Civil Liberties

Your Sad Devotion To That Ancient Religion Hasn't Helped Us Move These Blu-Ray Players Even At 20% Off

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A North Wales religious leader is evicted from a Tesco store after refusing to remove an item of clothing sacred to his faith. To the extent that a private sector still exists in the Anglophone world, Tesco is a private company, and I would support its right to discriminate among customers even if 23-year-old Daniel Jones were not the founder of the half-million strong International Church of Jediism. From the Manchester Guardian:

"It states in our Jedi doctrination that I can wear headwear. It just covers the back of my head," [Jones] said.

"You have a choice of wearing headwear in your home or at work but you have to wear a cover for your head when you are in public."

He 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.

"They weren't listening to me and were rude. They had three people around me. It was intimidating." Jones, who has made an official complaint to Tesco, is considering a boycott of the store and is seeking legal advice.

In a Daily Telegraph and Courier version of the story, Jones states: "I walked past a Muslim lady in a veil. Surely the same rules should apply to everyone." (OT: Do any UK publications still use single quotation marks rather than double quotation marks? I'd hate to see the Brits give up that fight, which was, along with driving on the left, one of the few disputes in which they were right. Also oppression of the Irish, they were right about that too.)

So if Tesco allows Muslims to retain their fanciful garb in stores, should it also allow Jedi? I still say the store should be allowed to draw its own distinctions about which persons or religions it respects. However, this being the UK, and Wales being a place so downtrodden that Charles Windsor is its putative prince, I presume a hypothetical woman kicked out of Tesco for wearing a hijab would in fact have ample legal recourse through the vast nomenclature of Commonwealth human rights bureaucracies.

The store's response is witty:

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.

Except for a period of a few weeks in 1977, I've never been a Star Wars fan, but I hope Tesco management can make equally learned and dismissive references to the Bible or the Quran as a defense against other religion-based dress code violations. Because the only difference I can see is that, as Guardian commenter Halo 572 notes, "At least Jedi's [sic] know who actually wrote all the sh*te that they believe in!"

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  1. Ok, this is too funny. The individual knows damn well that his religion is fake, yet insists on being allowed to follow a precept that isn’t even supported by the source material.

    Of course, I think that if they allow Muslims to walk into their store with their head covered, they should allow anyone else to do so. Religious affiliation pretend or not, should not have anything to do with it.

  2. In what way is driving on the left anything other than evidence of mass insanity brought on by isolated island-population inbreeding?

  3. From the Manchester Guardian:

    […]

    In a Daily Telegraph and Courier version of the story[…]

    Er, what’s with the retro newspaper names?

    Do any UK publications still use single quotation marks rather than double quotation marks?

    IIRC, the Monsters & Critics site (when it’s not down) still uses single quotes for, at least, its reprinted DPA content.

    Also, Relevant magazine’s “Slices” beat you by a full day. 😉

  4. If you can’t wave your hand and say “You don’t need to make me remove my hood” (and have it work), then you are at best a youngling and don’t deserve the hood.

  5. Also oppression of the Irish, they were right about that too.

    That’s the most sensible thing you’ve said all day.

  6. Fuck you Cavanaugh.

  7. Except for a period of a few weeks in 1977, I’ve never been a Star Wars fan,

    …yet you can wittily paraphrase quotes from an obscure Imperial commander occuring during the much-beloved “Death Star employee meeting” scene. Strong in this one, the Force of self-delusion is.

  8. “They said: ‘Take it off’, and I said: ‘No, its part of my religion. It’s part of my religious right.’

    Now if his response had been, “But I was going to Tesco to pick up some power converters!” I would have been on his side.

  9. I’d hate to see the Brits give up that fight, which was, along with driving on the left, one of the few disputes in which they were right. Also oppression of the Irish, they were right about that too.

    Also, the meaning of the word “Fag”.

  10. good, this means that us siths will have less resistance than we thought, the hour of the second coming is at hand… to the death star(aka the pinto)

  11. They had three people around me. It was intimidating.

    I think the Jedi counsel is going to kick him out for being a pussy.

  12. I for one thought the British Jedi showed remarkable restraint in not rioting after cartoon Star Wars episodes started appearing on Cartoon Network. Their renderings of Yoda were very offensive.

  13. Of course, I think that if they allow Muslims to walk into their store with their head covered, they should allow anyone else to do so.

    I think that, as a private store, they should be able to set any (or no) dress code they desire — and the private citizens living nearby should be free to boycott the store if they think the management is being a bunch of asshats.

  14. I for one thought the British Jedi showed remarkable restraint in not rioting after cartoon Star Wars episodes started appearing on Cartoon Network. Their renderings of Yoda were very offensive.

    Do you mean the Genndy Tartakovsky version or the 2008 3D CGI version?

  15. I had this thought also, “I think the Jedi counsel is going to kick him out for being a pussy.“.

    If he were really a jedi, you’d think he’d know how to handle a little intimidation.

  16. Yummy yummy yummy!
    This post is sweet and juicy all the way through.

  17. I was a Star Wars fan until the Ewoks. But the Clone Wars animated series has pretty much brought me back.

    Here’s a question: All religions start out as nonsense to everyone else who does not believe in them until they grow and age into respectability. Who’s to say that in 600 years Jedi won’t be a large global faith with anyone claiming it was invented through a series of motion pictures being called a crackpot.

  18. “Except for a period of a few weeks in 1977, I’ve never been a Star Wars fan,”

    /GASP!/

    BURN THE HERETIC!!

  19. I think that, as a private store, they should be able to set any (or no) dress code they desire — and the private citizens living nearby should be free to boycott the store if they think the management is being a bunch of asshats.

    I agree completely. I just don’t think it makes sense to allow for different standards for different people. If a Muslim woman can enter with her whole body covered, why can’t I come in wearing a ski-mask, and a nice loose fitting trench coat?

    Of course most woul answer that entering a store dressed like that would make people think I was a criminal, and they’d likely be right. However, a person in a full hijab, could be male or female, and could be carrying a bomb, or carrying out some nicely pinched merchandise.

  20. If they would have struck him down, his lawsuit would have been more powerful than they could possibly imagine.

  21. A real Jedi would have settled this dispute with his light saber. Wuss.

    But seriously, I just can’t take with a straight face any religion that has Jar-Jar Binks as part of the gospel.

  22. Here’s a question: All religions start out as nonsense to everyone else who does not believe in them until they grow and age into respectability. Who’s to say that in 600 years Jedi won’t be a large global faith with anyone claiming it was invented through a series of motion pictures being called a crackpot.

    Yea, if you take Jedi movie scripture literally you get a bunch of BS claims of fact, but if not…. 🙂

  23. But seriously, I just can’t take with a straight face any religion that has Jar-Jar Binks as part of the gospel.

    Hmmmmmm…. Jar Jar Binks or Rick Warren…….. I dunno…..

  24. I was a Star Wars fan until the Ewoks. But the Clone Wars animated series has pretty much brought me back.

    My son may spontaneously combust before the 2nd season begins in October. They showed the commercial in the movie theater and I thought he was going to do it right there. Thank the force for his Icee?.

    Fortunately, I saved the recordings of season 1 to get him through the rough spots.

  25. The real tragedy is that some made-up religion based on the fantasies of pre-teen boys is 500,000 strong while the Libertarian Party musters about 15,000 members.

  26. But seriously, I just can’t take with a straight face any religion that has Jar-Jar Binks as part of the gospel.

    That’s racism, straight up.

  27. Fuck you

  28. “You have a choice of wearing headwear in your home or at work but you have to wear a cover for your head when you are in public.”

    That’s not canon. As for Tesco, it should be free to be an asshole to anybody and everybody according to their taste.

  29. Don’t mess with Tesco, look at what happened to Denmark:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lfSi0D7KESk

  30. Obi-Wan Kenobi, Yoda and Luke Skywalker all appeared hoodless without ever going over to the Dark Side …

    Lapsed Jedi, we were.

  31. The prequels will be considered The Satanic Verses 600 years from now.

    And Kenobi, Yoda, and Skywalker only went unhooded to avoid religious persecution.

  32. Subpar, even for Cavanaugh. I got a little seasick trying to navigate it. I know, it’s supposed to be, what. Funny? What do all the blog-kid-critics say these days? Right: Fail.

  33. “Ok, this is too funny. The individual knows damn well that his religion is fake, yet insists on being allowed to follow a precept that isn’t even supported by the source material.”—-I’m assuming you are talking about Christians? lol

  34. Too add…because as far as I am concerned…all gods are fake…as well as the crap religions that hold them up with straw.

    And Jedi is a philosophy, like Buddhism. >:)

  35. WTF

  36. To the extent that a private sector still exists in the Anglophone world…

    Tim, “anglophone” means “english speaker”. Did you really mean that?

  37. “They had three people around me. It was intimidating.”
    ____________________

    “Help me, Amnesty International; you’re my only hope.”

  38. Of course this is just the Guardian version of the story. The Sentinel or Consular version may differ in actual gameplay experience.

  39. “It states in our Jedi doctrination that I can wear headwear. It just covers the back of my head,” [Jones] said.

    “Can,” not “Must”, and as the store pointed out, there is no obligation in Jediism to wear a hood. Thus, it’s optional and the store is within its rights to ask him to remove it.

  40. What Tricky said.

  41. Jediism is just the new Sci….

  42. Tim, “anglophone” means “english speaker”. Did you really mean that?

    Yes, and Anglophone world means English-speaking world. Your point?

  43. Tonio, adj. of or pertaining to speakers of English goes back at least as far as the Random House second edition. I figured all the Gareths and Llewelyns would be mad that I counted Wales as part of the anglophone world.

  44. The problem is, and I’m conflicted about this…that this argument has been lost for decades. Free association in work and public places has exactly 0 traction and will be branded racist etc etc. After this established fact is accepted, do we then still let private places discriminate against groups who dont have political power or are not threatening lawsuits like the big organized religions are?
    As i said, i dont know…this is sort of like regulating to fix problems caused by regulation…but…can it be a net-liberty enhancer?

  45. A lot of businesses in England (and Wales too, I can only assume as I have never been there) seem to have an odd obsession with making people remove hats when they enter.

  46. A lot of businesses in England (and Wales too, I can only assume as I have never been there) seem to have an odd obsession with making people remove hats when they enter.

    Big BrotherObama wanted them too. CCTV cameras can’t pick up faces through the hats…yet.

  47. They said: Take it off.

    I said: No, it’s part of my religion. It’s part of my religious right.

    They said: It’s part of your religious right.

    I said: I don’t need to remove my hood. I can continue shopping, and get my purchases at cost.

    They said: You don’t need to remove your hood. Please continue shopping. The markup will be taken off at the register.

  48. …yet you can wittily paraphrase quotes from an obscure Imperial commander

    It was when I realized that guy wasn’t going to be the star of the series that I stopped being a fan!

  49. “It states in our Jedi doctrination that I can wear headwear. It just covers the back of my head,” [Jones] said.

    Is that in the canon or just in the apocrypha (a/k/a fanfic)?

  50. “They said: ‘Take it off’, and I said: ‘No, its part of my religion. It’s part of my religious right.'”

    Damn Pat Robertson and the Religious Right.

  51. Great analysis Cavanaugh.

  52. I find your lack of faith disturbing.

  53. At least Daniel Jones is celibate (if he does follow the Jedi way, or if he has a choice).

  54. Well done with the Irish comment. I also find 700 years of brutal oppression hilarious. And that potato famine? What a laugh! We all know they deserved to die! Keep up the good work Tim Cavanaugh!

  55. Damn, this article is awesome, and every other comment is a threadwinner. bigbigslacker at 3:34 was probably my favorite. Good job, all.

  56. A bit of contextual information: the hoodie is the preferred garb not only of Jedis, but of young criminal toughs in the UK. The hijab/burqa is associated only with Muslim oppression of women, which isn’t a problem from Tesco, whereas young criminal toughs are. That’s an important difference in their respective treatment by managers. Stupid Jedi.

  57. First, this thread is just full of awesome comments, way too many good ones to declare a winner, although J Mann @3:08pm and Tulpa @ 3:23pm would be strong contenders. (The snark is strong with these ones.)

    Second, while I’m in favor of a store owner’s right to keep out any weirdo he wants, I’m still struggling to figure WTF sort of security risk a hood might pose. Then again, the Brits want to ban anything pointy and sharp on safety grounds, so I guess that their culture is full of this idiocy in the public and private sectors alike.

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