Salon editorial fellow Aaron Kinney takes a look at a bizarre yet fast-growing religion.
The most recent edition of the U.K.s Sunday Telegraph brought an important spiritual development to War Rooms attention -- the increasing popularity of a religion that worships a strange deity known as the Flying Spaghetti Monster.
"We have evidence that a Flying Spaghetti Monster created the universe," wrote the religions founder, Bobby Henderson, in a recent letter to the Kansas Board of Education. "None of us, of course, were around to see it, but we have written accounts of it. We have several lengthy volumes explaining all details of His power."
Yes, this is a joke. Henderson, 25, decided to write his open letter to the states education officials in response to their plan to deemphasize the teaching of evolution in schools and in the wake of President Bushs remarks Aug. 1 regarding the teaching of intelligent design, that the "decision should be made [by] local school districts" but "both sides ought to be properly taught ... so people can understand what the debate is about."
If the school board plans to teach alternative theories of how man was created, Henderson wrote, it should include the indisputable idea that human evolution has been guided from the start by an omnipotent, invisible force -- a creature made of spaghetti and meatballs with stalks for eyes.
Henderson, who says he recently graduated from Oregon State University with a degree in physics, concluded his letter by saying: "I think we can all look forward to the time when these three theories are given equal time in our science classrooms across the country, and eventually the world -- one third time for Intelligent Design; one third time for Flying Spaghetti Monsterism; and one third time for logical conjecture based on overwhelming observable evidence."
The Flying Spaghetti Monster doesn't have a monopoly on religious satire this week. "The Daily Show" promises to end the debate on evolution in a series that began Monday called "Evolution Schmevolution: A Daily Show Special Report."