I was watching my Sunday comedy program, which included an interview with Mitt Romney, who discussed his recent speech on “Freedom and Religion.” Romney said that America needed “morality and religion” though that religion was “of course, not a particular denomination.” Tim Russert questioned him on this, asking about whether atheists had a place in American government, and Romney admitted that it was possible, on a person-by-person basis, for an atheist to have a moral code (unlike the blanket morality of those in organized religion, one supposes). He went on to say that
the, the founders of the nation, coming from different faiths and different persuasions, nonetheless all believed that the, the creator was an instrumental part of the founding of this nation. And I believe that that part of history should be taught, I believe that we should recognize the divine with everything from celebrations in the town square, with menorahs and nativity scenes, as well as in our history books, talking about the fact that the creators did believe in a fundamental sense of, of the divine. And, and recognizing that that gives us a moral code, a suggestion of what is right and wrong, that is–that is, in many respects, unique in the world.
I have to assume that he would be open to other things showing up in the town square, including seasonal icons from latter day religious tradition.
And here, of course, I am speaking of Pastafarianism. While I am not devout, I was proud to be one of the founding members of the First Buffalo Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster, and yet, was chagrined to admit that I did not immediately know what would be appropriate to put alongside the menorah and nativity in the town square. Of course, in September I always celebrate the doctrinal Talk Like a Pirate Day, bringing a bit of diversity into the classroom in subtle ways, but can’t we follow in the footsteps of the popes, and bull ourselves a holiday to piggyback on Yule? I did some preliminary research, finding some information on Jólasveinarnir, The Yuletide Lads, and other alternative Santa Clauses, but no Pater Pasta. In the heartland, however, this battle is already in full force.
It’s bad enough that schools are banning our religious garb, it seems that universities are turning out to be equally bigoted when it comes to Pastafarian celebrations this time of year. Some students at Missouri State University attempted in a small way to celebrate the FSM:
The administration was not content, however, and has steadfastly refused reasonable requests by the active MSU Pastafarian community (including a large number of students and faculty) to celebrate the holidays with displays alongside other religious paraphernalia.
While I find little evidence of a “War on Christmas,” this seems to be a hard season to remain a devout follower of Its Noodly Appendage. A very happy holiday to you, however you choose to celebrate it, ramen.