Posted on Saturday, September 19th, 2009 by David Chen
As if it wasn’t already hard enough out there for Jedis (what with having to contend with the universe’s most evil forces imaginable), now they’ve got to worry about getting harassed by supermarket employees. According to the Guardian (via Reddit) 23-year old Daniel Jones, who founded the Church of Jediism in England, was trying to buy something for lunch from a Tesco Supermarket in Wales when he was told to either remove his hood or leave the premises. Hit the jump for some more details and for Tesco’s amazing response.
Let’s back up for a minute here. A lot of you are probably thinking, “There’s a Church of Jediism?” Indeed there is! According to their website, the church was founded in 2007 by several Star Wars enthusiasts. You’ll also find links on the site to engage in Jedi training courses, but most of these links are broken or incomplete. According to Time in an interview piece last year, the UK government recognizes Jedi Knights as an official religion, after 400,000 people listed it on their 2001 census forms. Jones remarked at the time, “If the government says to us ‘You can’t do that because you’re not a true religion,” we can say ‘Yes we are’ because there’s more Jedi than Scientologists in Britain.” I’m not sure if Scientology is the religion you want to evoke in order to prove your own legitimacy, but then I don’t run my own church, so what do I know?
That all brings us to this current hooded fiasco. Jones recalled, “It states in our Jedi doctrination that I can wear headwear…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.” But when Tesco employees spotted a hooded Jones weaving through the aisles, they were understandably concerned. Did the ends, however, justify the means? Jones describes the way in which his civil liberties were ruthlessly violated:
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.
Tesco responded, in perhaps the most awesome way imaginable:
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.
Oh SNAP, they went there. Well-played Tesco. Well-played. Jones has made an official complaint against the store and is considering a boycott.