Daniel told The Sun:
‘I told them it was a requirement of my religion but they just sniggered and ordered me to leave. I walked past a Muslim lady in a veil. Surely the same rules should apply to everyone. It was discrimination. I was really upset. Nobody should be treated like that. I’ll advise worshippers to boycott Tesco if it happens again.’
Although the story raises a smile, I detect a semi-serious issue boiling under here and this has come to the fore in various discussions relating to this incident. Religious equality laws have been tightened to almost choking point these days and religious equality, by its very definition, dictates that all religions must be treated fairly and with equal respect. No matter how daft it may look and how much it makes you snigger, the chosen dress of one religious group cannot be ridiculed while another religion’s dress requirement is respected. The Church of Jediism does sound rather amusing at first, but it has 500,000 followers worldwide (!) and, as a theologian, I’ve certainly encountered a number of religions in my time that are by far much more bizarre. So who is to say which religions are legitimate and which ones are unfounded? I suspect that the whole argument boils down to the fact that most folk aren’t afraid of Jedis. On the lighter side, in response to Daniel’s complaint, a Tesco spokeswoman said:
‘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.’
Good to see that supermarket staff have both a keen sense of humour and an in-depth knowledge of Star Wars geek-dom!