Judge Tosses Inmate's Suit on 'Flying Spaghetti Monster' Faith

It's a 'parody,' not a religion, he rules
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Apr 15, 2016 9:42 AM CDT
Judge Tosses Inmate's Suit on 'Flying Spaghetti Monster' Faith
In this file photo, a member of the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster plays the accordion next to a "holiday display" on the State Capitol lawn in Lansing, Mich.   (Danielle Duval/MLive.com via AP)

A judge has dismissed a Nebraska inmate's lawsuit that claimed he was denied his right to worship the divine Flying Spaghetti Monster, and that he was mocked and faced discrimination for his faith, reports the AP. Stephen Cavanaugh sued the Department of Correctional Services and penitentiary officials in 2014 seeking $5 million and a court order mandating that inmates who practice FSMism receive the same rights and privileges as inmates who practice other religions. US District Judge John Gerrard dismissed the lawsuit this week. He said in his ruling that "FSMism" is not a religion as outlined by federal law, but "a parody intended to advance an argument about science, the evolution of life, and the place of religion in public education."

Gerrard said those issues are important and that FSMism contains a serious argument, "but that does not mean that the trappings of the satire used to make that argument are entitled to protection as a 'religion,'" reports the Lincoln Journal Star. He also said Cavanaugh, 24, didn't sufficiently back up claims that he had been prevented from exercising his religion while serving time in the Nebraska State Penitentiary on assault and weapons charges. Cavanaugh claimed prison staff discriminated against him by refusing to allow him to meet for worship services and classes, to wear religious clothing and pendants, and to receive communion. Gerrard determined that prison staff "concluded, reasonably, that FSMism was satirical and required no accommodation." (More the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster stories.)

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