Jewish Journal


December 17, 2010

Another Festivus miracle!


Pretty funny story from the OC Register about an Orange County prison inmate, Malcolm Alarmo King, who got a better diet than the other inmates by claiming he practiced the religion of “Festivism.”

King’s quest for a healthier eating option while behind bars ended with a county lawyer forced to research the origin of Festivus and its traditions and a Superior Court judge recognizing the holiday – which lodged its place in pop culture on an episode of Seinfeld – as a legitimate religion.

The menu selection at Theo Lacy apparently didn’t please King, 38, when he was booked into the jail on drug charges in April. They serve salami there. And that didn’t quite fit in with the fitness buff/ gym clothes model’s lifestyle. So King, who is also suspected of being in the country illegally from Liberia, asked for kosher meals.

That was not because of his religion, but because they were healthier – and the 5′8″ 180 lb King wanted double portions to maintain his physique, said his attorney, Fred Thiagarajah.

Inmates creating their own religion in hopes of a better diet is not unheard of. When I was writing years ago about RLUIPA, I heard of someone claiming they were of a religion that only permitted them to eat red wine and red meat. My understanding, though, was that judges and wardens could see through such insincere requests.

More shocking is that there is still a person in this world for whom Festivus is a new joke.

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