Some time next year, the European court of human rights will decide on the case of a Dutch woman who feels unfairly treated because her country’s highest court has told her she cannot wear a plastic colander on her head for her ID photo.
It may combine Mienke de Wilde’s plea with that of an Austrian former MP, Niko Alm, who proudly wears the offending kitchen utensil on his official documents but now insists his country recognise Pastafarianism – the faith both follow – as a religion.
Watching the pair closely is Mike Arthur, an independent American film-maker whose smart, funny but above all thought-provoking documentary, I, Pastafari, about the world’s fastest-growing faith premieres in the US in October.
All in all, it is shaping up to be quite a big few months for the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster, whose believers wear strainers on their heads in homage to their deity, strive to be nice to pretty much everyone, and conclude their prayers with “r’amen” rather than “amen”.
It sounds, of course, like a joke. On one level, it is. But for Arthur, who has spent three years working on his film, and for many Pastafarians who believe their faith embodies some profound – and profoundly important – principles, it is a lot more.