Monday, September 21, 2009
May the Farce Be With You
Daniel Jones, founder of the religion inspired by the Star Wars films, says he was humiliated and victimised for his beliefs following [an] incident at a Tesco store in Bangor [Wales].
The 23-year-old, who founded the International Church of Jediism, which has 500,000 followers worldwide, was told the hood flouted store rules.
But the grocery empire struck back, claiming that the three best known Jedi Knights in the Star Wars movies – Yoda, Obi-Wan Kenobi and Luke Skywalker – all appeared in public without their hoods. Jones, from Holyhead, who is known by the Jedi name Morda Hehol, said his religion dictated that he should wear the hood in public places and is considering legal action against the chain. ...
Tesco said: "He hasn't been banned. Jedis are very welcome to shop in our stores although we would ask them to remove their hoods.
"Obi-Wan Kenobi, Yoda and Luke Skywalker all appeared hoodless without ever going over to the Dark Side and we are only aware of the Emperor as one who never removed his hood.
 Ignoring the question of whether this is a correct construal of their foundational text -- it's their text, and we infidels aren't competent to second-guess that.
 Based on half-remembered news reports, so it's possible I'm spouting off about something that nobody has asked for. But the principle of the question still stands.
Um, Sikhs also wear knives as religious symbols and you know how touchy them Mulims are (remember how all the Xians wanted PZ to piss them off so he'd get killed?). Jedis are too peaceful.
Legally, in the US, the only distinction is seriousness of belief (nobody is going to take FSMites at their word as to what their religious tenets are or Ken Ham when he says he doesn't have any income because it all belongs to God) and whether the beliefs run afoul of generally enforceble laws (native Americans can't use peyote freely and Santaria followers can't sacrifice animals in cruel ways). But the line between Jedis' hoods and Jews wearing yamulkas is a fuzzy one. The burka can be made to be removed for identification purposes in certain circumstances but "reasonable accommodation" is required, such as having female police agents do it outside the presence of men.
I put it down to bias; in the UK a teenager wearing his hood can be asked to remove it by a business owner when on their premises, a biker can be asked to remove their helmet.
However, if the person claims to be a muslim and female it is considered religious discrimination to require that they remove their headscarf or veil.
Sikhs aren't required to wear helmets when riding motorbikes, all other people are, they're even allowed to wear their knives when Scots are banned from wearing their skean dhu when in national dress even in Scotland.
Also, it seems to me, you are allowed to insult atheists and Christians to your hearts contenet in the UK but other approved religions are off limits.
Although there isn't much of a case for asking people to remove skullcaps, whether they are yarmulkes or not. Hoods obscure the face and make it harder to identify someone from camera footage, while skullcaps don't.
If you're the only person in the store wearing a Jedi hood and cape? ...
I didn't say there was no way to draw a line, just that it is a fuzzy one.