So Many Australians Are Claiming 'Jedi' as Their Religion That It's Becoming a Problem

Illustration for article titled So Many Australians Are Claiming 'Jedi' as Their Religion That It's Becoming a Problem

A battle over government, religion, and Star Wars is brewing in Australia. The country will hold their national census on August 9 and a group of people is begging their fellow citizens to not put “Jedi” down as their religion.

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Here’s the problem: On the 2011 census (it takes places every five years) 64,390 Australians put “Jedi” down as their religion, an increase of from 58,053 on the 2006 census, according to The Brisbane Times. Numbers like that put “Jedi” right behind Sikh on the list of religions in the country. It seems unlikely that all these people truly believe themselves to be actual Jedi, and most of them make the claim as a harmless way to declare their Star Wars fandom and give the government the middle finger at the same time.

However, a group called the Atheist Foundation of Australia is leading a campaign to get people to stop making this joke. Their reasoning is, that when officially counted, Jedi gets classified as a “Not Defined” religion instead of “No Religion.” When that happens, they believe “it makes Australia seem more religious than it really is.” Which, again, doesn’t sound like a problem, but “data on religious affiliation is used for public policy, city planning, community support facilities and more,” according to this cute infographic.

The AFA is concerned that if the government tabulates more people as religious, they’ll aim policy and tax dollars that way, instead of accurately serving the atheist percentage of the population.

It seems like a pretty big leap for Australian officials to gear policy and planning toward religion because a small percentage of people play a joke. But it’s not unfathomable, and that’s why this argument is so interesting.

[Brisbane Times via Mashable]

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Entertainment Reporter for io9/Gizmodo. Formerly of Premiere, EW, Us Weekly, and Slashfilm. AP Award-Winning Film Critic and CCA member. Loves Star Wars, posters, Legos, and often all three at once.

DISCUSSION

lostengineer
lostEngineer

There is no Emotion, there is Peace

There is no Ignorance, there is Knowledge

There is no Passion, there is Serenity

There is no Chaos, there is Harmony

Joke or not, but if more people believed this, happier the world would be. *Cough* sorry for the Yodaism.

Considering how violent some religions can get, if I was a country, I’d be happy to be up to my Schwartz in Jedi.