Last year, I wrote about the travails of Daniel Jones, 23 – a.k.a. Morda Hehol – founder of the Star Wars-inspired International Church of Jediism, who claimed he suffered religious discrimination at the hands of Tesco’s Bangor branch.
The store operates a strict “no hoods” policy in its stores and left Mr. Jones feeling “emotionally humiliated” after staff asked him to take off his Jedi hood.
“It states in Jedi doctrine that you have a choice of wearing headwear in your home or at work, but you must wear a cover for your head when you’re in public,” explained Daniel.
Tesco refused to apologise, however. “Obi-Wan Kenobi, Yoda and Luke Skywalker all appeared hoodless without ever going over to the Dark Side,” said a spokesman. “If Jedis walk around our stores with their hoods on, they’ll miss lots of special offers.”
Flawed logic of course. All true Star Wars fans know Jedis don’t use eyes to see, they use the force. Tut, tut Tesco.
Jedi intolerance runs deep
Sadly this week brings another case of Jedi discrimination, this time from cultural melting pot that is Southend-on-Sea,
The Register reports that Chris Jarvis, 31, was ejected from his local jobcentre for refusing to take his hood off. ‘Following his ejection, Jarvis filled out a complaint form and within three days got a written apology from branch boss Wendy Flewers. She said: “We are committed to providing a customer service which embraces diversity and respects customers’ religion.”‘
The Register goes on to note that Jedism was officially recognised as a religion following the 2001 census, when an email frenzy encouraged Star Wars fans to pledge allegiance to Jedism… I guess it just seemed funny at the time.
So what’s the legal position re: Jedism?
Well, last year, the Employment Appeals Tribunal ruled that beliefs in political parties and the supreme nature of Jedi knights were not worthy of protection under UK anti-discrimination law.
It used a five-prong test to determine whether a belief is worthy of protection:
- The belief must be genuinely held.
- It must be a belief and not an opinion or view based on the present state of information available.
- It must be a belief as to a weighty and substantial aspect of human life.
- It must attain a certain level of cogency, seriousness, cohesion and importance.
- It must be worthy of respect in a democratic society, not incompatible with human dignity and not conflict with the fundamental rights of others.
Humanism and belief in climate change were given as examples meeting the criteria.
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