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Britain Denies Religious Status to Jedi

REUTERS/Dylan Martinez

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Kevin Klenkel Kevin Klenkel is an intern at The Daily Caller News Foundation.
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The U.K. Charity Commission has ruled that Jediism, a religion based on the teachings of the fictional Star Wars universe, is not a religion. The Charity Commission is the independent regulator and registrar of charities in England and Wales.

Star Wars is one of the most successful film franchises of all time. It’s popularity has been constant since the release of A New Hope nearly 40 years ago. Star Wars has infiltrated nearly every aspect of culture–including religion. Known colloquially as Jediism, the Temple of the Jedi Order, has become quite popular in some circles. Information from the U.K.’s 2011 census reveal that Jediism is the seventh largest religion in the U.K., with 177,000 adherents, making Jediism more popular than Rastafarianism or Jainism.

The Temple of the Jedi Order was rejected as a charitable organization by the Charity Commission because it does not
“promote moral or ethical improvement” for charity law purposes in England and Wales, BBC reports.

In a press release the Charity Commission denies Jediism status as a charitable organization on the basis of charity law, which states a charity must have the purpose of advancing religion or the advancement of moral or ethical improvement for the benefit of the community.

The decision put forth by the Charity Commission also denies Jediism as a religion. Since it is open to interpretation and also aggregates from other world religions, the commission found that the belief system was not sufficiently structured, cogent, or serious. “There is a lack of clarity as to what beliefs, principles and practices are promoted given the diversity within Jediism and the concept of liberty of thought and individual choice,” the commission writes.

Daniel Jones, the leader of the Jediism Church, told the BBC Jedi will continue to do charity work, he hopes to one day gain charitable status.

The Commission acknowledges that the definition of religion does evolve with time, so there is a chance.  As Yoda once said, “Impossible to see, the future is.”

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