Pastafarian Pastor Praises the Flying Spaghetti Monster at Government-Sponsored Prayer Session in Alaska

A Pastafarian pastor representing the Church of The Flying Spaghetti Monster (FSM) opened a government-sponsored prayer session while wearing a colander on his head on Tuesday in Homer, Alaska.

"So, I'm called to invoke the power of the true inebriated creator of the universe, the drunken tolerator of the all lesser and more recent gods, and maintainer of gravity here on earth. May the great Flying Spaghetti Monster rouse himself from his stupor and let his noodly appendages ground each assembly member in their seats," said Barrett Fletcher, of Fitz Creek, Alaska, as reported by the Anchorage Daily News.

The invocation took place after a court ruling paved the way for nontraditional religions to participate. Fletcher spoke for around 90 seconds and stated that he hoped the FSM would allow the assembly members "an ample supply of their favorite beverage at the end of this evening's work," before ending the prayer with a final declaration of "ramen."

The prayer appears to have been met with only a moderate amount of disapproval from the audience. A June invocation by a Satanic Temple member proved more controversial, leading to protests and several walkouts from officials and attendees.

Fletcher, who says he finds the idea of an invocation before a government meeting "offensive," had started the local chapter of the church in response to the Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly's 2016 policy limiting the nature of invocations before meetings, according to a January 2018 report from Homer News. The policy stated that invocations at government body meetings could only be given by those from "official organizations" with an "established presence on the Kenai Peninsula."

Protesters including Flying Spaghetti Monster
The Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster was first established in 2005. Supporters are seen here at the 2010 "Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear" in Washington, D.C. Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images/Getty

The American Civil Liberties Union of Alaska, joined by several parties including a Jewish woman and an atheist, filed suit against the borough in 2016. The Alaska Supreme Court ruled the policy unconstitutional in October 2018. The policy was changed that November to allow anyone to offer invocations, regardless of religion.

FSM believers claim that an invisible and undetectable drunken monster, assembled from spaghetti and meatballs and wielding "noodly appendages," was the true creator of the universe. Similar propositions concerning unverifiable and unfalsifiable deities have been made since at least the 19th century, the most well known of which may have been philosopher Bertrand Russell's "Celestial Teapot." However, Pastafarians frame their beliefs as a religion, whereas similar past concepts were considered thought experiments.

While the church's validity as a religion varies in different countries, a 2016 Federal ruling by Nebraska U.S. District Court Judge John Gerard denied the church's official status in the United States, calling the religion "satire."

According to their official website, the church "after having existed in secrecy for hundreds of years, came into the mainstream just a few years ago."

The group first attained notoriety among separation of church and state activists in 2005, after the publication of an open letter to the Kansas Board of Education in response to a contentious debate concerning evolution and the proposed teaching of so-called "intelligent design" in Kansas schools. A book by the author of that letter, Bobby Henderson, was written and published in 2006 as The Gospel of the Flying Spaghetti Monster.