Woman permitted to wear a colander in her Mass. license photo

–Photo courtesy American Humanist Association

A woman whose religious beliefs center around the existence of a “Flying Spaghetti Monster’’ was permitted by the Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles to wear a colander on her head in her license photo.

Lindsay Miller identifies as a “Pastafarian,’’ a secular religious group that believes a spaghetti monster is just as likely to exist as more traditional deities from other religions, specifically God in a Christian faith, according to a press release from the American Humanist Association.

“As a member of the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster, I feel delighted that my Pastafarianism has been respected by the Massachusetts RMV,’’ Miller said in the release. “While I don’t think the government can involve itself in matters of religion, I do hope this decision encourages my fellow Pastafarian Atheists to come out and express themselves as I have.’’

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Initially, the Massachusetts RMV denied Miller’s right to wear the strainer in her license photo. After filing an administrative appeal, the RMV determined that the strainer did not interfere with the facial image policy, which states “an applicant’s facial features must be visible,’’ including the eyes, nose, mouth, and cheeks.

“The RMV processed the customer’s request consistent with its established facial image policy,’’ Michael Verseckes, a MassDOT spokesman said in statement to Boston.com. Verseckes verified that the photo provided by the American Humanist Association is a valid Massachusetts driver’s license now owned by Miller.

The RMV’s shifting position on the photo did not reflect an evaluation of Pastafarianism, or Miller’s beliefs, according to Verseckes.

“We do not get into the sincerity or the veracity of religious beliefs,’’ Verseckes said.

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