Court: Secular Humanism 1, Church of Flying Spaghetti Monster 0
Date:  11-07-2014

Lawsuit against corrections departments in two states settles question of what can be classified as a religion
For those who have a deep, abiding religious belief, incarceration does not diminish that faith. Some people “find” religion upon being incarcerated, and often lose it upon release. Others, such as atheists, come to prison without a belief in God or a higher power, but can have a strong ethical foundation and an unwavering moral compass. In Oregon, a Human Secularist asked the court to declare non-theism a religion so that he could partake in a Humanist study group.

One of the religions that isn’t accepted in prisons across the U.S. is the “Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster.” Members of the Human Secularists and a devotee of the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster have sued to have their beliefs recognized within the penal system.

Two recent articles from Think Progress report on both lawsuits, and the outcomes. The first article explains why Stephen Cavanaugh, a member of the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster, feels the Nebraska Department of Corrections wrongfully denies him his right to practice his religion, which includes wearing religious garb, in this case, a pirate suit. Read more

Think Progress also reports that Jason Holder, who is serving a sentence in a federal prison, joined with the American Humanist Association to have Humanism declared a religion, even though it is “an ethical and life-affirming philosophy free of belief in any gods and other supernatural forces.” Read more