29 October 2006

Congratulations - Chaplains in schools

From: Pastor Len Guini, FSM Australia
To: julie.bishop@dest.gov.au
Cc: schoolchaplaincy@dest.gov.au
Date: Oct 29, 2006 5:59 PM
Subject: Congratulations - Chaplains in schools

Attn. Hon. Julie Bishop MP
Minister for Education, Science and Training

Dear Minister Bishop
Congratulations on today's announcement of the Chaplains in Schools program and, in particular, the government's commitment of $90 million over three years to fund further exploration of religious values in our schools.

On behalf of Australia's Pastafarian community, I welcome the Prime Minister's assurance that the program will include funding chaplains to undertake work including "assisting students in exploring their spirituality; (and) providing guidance on religious, values and ethical matters".

We in no way seek to make light of the many serious issues faced by our young people. We seek only to congratulate you on your commitment and resolve in devoting taxpayer's money to the active promotion of religion in schools, government and non-government alike.

As you may be aware, Pastafarians believe the world was created by a Flying Spaghetti Monster. While in the past year we have seen enormous growth in the number of Australians professing our faith, and greater interest yet in our beliefs and Holy writings, we continue to face a gap in awareness about our faith among the general community.

In particular, we are saddened that increasing numbers of school students are being taught about the Christian God in their science classrooms, but they have yet to be taught about the other main explanation for the creation of the universe: the intervention of the FSM, and the beneficient nudges of His Noodly Appendages.

Perhaps the placement of government-funded Pastafarian chaplains in schools may go some way towards rectifying this gap in their knowledge. I would be only too pleased to answer the call, and I'm sure Pastor Al Dente would be with me on this point, if the FSM should nudge us gently in this direction.

Given the regrettable but continuing discrimination faced by the Pastafarian community in this country, it is my hope that, in the event that a school community applies for funding for appointment of an FSM chaplain, your new Reference Group and officers of your Department will not attempt to prevent the appointment. After all, as the Prime Minister noted, the "choice of chaplaincy services, including the religious affiliation and denomination, is entirely a decision for the school community".

When it comes to our schools, and indeed the Australian community as a whole, we humbly pledge to put the 'pasta' back into 'pastoral care'.

Yours most sincerely
Pastor Len Guini

Durum Cathedral
Church of the FSM

20 October 2006

ABC bias and media ownership

Yarrrr to all ye Pastafarians out there. Pastor Len's gratuitous advice to the ABC has never been so well timed. Surely a crew of Pastafarians such as ourselves could also use long buried chest of treasure and spend a few doubloons buying into a media company or two? What could be better than coming back after a hard morning's plundering to read the Sydney Morning Lasagne? Or collapsing in yer cabin and turning on the telly to watch Channel Pieces of Eight, where all those tiresome anti-bias rules won't need to apply?

So come on me hearties, X marks the spot, start digging!


20 ways the ABC can end its bias

Wow, Pastor Al has really been eating his spaghetti shapes this week, with his eminently sensible recommendations for the ABC and the National Curriculum (we'll turn Minister Julie Bishop into a Pastor yet...)

Pastor Al got me thinking, with his fine suggestions about redressing the ABC's insidious bias against FSM and Pastafarians. (I'm thinking Penne in Pyjamas might just work: those stripy pyjamas are a perfect fit for the little stripy ridges down your average penne pasta.)

But, as I said, he got me thinking that Pastafarianism is a positive faith. (I for one am positive that it's true.) Yes, we like a whinge, and we'll be watching closely for bias under the new guidelines. In our hearts, though, we want to work with the ABC to address this unsustainable prejudice, this blind spot, this bias that is robbing the Australian people of his Noodly goodness.

In addition to interviewing Pastor Al, or finding him a spot on Hornblower, I have prepared 20 suggestions for how the ABC can begin to address this glaring gap in its coverage.

1. Devote a series of one of the endless array of cooking shows to pasta.

2. Whenever global warming is discussed (Catalyst, 7.30 Report, documentaries, 4 Corners, evening news, etc.) interview a Pastafarian for an alternative view about the cause of the rise in atmospheric temperatures.

3. Require science program Catalyst to address its shameful silence on the vital area of research into causes of, and cures for, gluten intolerance.

4. Film the lesbian mothers on Play School taking the kids to the Nanda factory.

5. On Radio National, require Philip Adams to show equal disbelief in our beliefs whenever he is professing disbelief in Christian principles.

6. Screen a worthy literary biography of Robert Louis Stevenson. (Sunday evening please, not the empty wasteland of Sunday afternoon).

7. Screen a worthy history documentary about a search for "the real" Treasure Island (and don't skimp on the hammy re-enactments, gee-whiz computer graphics, interviews with assorted twitching academics, etc.)

8. Encourage the comedians on The Glass House to make repetitive and sexually risqué jokes about pasta and the FSM.

9. Use every opportunity for the ABC's rural programs to profile the wheat farmers who are so essential to the spiritual health of Australian Pastafarians.

10. Ask Anthony Green to produce a natty little computer graphic for election night illustrating the impact of Pastafarianism on the vote for the major and minor parties.

11. Set up a national vote for "My favourite pasta" (with website, postcards, etc.) The national special could be hosted by Alan Saunders, Radio National's resident epicurean. (Did someone say food?)

12. Lobby the BBC to produce a radio/TV program about the FSM (a sure-fire way to get something broadcast on the ABC).

13. Give equal time to FSM whenever educational program Behind the News does a story on religion, science or pirates.

14. Devote Jennifer Byrne's national book group program to The Gospel of the FSM.

15. Organise for all local ABC radio stations to interview Pastafarians in their area.

16. Suggest Radio National's high-minded programs about language produce a series promoting pirate talk ("welcome to Lingua Franca-harrrr").

17. Send foreign correspondents to Italy to report on the villages where pasta is made by hand.

18. Run a series of classic spaghetti western movies on ABC 2 digital.

19. Encourage ABC journalists to ask the Australian Bureau of Statistics why there wasn't a "Pastafarian" box to tick on the 2006 Census form (more repression, my friends).

20. Bring Jonathon Saffran back to the network that discovered him. (Pastafarianism is the only living faith to which he has not converted, or subjected to his post-ironic witticisms. Egregious discrimination or oversight? I have my theories.)


17 October 2006

We call on the ABC to end anti-FSM Bias

When was the last time you heard the FSM discussed on Compass? And for that matter, coverage of Pastafarianism on Bananas in Pyjamas has been practically non-existent. Why not Canelloni in Pyjamas? Is the ABC giving Pastafarians a fair go?

The answer to this is clearly a resounding "no!". We can only hope that the new anti-bias guidelines to be introduced by the ABC will allow us to remedy this appalling situation, in which we find ourselves shamefully neglected. We do not even have enough coverage to be misrepresented, indeed, how we would love to be misrepresented, at least it would show they care!

The new guidelines will cover "news and current affairs, opinion programs, factual programs and performance pieces" and it can only be a matter of time before this crude and offensive anti-FSM bias is redressed by the ABC.

I am available personally for appearances on any ABC show that chooses to do what is right. Surely there is room on Midsomer Murders for a spot of pasta for lunch - and how can they have produced two series of Hornblower without showing a single pirate? The bias is there friends, we just have to look hard for it, and then whinge as loudly as we can!

RAmen one and all

National Curriculum to Redress The Balance

Pastafarians can take heart from the new national curriculum proposed by Education Minister Julie Bishop. How much easier will it be for us to persuade a national curriculum board of the need for the FSM to be a major feature of high school education across Australia? Ms Bishop's focus on history was disappointing, but we are sure that she will soon find that biology teaching will aslo benefit from a reduction in the current Maoist domination of the curriculum, perhaps she can read her predecessor Dr Nelson's handover notes with regard to that?

We too believe that a return to the 3 Rs can only benefit the young people of Australia - Rigatoni, Risi and Rotini and urge all Pastafarians to join with us in encouraging her to make these momentous changes.

While your doing that you might also want to add some extra demands:

- Change tuck shop menus to feature enhanced carbohydrate options,
- Greater focus on 17th and 18th century Carribean naval history
- A return to shanty singing and hornpipe dancing in music classes

RAmen to all the relatively faithful out there

16 October 2006

Tell us where to find the Gospel

His Noodliness has answered our call. His appendages have been busy, touching the good folk at Harper Collins to bring Bobby Henderson's Gospel of the Flying Spaghetti Monster to the wide brown land. (Bless you, Natalie and your colleagues.)

There are those who still doubt the beneficence of the FSM, and whether he approves of our activities here in Australia. I say to the faithful: my brothers and sisters, have faith. I say to the doubters: the evidence, my friends, is mounting.

Like a little parcel of ravioli, the Gospel comes with a comforting exterior containing a delicious and nourishing centre.

Now, your mission. We want to hear about sightings of the Gospel around Australia.

If you see it at your local bookshop, leave a comment after this post. Tell us the name and location of the shop. If it has been amusingly filed under the wrong genre (for example, labelled as 'Humour' rather than 'Religion and spirituality' or 'Science') please tell us that as well.

We will promote those bookshops where Pastafarians, truth-seekers and the curious can find The Gospel of the FSM on the shelves.

RAmen indeed.

04 October 2006

The Gospel lands with a splash

You've been waiting patiently, Pastafarians of Australia, and now it's here.

The eagle-eyed Anonymous has been up in the crow's nest, scanning the horizon with a looking glass, and they've spied a ship-load of books on the horizon! We heard the cry and scrambled up the ratlines to have a look for ourselves, and it's true.

Harper Collins is publishing Bobby Henderson's Gospel of the Flying Spaghetti Monster in Australia. See the publisher's page here.

Surely the atheistic ranks of the publishing world have now felt the nudge of His Noodly Appendage.

And thank you Anon. You will surely feel the FSM's blessings pour upon your life, a just reward for your faith and forebearance.


03 October 2006

Pirates land and overrun office!

We issued a call for Australian Pastafarians to celebrate international Talk Like a Pirate Day on 19 September, and shiver me timbers if some of them didn't!

The picture above was sent to us here at Durum Cathedral, showing one workplace taken over by a band of brigands. We have obscured their faces to protect the guilty, and to save you from looking deeply into the eyes of such Fierce Buccaneers.

Even so, you can see they are true pirates by their swords and the flinty lack of mercy they are showing their hapless captives. I can only hope -- for the sake of the poor souls kneeling in the photo -- that there wasn't a plank nearby.

On the positive side, I did detect a notable shift in the temperature on Talk Like a Pirate Day, as we struck a blow against global warming. Armed with a trusty cutlass and faith in the Noodly One, we'll save this planet yet!