Pagan Priest Wins Right To Wear Horns For Maine Driver’s License Photo

imrsPhelan Moonsong, 56, has achieved something that no pagan or non-pagan has ever achieved before him.  He has been allowed to wear his ceremonial goat horns as a religious garment for his Maine driver’s license.  If anything, they should eliminate any difficulty recognizing the Pagan priest.

Moonsong of Millinocket, Maine maintained that the goat horns are no different from skull caps or other religious wear — a compelling argument.  He has a long history as a pagan priest and wears the horns in public.

When he first went in for the license, officials at the Bureau of Motor Vehicles in Bangor told him to remove the horns.  Despite his explaining how he is a “Priest of Pan,” the DMV took a distinctly non-pagan position.

He sent a challenge to the DMV including a work entitled “Pagan Religions: A Handbook for Diversity Training.” Such garments are protected generally under state laws and, as long as they do not cover the face like a Burka, they are generally allowed.  The DMV eventually caved and insisted that he did not clearly state that the horns were religiously based — a dubious suggestion.

For those of you considering horns for your next license, many states follow this rule of the American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators guidelines:  license photos “may only show the cardholder with headgear, if the cardholder is a member of a religion requiring the wearing thereof and provided that the headgear does not present as an obstruction or present a shadow and render the portrait inadequate for the identification of the cardholder.”


Moonsong said that the decision will help other pagans come “out of the closet” and presumably into DMVs around the country.  Of course, there can now be some debate as to compliance with §1903 of the Maine Code:

ADEQUATE SIGNALING DEVICE; USE 1. Signaling device required. A person may not operate a motor vehicle without a suitable and adequate horn or other device for signaling.

Hopefully, the DMV will not require proof that the horn are suitable and adequate for all purposes.

Courtesy photo of Phelan Moonsong


32 thoughts on “Pagan Priest Wins Right To Wear Horns For Maine Driver’s License Photo”

  1. Imagine having someone, with two horns hot glued to his forehead, coming to your office for a job interview. The possibilities are endless.

    How strange that his choice, to appear as some sort of hybrid–part human, part animal– member of nature, suddenly evokes comparisons, by this blog’s contributors, with nuns and priests who often wear different attire. There are no similarities, and stating that there are doesn’t make it so. Affixing horns to one’s forehead, to transform into part of the animal kingdom, is just one more step into the abyss of gender confusion and, now, species confusion, which is now, apparently, sanctioned and condoned by our society. At one time–a more sane time–mentally disturbed individuals, like this fellow, would be treated. Medicated. Given therapy. Helped. Now, instead, they are given safe spaces. Cover spreads on Vanity Fair. Bruce Jenner is shot full of female hormones, gets massive bust implants and slathers on industrial strength cosmetics. Poof. He’s a woman, and if we’re smart, we’d better not question the sanity of that process. Let’s encourage that. Promote that. Legitimize that lunacy instead of trying to cure it. We are anything that we want to be–any race, any gender and, yes, now any species. Don’t be surprised to see this trailblazer on the next cover for Vanity Fair. Wonder if the magazine will dress him in a white bustier? Let’s hope.

    1. Bam,

      Would you be willing to look into one of the world’s oldest practices, shamanism? It’s a varied tradition, differing by culture and time. It’s truly amazing! It predates our more usual current religious practices by 100’s of thousand years.

      As an atheist (well Pastafarian) myself, I find the study of all different kinds of religions interesting. Our society find pope hats to be normal costumes because that is what is considered a part of “normal” in our society. Of course, many protestants do not like Catholic pope and cardinal garb, considering it silly or ridiculous.

      While it is true that nature hating religions are more the norm in this society, that hasn’t always been the case of religions around the world. I would argue that nature hating is part of what is driving extinction of life on earth. That seems really crazy to me. It also seems very sad.

      Usually, pagans revere the earth (although every religion has people who are exceptions to the belief system of that religion). There is no need to medicate people because they honor the earth, even though, in general, I agree with you, that such behavior lies outside the norm of this society.

  2. Yes. A horney Priest. Nuns might want to put out too. They they could stick like glue. He could horn them in the right place and it would not be a sin because it was not his central horn. Honk when you see him.

  3. What if they can be a proven problem that interferes with the sun visor. I wouldn’t think that would be a good defense in court. “You know, that darned low angle fall sun just hit me, and when I tried to pull down the visor… my horns…. didn’t mean to rear end the guy on the Harley with the buck knife and .44, so I had to run over him… and…. and…”

  4. Okay, so he has an opportunity to get a photo, plastered on his driver’s license, with him sporting two horns. Triumph. Victory. Let your freak flag fly. A real step forward for mankind. Now, the real issue–how does he even fit, in the driver’s seat, with those two things protruding from his head? That’s the real question. He should have to prove that his antlers don’t, in fact, impede his ability to safely drive a motor vehicle when he is behind the wheel. Far more important than whether this freak should be able to pose as half human in a DMV photo.

  5. Stories like this one are valuable for two reasons: one, they provide some much needed comic relief and, two, they encourage us to be more appreciative. To understand what we truly have in this world. Tis the season. Anyone previously believing that their relatives are odd or weird need only read this article and see that photo. You will never view Crazy Aunt Bertha or Strange Uncle Bob in quite the same way ever again. Remember that as you are seated across from them, at Christmas dinner. Just keep repeating to yourself–at least they don’t wear horns, at least they don’t wear horns. At least they don’t have blue hair, at least they don’t have blue hair. Okay, you may have to fudge a little on that one. You never know what hair color Crazy Aunt Bertha will be rocking this year.

  6. Maine is a unique state. I mean all states are idiosyncratic to varying degrees, but Maine is near the top of the list. This guy is like many Mainiacs. I suppose if a priest can wear a Roman collar, this idiot can wear horns. It will give folks a chuckle.

  7. And woman wonder why there is a shortage of good men.
    But I am wondering why my state (Minnesota) makes me take off my eyeglasses for my picture?

  8. Well I just checked its unsure if Pan ever had a tail. Something about they may been cut off or because Pan was only 1/4 of something or another. Sorry Mr. Pan. As far as the horns go if it’s OK with Maine it’s OK by my me as long as he drives safe. If he ever gets in an accident and drives off he will be easy to identify. Don’t think many drivers are in the Maine DMV database wearing horns?

  9. Live and let live anybody? I say kudos for standing up to a, seemingly, unconstitutional denial of religious expression. Paganism is a legit religion folks.

  10. He’s wearing a wedding ring. I wonder what the Significant Other (I won’t attempt to guess gender or species) looks like?

    1. If he doesn’t he could be charged with impersonating a lowly mortal. Gods and demi-gods do that all the time. They infiltrate society, copulate randomly, and produce more of their ilk. As I’ve stated, here, here, here, and here, the legal right to self expression must only be afforded those without cloven hooves.

      1. issac – my driver’s license says I have to wear my glasses when I am driving. Was just wondering if there is a box to check for the horns.

    2. No need for police to racially-profile this preacher. Hair Color: Blue. Distinguishing Marks: two horns protruding from forehead. Height: 5’7″, 6’0″ with horns.

  11. Some people seem to enjoy being treated badly by the majority of the culture in which they live. Wearing odd clothing etc. ensures that you will be treated with scorn, disrespect, and ridicule. It’s a form of masochism.

    1. Some people are treated badly by the majority of the culture because they have very different religious and/or political beliefs from everyone else, even when they don’t appear that different. The question is: who rejected whom first? Did the individual choose to be strange (because he or she wanted attention, or for whatever reason) and the community rejected the person’s weird behavior or appearance? Or do so many of the population act irrational (such as believing in an invisible man in the sky who created and controls everything, or by killing other people because they don’t believe in the same invisible man or form of government, or hating and bullying others who have a different color of skin or wear unusual costumes, or who build massive factories and machines that destroy the environment, or by many other insane or horrible behaviors for examples) that the more rational individual (who wants truth over lies, love over hate, peaceful cooperation over destructive competition, and a better life for everyone, not just the rich) rejects those beliefs and behaviors of the many and consequently becomes an outcast? Perhaps anyone who thinks intensely and acts consistent with those extreme thoughts will be an outsider to the unfocused mediocrity of the masses.

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