Ever since the Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly’s controversial policy regarding invocations before meetings was updated and finalized in 2016, people across the peninsula have been voicing their support or frustration, some more vigorously than others.
One man, McNeil Canyon area resident Barrett Fletcher, is going so far as to start up a local congregation of the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster on the lower peninsula.
The church, called FSM for short, was formed in 2005 as a response to the Kansas State Board of Education’s hearings on evolution in schools — its founder sent a letter about FSM as a way to argue against teaching creationism in biology classes.
FSM followers believe an invisible and undetectable monster made of spaghetti and meatballs created the universe after drinking heavily, and that his “noodly appendages” hold great power. Many label the movement as satire, but it is recognized as an official religion in Poland, New Zealand and the Netherlands.
The United States has not made a similar recognition, and a federal judge in Nebraska ruled in 2016 that FSM is a parody religion, rather than an official religion.
Still, Pastafarians, as the church’s followers are called, are able to purchase certificates of ordination through the church’s website in order to perform weddings, and many groups have gatherings somewhat similar to a Catholic mass — with pasta and beer substituted for the more traditional symbols.
Fletcher said his reason for starting the local congregation of Pastafarians is to make a point and ultimately effect change when it comes to the borough’s invocation policy.