Pastafarianism has come a step closer to becoming a recognised religion in Austria, after a citizen, Niko Alm, won a three-year battle allowing him to wear a pasta strainer on his head in his driving licence photo. After finding out that headgear was allowed in photos for confessional reasons, he claimed the sieve was a requirement of his religion. In response to his application, he was asked to submit to a psychological assessment of his fitness to drive. Following the three-year delay, he finally has his new driving licence complete with the photo of him wearing the unusual headgear. He has told the Austrian news agency APA, that his next step is to apply to the authorities to have Pastafarianism recognised as an official religion in the country. Thank the Flying Spaghetti Monster that we are making some progress.
A recent study has concluded that organised religion is an endangered species. This follows a study of nine countries, selected because they have census figures with the relevant data over a significant time span. The countries involved were Australia, Austria, the Czech Republic, Canada, Finland, Ireland, New Zealand, the Netherlands and Switzerland. Daniel Abrams and Haley Yaple of Northwestern University together with Richard Wiener of the University of Arizona predict a continued growth of non-affiliation, tending toward the disappearance of religion in 85 regions around the world. Even in Ireland, which is mostly Catholic, the figure has risen from 0.04% in 1961 to 4.2% in 2006. Another census is taking place shortly in the UK and Ireland, so perhaps there will be more data to back it up shortly. So do you as an Apathist belong to the non-affiliated group or others? That’s right, you don’t care. Let someone else worry about it.
In Austria, Christmas Markets are an integral part of Christmas, selling mulled wine, trinkets and general Christmas fare. The Christ Child is the traditional gift bringer and traditionally actors have been employed to wear the appropriate dress and walk among the crowds. This year, detectives are taking the place of some of these actors in an effort to crackdown on petty thieves and shoplifters.
Church officials have criticized the move and I can’t say I blame them. The idea of the Christ Child running through the market, jumping on a thief and cuffing him, just doesn’t seem very festive. Unless maybe everyone gives a big cheer when it happens.