Jedi Oppression

Star Wars Logo

Back in 2001, a series of e‑mail campaigns began, telling people to declare their religion as “Jedi” on census forms. It may have been a joke, a political statement, an actual attempt to create and legitimize a new religion — or some combination of the three — but the end result were hundreds of thousands of people, in several countries, declaring themselves to be a member of the Jedi religion.

Since then, several Jedi religious organizations have arisen, codifying and developing the Jedi theology, seeking converts, etc. One of these is the UK-based Church of Jediism. Recently, one of the Church’s founders, Daniel Jones (Time Magazine interview), claimed that he was the subject of religious discrimination when he was told to leave a grocery store after he refused to remove his hood.

[Jones] said he’d gone to the store to buy something to eat during his lunch-break when staff approached him and ordered him to the checkout where they explained he would have to remove the offending hood or leave the store.

They said: “Take it off”, and I said “No, its part of my religion. It’s part of my religious right.” I gave them a Jedi church business card.‘

Mr Jones claimed the store manager and staff were unco-operative’ and left him feeling emotionally humiliated’ for making fun of his beliefs.

They weren’t listening to me. They wasted my personal time. They were rude and not very nice to me. They had three people around me. It was intimidating.

Now, anytime you throw out a term like “religious discrimination”, things are bound to get complicated and heated real fast. (After all, one may reasonably ask about the store’s policies concerning Muslim women wearing burqas.) But, putting aside the issue of religious discrimination and the validity of Jones’ claims for the moment, I have to say that the store’s response to his claims was geekily great.

In a situation like this, it’s tempting to respond with a Death Star-sized load of snark, but the store’s response actually shows a surprising amount of understanding of Jones’ beliefs (albeit with a little wit and cheekiness thrown in for a good measure):

A Tesco spokesperson 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.

If Jedi walk around our stores with their hoods on, they’ll miss lots of special offers.’


Read more about Jediism.
If you enjoy reading Opus and want to support my writing, become a subscriber for $5/month or $50/year.
Subscribe Today