Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster denied legal recognition in Australia

In the mid-oughts, Boing Boing evangelized the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster (FSM), a fine example of a religion pretending to be a joke (or a joke pretending to be a religion). FSM believers, known as Pastafarians, have been mostly quiet in recent years, but they've been quite busy in the shadows. Now though, the Church is again in the headlines as the South Australian Civil and Administrative Tribunal has denied the Australian branch legal status to incorporate. Self-described Church "captain" Tanya Watkins was pursuing incorporation, she said, "because then you've got government oversight, you can run a bank account and all those sorts of things so we could be transparent and above board." But even denied legal recognition, she says the Church will continue its work: "Satire does have a serious purpose," she said, "because satire makes people think." From ABC News:

The tribunal heard evidence from the commission and from Ms Watkins, who contended that the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster was formed for a "religious, educational, charitable or benevolent purpose", thereby meeting the criteria of South Australia's Associations Incorporation Act.

Ms Watkins told the tribunal the church placed emphasis on helping others, and had engaged in acts of charity such as an event at Flinders University to "feed the hungry".

In a ruling handed down earlier this year, and recently published online, SACAT Senior Member Kathleen McEvoy rejected the arguments for incorporation […]

In the ruling, Ms McEvoy noted that while various "Pastafarian texts" are set out in traditional religious forms, they "contain some surprising articulations", such as references to the books of the Bible as the "Old Testicle" and "New Testicle".

image: Niklas Jansson – Android Arts (Public Domain)