Our American brothers are a religious lot, with a rather unfortunate habit of mixing belief with politics.

However, atheism scored a small victory in the push back against the faithful last week with the swearing in of Christopher Shaeffer, a ‘Pastafarian’ minister who will now serve on the local town council of Pomfret in New York State.

Schaeffer attended the ceremony wearing a colander on his head.

The newly-elected council member’s bizarre choice of millinery was due to his membership of the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster, an atheist group founded in 2005 and named after Richard Dawkins’ now-famous ‘Dead Gods’ criticism of religion.

Schaeffer told the local Observer newspaper: "It's just a statement about religious freedom… It's a religion without any dogma."

Bobby Henderson, the founder of the ‘Church’, has backed Schaeffer’s decision to wear the kitchen utensil during the ceremony.

"Some people will see it as obnoxious or a sign that he’s not taking the oath of office seriously," Henderson blogged, “but I am completely confident that Schaeffer will distinguish himself as a Council member of the highest calibre."

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