A man in Maine has won the right to wear a pair of goat horns in his driver’s license photo. It may sound like this was a silly situation, but was in fact, an issue concerning religious freedom. The man in question, Phelan Moonsong is a devout Pagan priest and stated his “horns of power” are like a “spiritual antenna.”
Moonsong said he first discovered his horns in 2009 during a Pagan men’s group gathering. He said a friend’s goat had died and offered them to Moonsong, who then fashioned them into the headset he now wears. He said he feels attached to the horns and if he is not bathing or sleeping, he always has them on:
“As a practicing Pagan minister and a priest of Pan, I’ve come to feel very attached to the horns, and they’ve become a part of me and part of my spirituality. The horns are part of my religious attire.”
Unique religions have had uphill battles concerning religious freedom and Moonsong had to battle to get his horns in his picture. When he visited his DMV in Bangor, Maine, a clerk took his picture, horns and all, but notified him he would still need to submit documents to the state that they were, in fact, part of his religious attire. He then penned a passionate personal essay to the state, stating the horns significance and sent some literature explaining the horns use as religious attire. But he got some turnaround as the state said the horns had to go.
Undeterred Moonsong visited the state’s motor vehicle office stating he was seeking assistance from Maine’s Civil Liberties Union. Although he had to wade through some bureaucracy, his horns were approved soon afterwards and he finally received his license.