Of course it's a fake religion. All religions are fake.c
Not fake in that context. Do you really think that all christians believe Jesus was the son of God? I think they do. In fact, I know they do based on a lifetime of observation. The same theme (sans the Jesus) goes for jews, muslims, later day saints, and hindus. That said, my guess is that most "Jedi" are just keen on the genre. They're using George Lucas' second-hand plot to give them a sense of belonging, not meaning. That's what I meant by "fake." It's like the Church of the Subgenius. Apologies if that wasn't obvious.
How about we just agree a set of rights that all people share, and don't make it conditional on being a member of some recognized "religion"?
I was really struggling with how to talk about this in determining a response to the first guy's questions, and it comes down to this: We all have a right to life, liberty, and property. Inherent in those rights is the right to exclusion. If I own a house, and I don't want you to come into my house, then you can't come in. Similarly, if I own a store, and I don't want you shopping in my store, then you can't shop there. It's my right as a property owner.
But then we get into the sticky bit. Society has deemed (and rightly so) that several forms of discrimination are wrong. You can't not hire a guy just because he's black. Similarly, in many countries, you can't not sell to a guy, just because he's black. Law has also extended this protection to religious affiliation. You can't discriminate against someone based on their religion because, after all, no one chooses what they believe about God - at least so goes the theory. And, as an atheist who finds himself one rung below homosexuals on the American "trust" scale, I'd like to believe that's true.
Of course that's where we get into the discussion we're having now. Some asshole comes along and says he's a Jedi. How do you know he's telling the truth? How do you know he's not just gaming the system because he likes to dress up in robes and LARP in the woods? If that's the case, then what gives the state the right to remove my right to exclusion? Do we just believe him? Do we just believe anyone who says they have a special religion?