Arizona man claims religious discrimination in fight to keep colander on in ID photo

A Phoenix man says the colander he wore on his head for his ID photo is part of his religion, pastafarianism.

CHANDLER, Ariz. - Sean Corbett is a Pastafarian. In other words, he is among many who believe a flying spaghetti monster may have created the universe and everything in it.

At this point we understand if you are skeptical, but that's exactly how this religious group started in the first place.

In 2005, the Kansas board of education voted to let public schools teach the creationist theory of intelligent design as well as evolution in classrooms. A man named Bobby Henderson took to the internet and wrote on his website that you also couldn't prove a flying spaghetti monster hadn't created the universe -- asking why Kansas doesn't allow that theory to be taught as well. 

"The Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster" was born and thousands across the world began claiming Pastafarianism while wearing colanders on their heads.  

This is the point when we need to say THIS IS NOT FAKE NEWS.

Anyway, thousands of miles away, Sean Corbett was looking for a new religion. This seemed to fit his belief system.

"My belief to say the world was created by a flying spaghetti monster is no different than someone saying an invisible guy in the sky created the world," he said.

Sean is proud of his religion and as an Uber driver says many of his clients are well aware of the belief. "'Dude, you're a pastafarian!' some of them say. 

"It's amazing how many pastafarians I run into in Arizona," Corbett said.

Everything is going just fine until Corbett realized he needed to get a new driver's license.

"I walked up to the counter and the lady gives me the up and down look and says, 'no, you can take the picture but without the colander.'"

After trying several MVD locations, Sean was starting to get frustrated and just took the picture. Years later, however, when needing to replace his license, Sean wasn't going to take no for an answer. An MVD manager allowed Sean to take the photo but with the knowledge that it may be rejected in the approval phase.

A month later, the ID shows up colander and all.

"For me to go in and actually convince them to take the picture and then get it approved is huge," Corbett said.

The MVD issued 12 News this statement in regards to Corbett's ID picture: 

"MVD license and ID photos are meant to show a person’s typical daily appearance and allow for religious expression or medical needs. Photos are filtered through facial recognition technology and if an error occurs, the photo can be recalled."

Several hours before this story aired on 12 news, the MVD said they made an error and Corbett will need to go back and retake his photo. 

This is an order Corbett plans to fight and claim religious discrimination.

"It's all about the fight," he said. "Everybody has the right to express themselves. Choose their own religion and they don't have to conform to a religion that the Arizona Department of Transportation thinks is acceptable."

© 2017 KPNX-TV


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