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Australian government refuses to recognize Jedi
August 27, 2002 6:30 AM   Subscribe

Australian government refuses to recognize Jedi as an official religion, despite the fact that 70,000 people listed it on their census forms.
posted by swift (33 comments total)

 
I find the Australian government's lack of faith... disturbing.
posted by Slithy_Tove at 6:43 AM on August 27, 2002


I sense a disturbance in the force.
posted by DragonBoy at 6:47 AM on August 27, 2002


In a statement Tuesday on its Internet site, the agency did not say if it would try to fine the Jedi faithful. But it warned that the Australian public ultimately paid the price for census-related pranks.

"The cost of wrong information is to the current and potential users of these services," the agency said.

"If, for example, people of a particular religious affiliation do not provide the correct information, certain facilities might not be built that otherwise would be."


Hmmm? If someone gleefully puts Jedi as their religion on a census form, they probably aren't part of a serious religious group approaching the government for funds, are they? So the jedi pranksters actually contributed to accurate demographics. Like, if 30,000 of this respondents lived in or around Adelaide say, the government would know not to build "The First Government Church of Very Serious Religiosity" there.
posted by PinkStainlessTail at 6:51 AM on August 27, 2002


Not that Jedi is much less ridiculous than any other organised religion, mind you.
posted by mikrophon at 6:53 AM on August 27, 2002


Apparently it's not only in australia....

New Zealand, England, Wales
posted by mrgavins at 6:54 AM on August 27, 2002


That's no moon. It's a voting station.
posted by debralee at 6:54 AM on August 27, 2002


Yes, but the "Jedi" are less than .5% of the population. So why should they be honored as a religion? I could say I worship Ziggy Stardust, but unless I had more than 1% it doesn't really matter.
posted by mkelley at 6:54 AM on August 27, 2002


The poor saps who wrote "Jedi" on their census forms probably fell prey to the Jedi Census Email Hoax.
posted by brownpau at 7:00 AM on August 27, 2002


And before someone calls me on it:

SUMMARY

The estimated resident population of South Australia at 30 June 2001 was 1,514,900, an increase of 40,600 since 1996. In 2001 South Australia's population was 7.8% of the Australian total.

In 2001 almost three quarters (73.3%) of the state's population resided in the Adelaide Statistical Division (SD), a proportion virtually unchanged since 1996. Outer Adelaide was the fastest growing SD in the state with an increase of 9.5% (9,900 persons) from 1996 to 2001. Only two SDs experienced a decline in estimated resident population over the same time period, Northern (-3,200 persons) and South East (-13 persons). [source:Australian Bureau of Statistics


So yes, 30,000 would be fairly insignificant. This isn't the lousy argument you're looking for. This isn't the lousy argument you're looking for.*waves hands*
posted by PinkStainlessTail at 7:00 AM on August 27, 2002


70K Jedi huh. No doubt two of them are Sith - I wonder when at last they will reveal themselves to the Jedi.
posted by fluffy1984 at 7:04 AM on August 27, 2002


Like any sane person, I would have said I worship Zardoz.
posted by Fabulon7 at 7:15 AM on August 27, 2002


70,000 - Impressive. Most impressive.

The fines associated with listing Jedi as your religion on the census are insignificant next to the power of the Force...
posted by MsVader at 7:30 AM on August 27, 2002


Yes, but the "Jedi" are less than .5% of the population. So why should they be honored as a religion?

My religion, Kemetic Orthodoxy, is less than .00007% of the US population. We are recognized by the US Armed Forces, our priests can legally perform marriages, and we have 501(c)3 nonprofit tax status. Which is all the recognition a religion should get from the government.

Jedi would be a recognized religion if it were actually a religion, and not just a joke.

But as far as I'm concerned, the government doesn't need to know how many people belong to which religions, except as a matter of curiosity. Would Australia really allocate its budget differently if there were 15 million Christians instead of 12.8 million?
posted by Foosnark at 8:20 AM on August 27, 2002


"our priests can legally perform marriages"

So can I in some states...ULC.
posted by mkelley at 9:18 AM on August 27, 2002


Jedi would be a recognized religion if it were actually a religion, and not just a joke. Actually, I was on a list with people who did NOT take it as a joke - the ideas behind Jedi-ism were those that most closely matched their own belief systems - pretty cool group of people too. It doesn't SEEM like a 'religion' in the classic sense of having priests and congregations, but it can be considered a spiritual belief system. (Not that I'm sure some people didn't write it in as a joke, but I'm also sure some people did not.) The problem with census-type questions is that more and more belief systems are falling outside the usual classification - I think George Bush once said that he didn't think Wicca could be considered a religion (paraphrased) - is religion just another word for spiritual belief system? Or is money (asked for, used, or raised or whatnot) the distinguishing point when determining what is a 'religion' and what is not? If so, then I still say the census-type questions are too narrowly framed. [steps down from soap box]
posted by thunder at 10:17 AM on August 27, 2002


damnit fabulon7, I'll be at that site for hours.
posted by GeekAnimator at 10:29 AM on August 27, 2002


OK. Waitaminnit! Are you trying to tell me that Jedi-ism ISN'T a real realgion and that The Force isn't real?!

Blasphemers!
posted by TCMITS at 10:45 AM on August 27, 2002


Do they all claim to abstain from sex and love as a Jedi must? If they are officiating Jedi marriages I think not.
posted by eperker at 10:57 AM on August 27, 2002


My guess is most Jedi abstain from sex. I'm not saying it's a choice, however.
posted by fluffy1984 at 11:01 AM on August 27, 2002


*Force-chokes Foosnark*
posted by Yelling At Nothing at 11:05 AM on August 27, 2002


I just find this interesting but funny at the same time.
posted by for3v3rzero at 12:05 PM on August 27, 2002


My guess is most Jedi abstain from sex. I'm not saying it's a choice, however.

On this, the week of Dragon*Con in Atlanta, I must admit that it would seem that not only is this true, but something for which we must all be thankful.
posted by dwivian at 12:08 PM on August 27, 2002


"I've got a very bad feeling about this."
posted by ZachsMind at 12:28 PM on August 27, 2002


Foolish Jeedai! Worship of the Yuzzhan Vong gods is the only true religion!
posted by bargle at 1:28 PM on August 27, 2002


Yuuzhan Vong, actually. I'm a bad Star Wars fan.
posted by bargle at 1:29 PM on August 27, 2002


The Church of Spongebob. From the Book of Bossy Boots: Saa-laads suck.
posted by swift at 1:40 PM on August 27, 2002


Actually, I think that this was originally started by the Jedi Census Email Hoax and, while some people may have fallen for it, it was touted widely just prior to the census as a way to "thumb your nose at the man", rather than a serious attempt to create a religion (I don't think that many really believed it would happen). The Australian sense of humour can be a strange thing at times.

The religion question is an optional one, so I could not see anyone being fined for answering Jedi and how would they prove that a person was not a Jedi Knight anyway? The only reason that it is asked is to estimate requirements for cultural and religious facilities in various areas.

Perhaps it wasn't a typo when I saw that public notice in the newspaper last weekend about the new church going up in my neigbourhood ...
posted by dg at 4:52 PM on August 27, 2002


One could opt to believe Lucas' fictional concept of The Force and follow some of the tenets as described in the Star Wars series without actually trying to be a Jedi Knight. As I understand the Jedi mythology as a religion (and I am a bit of a Star Wars fan, have been since I was 8), only Jedi Knights opt to avoid sexual relationships because they tend to disturb one's mental processes. Jedis don't avoid sex because they think it's evil. They just wanna concentrate on other things like saving the galaxy and boring stuff like that. If the galaxy doesn't need saving though, Jedis may get it on like the best of 'em.

I think you can be Jedi without being a Knight. Or at least relate to the tenets of "Jedism." The idea that the entire universe is comprised of some force. This can to an extent actually be scientifically proven. We're all star stuff. The old saying is ashes to ashes dust to dust, but it's bigger than that. Every molecule on this planet could probably be traced to either the star that Earth spins around, or some other star, and most scientists believe in the Big Bang Theory, which means everything in reality was spawned by one source. A rather forceful source.

One could surmise that things like intuition and conscience are somehow echoes of that force of nature. In fact Jedism has a lot of similarities to many religious concepts, since Lucas based parts of his story on the teachings of Joseph Campbell, who studied all Terran mythologies. Lucas just removed the concept of a god. The god of a Judist might be the whole of the Universe. A force without a physical manifestation other than the Universe itself, upon which can be communed by communing with one's environment. Feeling the tendrils of affinity between objects.

There's also parapsychology. Things like telepathy and telekinesis can be very primitive attempts at explaining or understanding how things actually work. Or it could all be a bunch of bunk, but as religions go, "Jedism" makes about as much sense as any of them.
posted by ZachsMind at 6:04 PM on August 27, 2002


I thought the whole idea of Jedi Knight codes on sexuality was celibacy, not chastity. They can't get married, the same way that they aren't suppose to have any wealth. Attachment.

I don't know; I don't really study the stuff and I could be wrong. Just going by what I gathered.

If people were serious about the ideas that surround the purported 'Jedism' why wouldn't they just build a church around those concepts as opposed to doing something so horrifically tacky as modeling a spirituality after a 70s B-ish scifi movie. I mean, we don't see Battlestar Galactica religions now do we?
posted by Lord Chancellor at 6:51 PM on August 27, 2002


If people were serious about the ideas that surround the purported 'Jedism' why wouldn't they just build a church around those concepts as opposed to doing something so horrifically tacky as modeling a spirituality after a 70s B-ish scifi movie. I mean, we don't see Battlestar Galactica religions now do we?

what about tacky sci fi novels written by ron l. hubbard...? he pulled an organized religion out of his ass on a dare didn't he...? called scientology...? is any of it based on his horrifically bad novels...?
posted by t r a c y at 8:04 PM on August 27, 2002


Battlestar Galactica religions? What the felgerkarb is wrong with you?

I do have a few friends who are genuine adherents of a religion derived from a writer of horror novels. And since it's not a thinly disguised excuse for a pyramid scheme, I don't have a problem with calling it a religion.
posted by adamrice at 10:10 AM on August 28, 2002


No, L. Ron Hubbard's horrifically tacky religion and his horrifically tacky sci-fi novels have no relation. But, by them being by the same guy, people blend his non-fiction and fiction into one horrifically tack melting pot, which isn't really true any as Asimov's Guide to the Bible has any relation to his sci-fi fiction.

Just clarification.
posted by Lord Chancellor at 2:14 PM on August 28, 2002


as opposed to doing something so horrifically tacky as modeling a spirituality after a 70s B-ish scifi movie. I mean, we don't see Battlestar Galactica religions now do we?

TROLL!!
posted by buz46 at 10:59 PM on August 30, 2002


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