December 18, 2011 5:23pm PT by Sofia M. Fernandez
'Star Wars'-Inspired Religion Gaining Popularity in the Czech Republic
The "Knights of the Jedi" religion is gaining momentum in the Czech Republic.
More than 15,000 people listed themselves as followers of the Star Wars-inspired faith in a recent census. The biggest proportion of respondants claming the religion live in the country's capital Prague, notes the CzechPosition website.
The fewest number of Czechs believing in "the Force," reside in the central region of Vysocina.
Catholicism is still the country's most prevalent religion with more than 1.08 million followers.
Nearly half of the country's population chose not to identify themselves with any organized religion in the census, but those who did single themselves out as Jedi Knights, did so by writing in their preference.
The Czech statistical office said in a statement, "Many people adhered to the moral values of Jedi knights from the Star Wars saga."
A spokesman for the office remarked, "We included this option (in the census form) despite a fierce debate over whether it's serious or not. But it's not up to the statisticians to say what is or is not a religion."
Twenty-one thousand Canadians affiliated themselves with the Jedi religion in a 2001 census, and more than 53,000 people did the same in New Zealand the same year, though the number dropped significantly in the following census.