In Brief

Jedi bid to become recognised religion rejected

Charity Commission rules Star Wars's belief system is not a true faith, disappointing UK's 177,000 'worshippers'

Jedi-ism, the worship of the mythology of Star Wars, is not a religion, the Charity Commission has ruled.

The Temple of the Jedi Order applied for charitable status earlier this year. It describes Jedi-ism as "something innate inside everyone of us" and instructs followers: "Quiet your mind and listen to the force within you."

However, the commission ruled against the request yesterday, saying Jedi-ism does not "promote moral or ethical improvement".

In charity law, "the definition of a religion does not necessarily include a belief in God", reports Christian Today. However, the commission said "despite being open to spiritual awareness, there is scope for Jedi-ism and the Jedi Doctrine to be advanced and followed as a secular belief system".

It concluded: "Jedi-ism therefore lacks the necessary spiritual or non-secular element."

It added that Jedi-ism was primarily an online phenomenon and that adherents didn't worship together, nor was it "sufficiently structured, organised or integrated system of belief to constitute a religion".

Some 177,000 Britons declared themselves Jedi in the UK census of 2011, making it the seventh-most popular religion in the country, ahead of Rastafarianism and Jainism. 

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