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Thousands of Australians claim ‘Jedi’ as their religion

Star Wars fans in Australia are taking their fandom a bit too far, with over 64,000 people choosing “Jedi” as their religion for the 2011 census. The Sydney Morning Herald reported that Jedi came in just behind those who identify as Sikhs and Seventh Day Adventists (actual religions).

The movement began in 2001, when over 70,000 people chose a Jedi-related religion.

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,” said an email from Star Wars fans, recruiting citizens for their cause.

The Jedi-related responses were separately looked at, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics. The optional religion question is important, as “outside of government, religious organizations are the biggest provider of a range of services to the community, such as education, hospitals, and aged care facilities,” a spokesman said. “Census information is important for planning these facilities.”

With enough respondents choosing “Jedi,” that means it will be categorized as a “Not Defined” religion instead of “No Religion,” having the power to skew the results.

The Atheist Foundation of Australia said such a result “makes Australia seem more religious than it really is.”

Kylie Sturgess and her husband were one of the over 70,000 people who put “Jedi” down as their religion, but now that she’s president of the atheist group, she has a different take on it. “People shouldn’t waste their answer,” she said.

“Answering the religion question thoughtfully and honestly matters because it benefits all Australians when decisions on how to spend taxpayer dollars are made on sound data that accurately reflects modern-day Australia.”

While Star Wars fan Chris Brennan admitted that “some people put down Jedi as a snub to the government, saying, ‘You can’t tell me what to do,'” he also said some “put it down as a serious commitment.”

When the census is conducted on August 9, for the first time “no religion” will be at the top of possible responses, rather than the bottom.

The Star Wars fandom has affected other nations in obscure ways as well. In Ukraine, there was even a character elected to political office.


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