I think that a social movement can be defined by a group of people working towards a common goal. The movement isn’t defined by how popular it is. A social movement is still a social movement even if not many people know about it.
The movement I have chosen to write about is The Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster and their argument to have their religion taught in schools. The Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster claims that they have been around in secrecy for hundreds of years, but their religion has just become popular in the past few years with a letter that was written in May of 2005 to the school board of Kansas.
A man named Bobby Henderson wrote the Letter. As a Pastafariate (which is what the followers of this religion call themselves), Bobby requested that if the Kansas school board were to start teaching creationism in their schools, they should also teach the pastafarianism creation story as well. He claims that this religion is a legitimate one and they believe that it is to have their creation beliefs taught just like everyone else’s. He also wrote that if the school refused to teach the beliefs of his church, there was going to be a lawsuit.
The Creation story for the Pastafariates is that the world is not really millions of years old. It was actually created thousands of years ago by a flying spaghetti monster. The monster created everything to be similar to the way things are now. They also believe that the monster doesn’t want people to know the truth about him and the world. To keep everything hidden, he uses his “noodley appendages” and messes with the minds of scientists and gives them false evidence to make them believe that the earth is thousands of years old. Along with this claim, the religion states that the original followers and disciples of the church were pirates, who were actually peaceful people. It was the Christians who made people think that the pirates were evil because they didn’t want people to believe in the flying spaghetti monster. An accusation in his letter also states that global warming and natural disasters are directly connected to the lowering rate of pirate population in the world, which has been decreasing since the Middle Ages.
After examining the website for the church, I discovered that Bobby Henderson is actually the leader of this church. The website says that he has a bachelors degree in physics and had gone to college in Oregon, Nevada, and New Zealand. It also says that he is a hobo when not teaching his religion. To raise money for himself, he works on his computer, writes for money, and also sells merchandise for his religion to spread the word of the flying spaghetti monster.
I personally think that what Bobby Henderson is doing can definitely be called a social movement. The underlying point of the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster, at least in my opinion, is to get people to see that we shouldn’t spend so much time arguing about how we got started, and spend more time thinking about where we’re going. No one knows the truth about how everything started, and unless we find all of the answers, no one can claim that they are 100% correct. What Mr. Henderson was getting at was that if the schools decide to teach creationism along with what they have the scientific proof of, they should have to teach every religion’s view on creationism and how things got started rather than just the Christian creation story and beliefs.
I think that the audience that is most likely to hear the actual message of Bobby Henderson is college students. College students have the means to find his religion while searching the Internet, and have the ability to be objective about it while reading it. I think that older adults would just take this as a joke or think that he is crazy for stating that he believes that a flying monster made of spaghetti created the universe, and the younger people will either just like it for how it looks. I don’t think that either of these demographics will take the time to think about it or lack the knowledge needed to understand his message. Either that or they just don’t care to.
Although there is a lot of satire in his statements, I believe that Bobby Henderson made his point fairly well with his letter, and his cause continues to grow all of the time. The religion that he made up in his letter has become an actual following for people, and it has come to the point where he has released a bible for his church. If one wanted to, they can even become a certified minister in The Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster for $20.
Although it doesn’t say it, I don’t believe that this religion is to be taken seriously. It was created to prove a point, and I think it has done so very well so far. I think that if creationism is to be taught in schools, they should have to teach how all religions believe the world was started. I was born and raised Catholic, but I don’t think it’s right or fair just to teach how my religion taught me that the world was created. Who’s to say that their right and that what another group of people thinks is wrong? Some may see it as an insult or just an absurd joke, but I think that Bobby Henderson got his point across very nicely.