02 May 2008

Beautiful one day, perrrr-fect the next

Queensland Pastafarians were this week struck by the chilling discussion of laws criminalising piracy.

This fearful subject entered polite conversation with the announcement that the Queensland Government planned to amend laws condemning our piratical brethren to life in prison.

Now arguably life in prison is better than being hanged from the accursed yard arm, but any talk of the law rounding on a ship of true pirates is sure to send the blood coursing.

However the hands were tightening prematurely on the cutlasses, for the government was actually announcing it planned to remove certain references to piracy and duelling from the statute books.

In a blow for religious freedom, the Queensland Government yesterday introduced in parliament amendments to Chapter 11 of the Criminal Code, governing piracy.

Lest there be a mighty backlash from the Navy, the government portrayed these changes as 'modernising' the laws, for example by removing references to 'British subjects' and 'Her Majesty's enemies' (although admittedly, these two groups are often one and the same).

This means our community north of the border may soon be safer from prosecution, for piracy if not for other offences.

Harrrrd labour
Up until now, these laws must surely have had the effect of suppressing the growth of our flavoursome faith.

Who can say how many Pastafarians north of the border stayed below decks, reluctant to don the sacred piratical regalia and venture out in public to teach the creamy goodness of the Flying Spaghetti Monster?

Surely it is only the visibility of our gatherings that has prevented our entire congregation from being quietly arrested for our efforts on Talk Like a Pirate Day?

For the fact remains that, notwithstanding this week's discussion, these discriminatory laws are still in place -- criminalising many aspects of the pirate life, and even 'aiding pirates', something our nearest and dearest often do.

At present anyone who "conspires or corresponds with a pirate; is also deemed to be a pirate". (If you are in Queensland, leave a comment here at your peril.)

Anyone who "brings a seducing message from a pirate... is guilty of a crime".

Now if that doesn't sound like a description of a Pastafarian in full pirate regalia holding forth on the beauty of the Flying Spaghetti Monster, well, curse me timbers, I don't know what does.

(And I leave you to speculate on what that most cruel law means for seductive messages sent between Pirates and Lady Pirates in the privacy of their own cabins.)

Even worse, anyone who tries to convince a captain or sailor that they should become a Pastafarian, dress in pirate regalia and teach the noodly origin of the universe, is guilty of a crime.

That is, anyone who "consults or conspires with, or attempts to corrupt, any master or officer of a ship or any sailor, with intent that the person should run away with or yield up any ship, goods, or merchandise, or turn pirate, or go over to pirates".

Anyone convicted of these 'heinous' offences still faces a sentence of life in prison.

Oh glorious day?
If these amendments are passed, these references will be removed from the new chapter of the criminal code dealing with piracy.

Piracy on board a ship will still be a crime, but Queenslanders will no longer be persecuted for the simple fact of being a pirate, or carrying a pirate's 'seductive messages' or helping them out.

At Durum Cathedral, we are beseeching the Flying Spaghetti Monster to reach His noodly appendages down and nudge all members of Queensland parliament to vote in favour of the changes.

Until that glorious day, we are keeping our eye patches and spotted scarves discreetly at home.

Besides, doesn't every religion like to dress up and do strange things behind closed doors?

[Photo of Mission Beach, courtesy of Tourism Queensland. Start digging, me hearties!]

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