In the 2001 Australian census, over 70,000 citizens indicated that their religion was Jedi. That number fell to around 58,000 in 2006, then rose back up to over 64,000 for the 2011 census. Of course, Jedi, based on the ancient spiritual organization from Star Wars, isn’t a real theistic religion, just a fun way to either stick it to the government or showcase your Star Wars fandom. Still, some people are starting to believe the joke is going a bit too far, and that it could have some unfortunate consequences if it keeps going.
The movement began in 2001, and a group of Star Wars fans recruiting people for their cause wrote in an email, “If there are enough people in the country, about 10,000, who put down the same religion, it becomes a fully recognized and legal religion.” This means that “Jedi” is classified as a “Not Defined” religion instead of “No Religion,” according to io9.
After misguidedly listing Jedi as my religion for most of my adult life… pic.twitter.com/awq4wvwUR2
— Adam Valentine (@Adam86Valentine) July 27, 2016
The Atheist Foundation of Australia isn’t on board with this because they say in this infographic that, “it makes Australia seem more religious than it really is,” which could affect government policy and allocation of tax dollars because “data on religious affiliation is used for public policy, city planning, community support facilities and more.” They believe this could lead to the atheist or non-religious population to be improperly represented and served in public matters.
This might sound a bit outlandish, but 64,000 people isn’t exactly a small amount. Then again, that’s less than 0.3 percent of Australia’s total population of about 24 million, so the Force might not be quite that powerful.
Featured image: Lucasfilm/20th Century Fox