis" expense, because such expense would be an "undue hardship" for the employer.

The 1977 case just happened to be about an employee who wanted the option of having Sabbath days off.

Here's the 1977 Supreme Court ruling (including a dissenting opinion by Justices Marshall and Brennan)

Here's a brief overview of the recent history of how the U.S. courts have handled the issue of religious tolerance in the workplace, including attempts to pass a new Workplace Religious Freedom Act (WRFA) in recent years. The WRFA would restore a narrower definition of "undue hardship" and thus expand the range of circumstances where employers must accommodate employees' religious beliefs.

The WRFA might be the best hope for Pastafarian Fridays, but even if it passes you still might not get your Fridays off, and the WRFA would also come at the cost of increased religiously-motivated crap you might have to put up with from your coworkers and from service employees with whom you interact in daily life.

Here's an anti-WRFA open letter by the ACLU, from 2005. Yes, the ACLU opposes the WRFA, for reasons that their letter explains.

Here's a pro-WRFA article, from "Legal Times" 2003.

Here's the text of the 2003 Senate WRFA bill, S. 893.

- paralegAL

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Postby jdogmoney » Thu May 11, 2006 8:14 pm

Al Dante wrote:
Duke wrote:Can I get a hearty Huzzah from the congregation?


How about a noncommittal "M'kay" instead?

To me this reads like standard boilerplate that the ACLU probably sends in reply to any complaint or query about the ACLU's position on any religious freedom issue. It certainly doesn't say that the ACLU "officially condones" Pastafarianism or any other religion. (And it would make no sense if it did so -- what kind of religious freedom would apply only to religions "condoned" by some organization?) Nor does the reply address the question of whether the ACLU would support, specifically, the right of Pastafarians to take Fridays off. It does talk about public displays of religious symbols, which jdog didn't even inquire about.

Don't get me wrong: I like the ACLU, especially when they thoroughly piss me off by defending the rights of some asshat who doesn't even deserve to live, let alone rights. That kind of intellectual honesty is rare and precious. I'm glad they support religions freedom for members of small-minority faiths, as they obviously have always done. That in itself certainly deserves a hearty Huzzah! from me -- but it's not news.

- constitutionAL


I think that came up because I mentioned the word "holiday"...

Their use of a form letter will be their downfall one day.
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Al Dante
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Postby Al Dante » Fri May 12, 2006 3:43 pm

Good point, Mr. money. I had figured that your e-mail was probably at least looked at by a human being, who quickly categorized it as in the "religious civil liberties" general category (especially given the question you summed up with) and then fired off the appropriate form letter for that category. But you're right, if they're using an auto-reply system instead, it's plausible that it latched onto "holiday" and "religion" plus a few other keywords and interpreted it as either a complaint about, or support of, the ACLU's stance on religious holiday decorations in public places -- because they must certainly get a large number of those.

If you're curious, you might try another letter, with all the important words misspelled to foil any auto-reply system, and see what response you get. :D Or, more practically, send an e-mail to the same address complaining about the blatantly Buddhist holiday mural at your local City Hall, or chewing them out for forcing your high school to take down its 40-foot inflatable baby Jesus, and see if you get the exact same reply back again.

- mechanicAL

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Duke
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Postby Duke » Fri May 12, 2006 11:14 pm

Now that's what I call a good idea. :wink: :D

This could be a fun experiment.


Duke
"In the first place, God made idiots. That was for practice. Then he made school boards."

--Mark Twain




He who fights with monsters might take care lest he thereby become a monster. And if you gaze for long into an abyss, the abyss gazes also into you.

--Friedrich Nietzsche




"If it turns out that there is a God, I don't think that he's evil. But the worst that you can say about him is that basically he's an underachiever."

--Woody Allen

jdogmoney
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Postby jdogmoney » Sat May 13, 2006 12:30 am

http://www.aclu.org/contact/general/index.html

I highly suggest that we all ask as many questions as we can about the ACLU's policies towards Pastafarianism.

Who else will join me in this Noodly Inquisition?

Wait, no...

Pasta-rific Inquiry.

That's not quite right either...

What's the name for this movement?
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jdogmoney is a misnomer. It's a little inside joke I've had going for a while, mocking all of the people who claim to be "street". I know, I know, it's not that funny, but...

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Duke
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Postby Duke » Sat May 13, 2006 2:23 am

Contact: ACLU-FSM?

The Pastafarian Query(of the ACLU)?

Questions from the FSM?

Just throwing those out there.


Duke
"In the first place, God made idiots. That was for practice. Then he made school boards."

--Mark Twain




He who fights with monsters might take care lest he thereby become a monster. And if you gaze for long into an abyss, the abyss gazes also into you.

--Friedrich Nietzsche




"If it turns out that there is a God, I don't think that he's evil. But the worst that you can say about him is that basically he's an underachiever."

--Woody Allen


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