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Cheers - AE

Sunday, 21 March 2010

The Force is strong with this one.

I laughed about this before (well, it was fucking funny) but I missed a serious side to the story from not a long time ago in a Job Centre far, far away* that kicked out some Star Wars fan who's swapped his anorak for a Jedi robe when I blogged on it a couple of days ago. But this evening I saw this in the Grauniad:
The equality bill says any 'heartfelt' belief is a religion – yet Star Wars disciples are still being asked to de-hood.

Chris Jarvis, aged 31: the force may be with you. Jarvis is the Southend Jedi knight who refused to dehood in his jobcentre and has now received an apology from the manager for the lack of respect given to his "religion or beliefs". Being a Jedi knight, though, and committed to struggling unceasingly for justice and civilisation, Chris spurns such mouthings as empty, choosing rather to endure to the final triumph, and is planning to sue for discrimination.
I'm so sorry. At this point I have to go and have a lie down until the giggles stop.

Okay, that's better. But a serious point is being made here. We all know that you can't slag off someone's religion in Britain these days because it become a hate crime (unless you're gay in which case they hated you first.... I think). So if the job centre had told a Sikh to ditch his turban or a Muslim to remove her hijab there'd have been a huge shitstorm about it, but some guy who edits Wookiepedia in his spare time? As far as I'm concerned they're all beliefs based on something that might (by massive coincidence) be true but is probably a complete fiction, so I'm happy to treat them all the same way. But however seriously we take it legislation says he can't be treated that way even if we do think he's mad as a bag of monkeys, right? Or maybe not.
Jarvis says: "I am a Star Wars follower. It means following the Way of the Jedi ... The main reason is I want to wear my hood up and I have got a religion which allows me to do that." Hmmm. According to reported glosses from the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) to accompany Harriet Harman's new equality bill, Jediism seems to have been excluded on the grounds that it is not "heartfelt"; other definitions include "worthy of respect" (which excludes, apparently, believers in human sacrifice). Tricky, isn't it?
Not really. If Harriet Halfwit and the various other government fuckcakes deem it worthy of respect it gets protection, and if they don't it doesn't (the various Christian denominations want to fucking watch out for that one in my opinion). If they think you're not serious - and I very much doubt the onus is on them to prove you're not - then you don't get protection either. See? Easy to understand. It's all down to what Harriet Harperson and her colleagues and successors think.

Now if you think that's a good idea think again, because really it's bad news for all. For us secular types who might prefer to deal with similar thinking people we have the constant possibility that a fucking movie fan can take us to court if we tell him to stop waving that toy light sabre around, or more realistically because they believe in the carbon fuelled warble gloaming dogma. And it's just as bad for religions because if protection depends on how seriously the powers that be take it then you all lose if ever someone gets in who takes absolutely none of it seriously.**

Better to stop legislating to make people nice and let them deal with things themselves. Now someone tell me where to find this Welsh Jedi wannabe so I can sit him down and explain that all this has happened before and all of it will happen again. And to try very hard not to laugh when I say it.

* It not be where you are but Swansea is a bloody long way away from here.
** Vote Angry Exile for your secular freedoms.
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