Jediism Is Not A Religion, Says Charity Commission

Rogue One stars Felicity Jones as Jyn Erso.Facebook

You might have seen Rogue One and decided you'd quite like to be a Jedi, but whatever you put on your census form, it's not a religion.

In 2011, 177,000 people said they were members of the military order with awesome mind-powers, making Jediism the seventh most popular faith in the country. And that represented a sharp drop from 2001, when adherents numbered 390,000.

However, the Charity Commission has rejected an application by the Temple Of The Jedi Order (TOTJO) to grant it charitable status. It said it was "not satisfied that TOTJO is established for exclusively charitable purposes for the advancement of religion and/or the promotion of moral and ethical improvement for the benefit of the public".

In charity law the definition of a religion does not necessarily include belief in God. However, the commission said: "Despite being open to spiritual awareness, there is scope for Jediism and the Jedi Doctrine to be advanced and followed as a secular belief system. Jediism therefore lacks the necessary spiritual or non-secular element."

It also said Jediism was primarily an online phenomenon and that adherents didn't worship together, and that it was not a "sufficiently structured, organised or integrated system of belief to constitute a religion".

Jedi knights and their system of mental discipline drawing on the 'Force' are a feature of the Star Wars film franchise.

On the Jedi Church's website it says the Church believes "there is one all powerful force that binds all things in the universe together. The Jedi religion is something innate inside everyone of us, the Jedi Church believes that our sense of morality is innate. So quiet your mind and listen to the force within you!"

It says all are welcome to the Church: "The Jedi Church recognises that there is one all powerful force that binds all things in the universe together, and accepts people from all walks of life, from all over the universe as members of our religion.