In Germany, many town limits proudly display signs noting the times at which official church services take place. Such is the case for the town of Templin, which received a distinctly modern addition to its ecclesiastical welcome wagon in 2014: signs officially listing the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster alongside Christianity’s most stalwart houses of worship.
What makes this seemingly innocuous arrangement all the more entertaining is a teensy fact about Templin itself; the small town of only 16,000 residents is home both to Germany’s lead “Pastafarian,” Rüdiger Weida (aka “Bruder Spaghettus”) and none other than Germany’s pragmatic conservative, Chancellor Angela Merkel. So, like two faces of Janus, while Merkel regularly convenes with Pope Francis in Rome, Weida continues campaigning from their shared home turf for equal representation on behalf of the (non-) Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster.
America might not allow for such government mandated church announcements, but one must wonder if they wouldn’t allow a spaghetti monster here and there.
As of press time, German Pastafarians have yet to receive state-recognition as a religious entity, though their road signs greeting all of Templin’s visitors will continue to hang thanks to the blessing of local authorities.
Update October, 2017: German courts have ruled that Pastafarians are not allowed to post announcements of services alongside those of other churches.