Star Wars’ Jedi rejected as religious group in UK

Han Solo may have referred to Jediism as a “hokey religion,” but the Charity Commission for England and Wales has ruled it is not actually a religion.

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

The temple would have advanced “the religion of Jediism, for the public benefit worldwide, in accordance with the Jedi Doctrine,” according to applicants.

That doctrine draws not only on the mythology of the Star Wars films but also on 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 improvement to benefit the public, the commission concluded.

Daniel Jones, leader of the Church of Jediism in the U.K., told the BBC he was confident “Jediism’s status will change in 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 statuses,” Jones said.

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

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

So many atheists in Australia had done the same, the Atheist Foundation of Australia asked people earlier this year to stop. It makes Australia seem more religious than it actually is, the foundation reasoned.