Speaking of Star Wars , Joe, Tesco’s, a retail chain in Britain roughly comparable to a mini Wal-Mart here in the States, wants people who enter their premises to reveal their identity, presumably so a store manager can ID anyone running out the door with that box of Weetabix under his arm. Well, this presents a problem if you’re a member of one particularly troublesome religion, which forbids some of its adherents from walking outside without a head covering.
I’m talking, of course, about Jedis .
The religion, inspired by the sci-fi films, is practised by 500,000 around the world and requires believers to cover their heads in public places. But Mr Jones, from Holyhead, said that staff ejected him from the store over security fears when he refused to remove his hood. Mr Jones, also known by his Jedi name Morda Hehol, 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.” The handbook of the UK Jedi Church, founded by the Star Wars fan last year, states: “Jedis must wear a hood up in any public place of a large audience.”
Which makes sense, seeing as you probably don’t want anyone to know who you are when you have, in fact, made a sci-fi movie starring Carrie Fisher the center of your life.
So I guess this goes to the question of what constitutes a real religion. Scientology is a tax-exempt creed, at least in the U.S., and it’s the product of a science-fiction writer. (In fact, Harlan Ellison, best known for writing the “City on the Edge of Forever” episode of Star Trek , says he was there the night L. Ron Hubbard got the idea as a money-making scheme.) So why not Jediism? According to the government, all you have to do is fill out one of those nifty IRS 557s, available here . (Although, deciding whether you’re a religion or a black-lung beneficiary trust can be tricky, especially if you insist on all that incense.)
Must you have a membership over a certain size? Have inspired some kind of architecture, art, or music? Do you have to be in possession of a holy landor be determined to win it back from the infidel? Must there be a sacred text?
Certainly there are plenty of great movies and TV shows that would qualify if these are the criteria. How many people flock to their local googleplex on any given Sunday? Who doesn’t consider the screenplay for The Godfather a sacred text? (“Leave the gun, take the cannoli” is certainly Proverbs-worthy.) I’ve made a pilgrimage to the Warner Bros. studio back lot. And I know there are people who worship Angelina Jolie (but I don’t think Cyborg 2 holds much promise as an organized religion).
Probably best to stick with the old tired-and-true. At least you don’t have to wait for Hulu to get syndication rights . . .