- (Photo: Greg Fox / Dunkirk Observer)
A Pastafarian elected to a New York town board, who may be the first of his sect to become a public official, wore a strainer while being sworn in last Thursday.
Christopher Schaeffer was sworn in to a position on the Pomfret Town Board on Jan. 2, wearing the cooking item while raising his right hand for the ceremony.
Schaeffer explained to local media that he wore the strainer in the name of "religious freedom" and in solidarity with likeminded individuals in Russia, reported Greg Fox of the Dunkirk Observer.
"Schaeffer wore a colander (a strainer typically used to drain water from spaghetti) while Town Clerk Allison Dispense administered the oath of office to him before the board's reorganizational meeting," wrote Fox.
He explained that "a group of church members in Russia, called Pastafarians, were arrested during a parade last summer and charged with organizing an unsanctioned rally because they 'offended the Orthodox Church.'"
Schaeffer announced his bid to become a member of the Pomfret Town Board last October, running with the endorsement of both the Democratic Party and the Working Families Party.
"My goal is to serve the community to the best of my ability, keeping our taxes down, while improving the service the town supplies to its residents. As an experienced manager I'm used to doing more with less," remarked Schaeffer.
"The most important duty of any elected official is to listen to what the people want and find a way to deliver that in the most cost effective way possible."
Last November, Schaeffer won his election to get a seat on the board by earning 1,510 votes. Schaeffer and Democrat Brett Christy, who received 1,559 votes, took the seats formerly held by Patricia Lynch-Christina and David Penharlow.
Also known as the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster, Pastafarianism is considered a satirical religion that declares itself the "religion without dogma." Schaeffer was even featured on the church's website.
"This may be the first openly Pastafarian sworn into office. For sure, the first to be sworn in wearing a colander," wrote Bobby Henderson on the church's site.
"Some people will see it as obnoxious or a sign that he's not taking the oath of office seriously. But I am completely confident that Schaeffer will distinguish himself as a council member of the highest caliber."