Star Wars Fans Applied For Jediism To Become A Religion In The UK, And It Didn’t Go Well

It's become an increasing popular practice for people to list their official religion as Jedi on official census forms. One group in the UK recently tried to have their faith officially recognized, but it hasn't worked out the way they hoped. The UK's Charity Commission is the organization tasked with determining whether any group should be recognized as an official religion. They have determined that Jediism, at least as presented to them, does not qualify.

Star Wars

Back in March, a group calling itself the Temple of the Jedi Order officially filed the paperwork to attempt to have Jediism recognized as an official religion within the UK. The Charity Commission, in a 10-page decision reported by the UK's Telegraph, has now said that, no, it does not. The Commission found a variety of reasons that Jediism doesn't qualify as a religion. One of the major issues is that while some might follow the practices as a religion, it is also possible to follow them outside of such a structure.

Although these publications borrow from the prayers and texts of world religions, in the context of TOTJO, the Commission is not satisfied that the 'Live Services' on the website, the published sermons and the promotion of meditation evidence a relationship between the adherents of the religion and the gods, principles or things which is expressed by worship, reverence and adoration, veneration intercession or by some other religious rite or service. In particular, it is significant that Jediism may be adopted as a lifestyle choice as opposed to a religion.

It's not perfectly clear exactly what the goal of getting the Temple of the Jedi Order recognized as an official religion was, if there was anything specific the group wanted to do that they needed the designation to accomplish or if they just wanted the official standing, but it would seem that while Jediism does have several things in common with major religions, it's just too loose a set of guidelines to qualify under the definition that the state uses. Back in 2001 nearly 400,000 people listed themselves as Jedi on the official census.

It's unlikely that this will stop people in the UK from claiming they are Jedis however. In Australia, the act of claiming oneself as Jedi in the census has become so common a practice that the nation has more Jedis than it has Seven Day Adventists. A local atheist organization even started a campaign to discourage the practice, based on the idea that many who were claiming to be Jedi were probably atheists and they weren't being appropriately counted.

Whether or not Jediism is a religion or not, millions follow its lessons and study its teachings. Though, as Rogue One: A Star Wars Story has recently taught us, you don't need to actually be a Jedi to be one with The Force.

Dirk Libbey
Content Producer/Theme Park Beat

CinemaBlend’s resident theme park junkie and amateur Disney historian. Armchair Imagineer. Epcot Stan. Future Club 33 Member.