The Jedi Strike Back Against Intolerance

Look, I’m a big Star Wars guy, have been from a very early age.  Watching a group of AT-ATs inexorably march across the frigid plains of Hoth towards the doomed Rebel base left an indelible impression on my young mind.

Over the years, I have contributed to the retirement fund (not to mention the college fund of 2 portly comic store employees) of one George Walton Lucas Jr. in the form of purchases varying from DVDs, cards, PEZ dispensers, figures, posters, puzzles et al.

Yes, like many a Star Wars fan I’ve fantasized about owning a real lightsaber only to be doused repeatedly with the bucket of cold water known as the laws of physics.

I dare say that in some instances, a Jedi mind trick or two would have been nice to have up my sleeve.

Yet, when I first encountered the fact that some kooks in the UK had actually started a religion based on the spiritual ideas of the Jedi, even I thought that was a bit overboard.

What is so weird about a group of people living by the tenets of whatever came out of the head of a USC grad the Jedi Code?  In all honesty, is that much different than upwards of a billion people living by the things that came out of the head of guy from Mecca? Or a few million people living by the machinations of a dude from Vermont?

Worldwide, there are about 500,000 followers of this so-called Jedi Church.

It was only a matter of time before one of the members of this so-called church to pull the “intolerance” card.  It wasn’t just any member of the rank-and-file but the founder, Daniel Jones.  Yes, the  Grand Poo bah himself.

Apparently, Mr. Jones (cue up the Crows) went to a store in the UK in full Jedi regalia (see Obi Wan Kenobi):

Obi Wan Kenobi
Only a Sith deals in absolutes” Guess they didn’t teach logic at the Jedi Temple

Jones was told to remove the hood or leave the store. According to this story,

As a result Jones, who also goes by the Jedi name Morda Hehol, claims he has been ‘victimised over his beliefs’ and left ’emotionally humiliated’ by the supermarket in Bangor, North Wales.

A Tesco spokesperson said,

‘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.’

How good is that? Is the spokesperson insinuating that Jones, like the late Emperor, is a Sith? Now that’s a reason to go, and to sue, which Jones is planning on doing.

Incredible. Why couldn’t Jedi Jones, er Jedi Hehol simply mind trick the cruel and intolerant Tesco employees into letting him keep his hood on?

On a side note, I wonder how long it will be until this so-called church gains a strong foothold here in the States.

What is of more interest is whether or not voices such as these,

Therefore, students should be educated about different religions as early as possible. Wouldn’t it be great if elementary school children were celebrating Eid, Diwali, Chinese New Year, and Hanukah (sic) in addition to Christmas each year in the classroom? They would learn about the traditions and cultures found within each religion and realize that each faith, at the very least, deserves to be respected and tolerated. This knowledge stays with each child so that by the time they reach adulthood, we no longer have misconceptions about basic religious beliefs and practices.

will ask for students to be educated about the Jedi Church? All you have to do is watch Episodes I-VI, right?

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70 Responses to The Jedi Strike Back Against Intolerance

  1. Mike says:

    you do deserve to get teased a little if you dress up in public as a movie character

  2. there was a convention close to me a few months age, some people are way to into it

  3. Nikki Hahn says:

    I am astounded. Speechless. In shock. This people are definitley wierd. For heavens sake, it’s a MOVIE, not real life. Great blog by the way!

  4. Jose says:

    I think that’s hilarious. It’s ok to be a fan but sometimes people take things to the extreme.

    • Laz says:

      I agree Jose, and I have been known to take things to the extreme at well. Not necessarily dressing like one of the characters in public mind you but killing it at Star Wars Trivial Pursuit is not far behind.

  5. madmonq says:

    A real Jedi his feelings aren’t so easily hurt, says Yoda. A nerd though, that’s another matter.

    • Laz says:

      Thanks for commenting monq. Every time I hear/read the word “nerd”, inevitably Ogre’s classic line plays in my mind, “Nerrrrrdddds!!!!! Nerds! Nerds! Nerds!”.

      • monoolho says:

        Laz :
        Thanks for commenting monq. Every time I hear/read the word “nerd”, inevitably Ogre’s classic line plays in my mind, “Nerrrrrdddds!!!!! Nerds! Nerds! Nerds!”.

        I second that. NEEERRRRRDS! Then it comes to my mind the glasses, and computers and…

  6. monoolho says:

    This Jedi Church reminds me, somehow, of the furry fandom. Something about clothing… Riculous acts… Well. At least he didn’t pull out a plastic lightsaber to beat up the employees.

  7. madmonq says:

    Just to clarify, I am not anti-nerd. I’ve loved sci-di, comics, graphic novels etc since I was a kid. But this particular nerd needed to be brought back to reality.

    If at any time in the future someone insists I be sensitive to Jedi-Americans or for that matter, Nerd Americans, I swear I will join the Sith out of spite.

    Besides. They have the cool red light sabers. Live long and prosper.

    • Laz says:

      I’ll take the double-bladed one

    • karitickle says:

      I love being a nerd, love love love it, but pretty much draw the “dressing up” line at Halloween/movie premieres, and would also draw the line at conventions, if there were any decent ones here.

      The people at Tesco could fairly say they thought he was going to pull a prank or begin some crazy flashmob activity. Sometimes people do need a little dose of reality. It’s fun to indulge in fantasy worlds and stuff, but yes, you kind of are asking for it when acting with impunity and demanding tolerance.

      I wish one character had a pink light saber, so I could pick it up in toy stores. The closest I found was Mace Windu’s purple one!

  8. monoolho says:

    Double-bladed lightasber for the greater win. Then we can halp security at stores against hooded jedis. That sounds amazing. But Tesco wouldn’t take a sith ): too bad.

  9. ZZMike says:

    Just wait till the Lone Ranger starts shopping.

  10. Ri says:

    Last year in class, I did a speech about why we should be more like the Jedi. However, I didn’t mean it as a religon, just as a way of promoting peace. This is kind of extreme, but people are gonna do what they want to do. And who are we to tell them no?

    • Laz says:

      I don’t think anyone is telling these people what to do, however the store does have certain policies. Not to mention the store’s very valid point that Jedi did take their hoods off. For a good precedent of this see Obi Wan Kenobi when he entered the Mos Eisley Cantina.

  11. brickgoat says:

    it’s like a klu klux clan member walked into a costco and then complained when they made him take of his hood. But replace the being racist with being dumb.

  12. Nate says:

    I’d like to say that I’m surprised, but I’m really not. Its amazing what people do with their time out there. I do think this is a classic case where we need to call triumph the insult dog to investigate this church. I can imagine him walking into the sanctuary now. “This church is very very cool……FOR ME TO POOP ON!!!!” Way to go on finding this, I would have never heard of it if it wasn’t for your post.

  13. despite the weirdness, LONG LIVE STARWARS and God Bless all of the fans. and if there is a religion, at least it’s cooler than all of the other ones

  14. Hey,my names Greg and im really into star wars….. or star wars lego. but making a religion of the jedi is the most kiddish idea i’ve herd (and thats coming from a eleven year old). Anyway… scince your a star wars fan too, i was wondering if you could help me? Me and my friend (were Christians so theres no chance of us following the jedi religion)were making lego star wars movies frame by frame, and i was wonding if you had any ideas for an episode. It would help a lot…. although the sites not set up yet, you can post me back for the idea at this site: http://thehammersaga.wordpress.com/

    🙂 thanks…. and good blog 🙂

  15. monoolho says:

    Brian Wells / TUXEDOCOOL :
    despite the weirdness, LONG LIVE STARWARS and God Bless all of the fans. and if there is a religion, at least it’s cooler than all of the other ones

    Uh… I don’t think I’d follow that… Seriously, Jedi religion? Like… Yoda being “god”? Can’t help but laugh out hard on this. It’s not cooler, it’s ludicrous. Something based on a movie? If it was original, at least, but it’s something George Lucas made up. Haha! HAHA! HA! Oh, wow…

  16. monoolho says:

    Now that I come to think of it… What could be a wedding music? Like the Imperial March when the bride and her father walk into the … Hall?

    Maybe the “priest”-like guy would stand and say “Behold thee the said words: Shall not you kill. Steal not you must. Adulterous not you acts shall commit …” and have many padawans to distribute “force pills” perhaps? Oh my, thinking about this makes me laugh so hard, I think I’m going to sleep well tonight.

    Star Wars rocks. Jedi Religion doesn’t. This Daniel Jones must be hell of a weird guy… If not retarded or something.

  17. I have to admit, I might be a little creeped out if I saw a guy walking around in a dark hood. I mean, had that guy happen to have done something bad everyone hearing about it on the news would have been like, “Why the hell didn’t someone say something to that guy? I mean, he was wearing a dark hood. Doesn’t that send off a warning of some sort?”

    http://www.theprettyproject.com

  18. Vũ Minh Thắng says:

    i dont think so :d

  19. Nina Meyer says:

    I´m into star wars too, but as a woman it is not so easy to dress like a caracter and go to public places. I thing they may not understand that the lea-slave-costum is just a costum and not a “job”. About jedi-religion, well there is a dark side in oll of us. The question is, do you belive in the force ore not? I lived in switzerland and there the men have to go to shooting exercises every year. So it coud happen that you were sitting in the train and a man with a gun stepped into it an take place next to you. That is absolutely stranger than a hooded guy buying milk.

  20. Marianne says:

    dressing up seems like fun…..but why do they call themselves a church? That is a christian concept…..

    christians have churches
    jews have synogogues
    muslims have mosques.

    they need their own building and terminology.

    • Laz says:

      Well, this is where our Jedi went wrong. In the movies it’s the Jedi Order but my guess is that George Lucas might have forbidden them from using that term.

  21. Katie says:

    Ok, I loved this article. I am also a big fan of the star wars, though not alot of memorbelia around here. Ok, not that a Jedi church is completly insane ( though wearing the costumes and claiming your a real life jedi may end you up in a 72HR phscy hold here in the USA) but I think that it is a little over the top.. Bet that’s be an interesting sermon.
    I agree that kids should be educated about ALL religions and let to decide their own religous path. But sadly i doubt that will happen. Too many parents would object to it.
    Nicely written article.

    • Laz says:

      In this country (USA), as far as I know and outside of a few isolationist communities, children are allowed to “choose” their own religious path.

  22. toby says:

    I used to live in Bangor and shop at that Tescos, and I never saw any Jedi. *sniff*

  23. Michael says:

    Several years ago, “Jedi” was officially recognised as a religion here in Australia simply because of the significant number of people who wrote that in the Religion box on the Census form. Whether they were taking the piss or not, I don’t know, but it is now actually legit.

    If Scientology can claim to be a real religion, how can anyone make fun of Jedi?

  24. anonymous says:

    Mike :
    you do deserve to get teased a little if you dress up in public as a movie character

    What about fans who wear sports jerseys of teams that they’re not a member of, often with somebody else’s name and number printed on the shirt?

  25. slipperydoo says:

    cool i guess. i luv star wars. sadly never met one lol. this is sorta hilarious! y would u dress up like that? although tht would be sorta cool to actually meet one…

  26. dcaba says:

    Sometimes I like to dress-up as Hannibal Lecter, and buy a fine bottle of
    Chianti. Just Kidding

  27. Victor says:

    Jedi wisdom would tell this people to go along…not to cause trouble.
    Like when Luke handed his lightsaber to the Ewoks,
    or when Qui Gon talked to Boss Nass on heis terms.

    Peace is the way of the Jedi…it’s in their code

  28. Pingback: الزيدي : ما فيش و لا مسلم يشجع منتظر . ليه …حمار? « المسلم حظه من الباك الإسلامي و أنا فسدت ال "ب"‏

  29. If he walked in wearing a turban or yarmulke there wouldn’t have been a problem. Just think–in a few thousand years a ‘movie’ may take on the holy implications of a religious text and a Jedi might be as mundane as a priest or rabbi. I think movies will be peculiar objects to future races because I doubt they will gather in dark rooms to stare at flickering images that glorify their day-to-day lives. The same way we’re not writing religious texts today, that’s why this Jedi Church think mystifies people, it seems out of place.

    That said, I would have gotten a kick out of seeing something like this at my local Starbucks. Just some guy in full Jedi attire click-clacking away on his Macbook (don’t know the the computing preference of the Jedi Order) while he sipped from a caramel macchiato.

  30. I’m not big on following anything so closely as to adapt a new appearance or make big life changes. However; we all are given one life to live and a finite number of days or years however you prefer to look at it. Given this, as long as no one is being harmed, why does it matter what anyone does if it makes them happy? Maybe that is what people really resent is seeing others that just may be happier than they themselves are. I too find myself wanting to judge others by their appearance, but finding myself saying “What does it really matter to my life?” Peace, prosperity and long life to you.

    • Laz says:

      Well all valid points but the store did have a policy and the “Jedi” are thinking of suing, so maybe the “Jedi” should follow your advice, no?

      • Not commenting on the stores policy, rather the other comments above and now below too. And then, what is religion but not a philosophical following. Buddhism can be said to not be a religion since there are no deities.

      • Laz says:

        Do you need deities for a worldview/philosophy/tradition to be labeled a religion?

  31. By the way, good blog. It got a lot of diverse opinions commenting.

  32. Ted says:

    But like you say, what ‘s the real difference between being forced to remove your Jedi hood and being forced to remove your Muslim veil? I don’t think they’d have the sack to force a Muslim to do that at Tesco, the same way that the ACLU probably wouldn’t sue on behalf of a Jedi having to remove his hood for the DMV photo. There’s not much of a difference from a skeptics standpoint. Either you’re religiously tolerant or you’re not.

    Did that make sense?

  33. thewordofme says:

    Regarding the last paragraph that quotes ‘someone’ and starts thus: “Therefore, students should be educated about different religions as early as possible.” and includes this: “…They would learn about the traditions and cultures found within each religion and realize that each faith, at the very least, deserves to be respected and tolerated…”

    That is the incorrect response. Religion is a human construct and presuppose that magic is operational in our world. It is built on superstition and myths and needs to be exposed for what it is…pure lies. There is no proof whatsoever that any religion is true, and they need to be treated accordingly.

    • Laz says:

      Fine word, so are you going to ignore the role “religion” has played throughout human history? What would you have done? Jail people who adhere and teach a particular religious tradition?

  34. truthspew says:

    The force is strong in this one. It’s as good a religion as any of the others out there.

  35. Worth Wondering... says:

    Truth be told, the “Jedi = religious belief” isn’t as quite as far fetched as it might first appear, I’ve heard it described as “Buddhism with muppets” (by more than just one person) so there might be slightly more to it than just a USC grad’s crazy rantings. Not necessarily, but it’s worth wondering about.

  36. Alfred says:

    Heathens! Lest ye be smote for thy infirmities, TOUCH your computer monitors and BE HEALED. The time is at hand. Bow down to the one true god: ADAM WEST!!!

  37. Aiden R says:

    Nothing wrong with dressing up like a Jedi, something wrong with getting kicked out of a store for it. Nerd power, folks.

    http://ctcmr.com

  38. Bisclavret says:

    What I find hilarious is that the store employee(s) knew more about the movies than someone who has made them his religion.

  39. Whoa!! says:

    I think that the courts should rule in favor of the Jedi. It is clearly his religion to abstain from removing his hood while traveling or purchasing items. Why is he receiving so much flak about all this? None of you people understand. You all judge someone based on what you think without looking from his point of view.

    Nah….just kidding. This guy belongs in a tree, cause he’s a nut!

  40. Whoa!! says:

    Maybe the sith are right when they claim that Jedi are just trying to gain all power….Maybe they’re right…..

    UNLIMITED POWERRRRRRRRRRR!!!!!

  41. Kristin says:

    Maybe the super market was run by “Chad Vader” ?

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