Star Wars Jedi rejected as religious group in UK

(RNS) Han Solo may have called Jediism a ‘hokey religion’, but the Charity Commission for England and Wales has decided it isn’t actually a religion.

The Charity Commission announced on Monday (December 19) that it had rejected an application for charitable status by the Temple of the Jedi Order.

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The temple would have advanced “the religion of Jediism, for the worldwide public good, in accordance with the Jedi doctrine”, according to the candidates.

This doctrine draws not only from the mythology of the Star Wars films, but also from other recognized religions and philosophical doctrines, the Charity Commission reported.

But Jediism was not established for “exclusively charitable purposes,” including the advancement of religion and the promotion of moral and ethical betterment for the benefit of the public, the commission concluded.

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Daniel Jones, leader of the Church of Jediism in the UK, told the BBC he was confident “the status of Jediism will change over the next five years”.

The commission’s decision is “not what anyone in the Jediism community wants to hear, when you have churches like Satan and Scientology with charitable religious statutes,” Jones said.

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There are now more Jedi in the UK – 177,000, to be exact – than Rastafarians and Jains, according to the BBC.

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Atheists in the UK had started listing their religion as “Jedi” in the 2001 census, an irreverent response to a question about religious affiliation appearing for the first time in the census.

So many atheists in Australia had done the same, the Atheist Foundation of Australia asked people earlier this year to stop. This gives the impression that Australia is more religious than it actually is, the foundation said.