'Star Wars' Fans Asked Not to Consider Jedi as a Religion in Australia’s Census
Atheists down under say fans should take the census more seriously.
It's census time in Australia and on Tuesday around 65,000 Australians are expected to mark Jedi as their religion on their official forms.
That was the figure who identified with the George Lucas-created mythic ‘order ‘of Star Wars heroes in the 2011 census, then marking around 0.37 percent of Australia’s population and officially placing the number of Jedi in the country just behind Sikhs and above Seventh Day Adventists.
It's a number that been growing steadily since the 2001 census (a national head count is held every five years down under), but now Australia’s atheists are asking for the joke to stop.
The Atheist Foundation of Australia has been rolling out its #censusnoreligion campaign, part of which uses Star Wars imagery.
“If old religious men in robes don’t represent you, don’t mark yourself as Jedi. Jedi and other joke religions are not placed in the 'no religion' category but in 'not defined,” it says.
Kylie Sturgess, president of the Atheist Foundation of Australia, who marked Jedi as her religion for fun in the last census, told Fairfax Media this skews the census results by making Australia appear more religious than it is.
"Answering the religion question thoughtfully and honestly matters because it benefits all Australians when decisions on how to spend taxpayer dollars are made on sound data that accurately reflects modern-day Australia,” she said.
Australia is not the only English-speaking market in which citizens identify their religion as Jedi. In the U.K. in 2001, 390,127 citizens, or 0.7 percent of the population, took up the Jedi cause, a number which had halved by 2011, according to the BBC.
Jokes aside, Aussies can be fined up to AUS$180 ($137) for not filing a census form or filling it in incorrectly.