Don't say you're a Jedi on the upcoming Australian census

Don't say you're a Jedi on the upcoming Australian census July 31, 2016

There’s a Census coming up in Australia in August, but the country’s burgeoning number of Jedis have been asked by the Atheist Foundation of Australia not to identify themselves as such because they may skew the results.
The group’s president, Kylie Sturgess explained that if people fill in the “other” box in the religion sec­tion of the Census with an answer such as Jedi they are counted as “not defined” rather than “no religion”.
Sturgess said this skews the results by making Australia appear more religious than it is.

People shouldn’t waste their answer. 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.

Posters promoting the atheist campaign to tick the “no religion” box say:

If old religious men in robes do not represent you don’t mask yourself as ‘Jedi’.

Avid Star Wars fan Chris Brennan, from Melbourne, said:

Some people put down Jedi as a snub to the government … but others put it down as a serious commitment.

He added:

There are many genuine followers of the Jedi way and they’re not all nut jobs and ferals.

This year’s Census, to be held on Tuesday, August 9 , will be the first where “no religion” sits at the top of 10 possible responses rather than at the bottom.
In the 2011 census, 22 per cent of Aus­tralians chose “no religion” with Catholics on 25 per cent and Anglicans on 18 per cent.
In that census, both Sturgess and her husband both identified as Jedis.

It seemed hilarious. We didn’t really reflect on it.

Sturgess and her husband were far from alone. In the 2011 Census 64,390 Australians marked Jedi as their religion, up from 58,053 in 2006.This put the number of Jedi in Australia just behind Sikhs and above Seventh Day Adventists.
A 2012 Census in England and Wales figures revealed that 176,632 people there identified themselves as Jedi Knights, making it the most popular faith in the “Other Religions” category on the Census and the seventh most popular faith overall.

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  • Tony

    Sorry for OT but this is what I find so distasteful about islam.
    When the imams make a coordinated call for muslims to show up or a protest about islam being offended by a film, which I suspect is fairly objective, 5300 shrieking plackard waving enraged indignant muslims show up in central London for a whinge fest in an attempt to overthrow free speech and democracy. Where were these shitehawks after two of their own murdered a priest in France? Why didn’t the imams ask for a massed protest in condemnation. Post a film on You Tube critical of islam and the imams call for protest. Cold blooded murder of a priest by two worthless good for nothing muslims must at best be considered by the imams as mundane and unworthy of condemnation. At worst you could assume that the imams quietly and stealthily approve of the killing. This total imbalance in values and total lack of empathy is disgraceful and I suspect a true measure of muslim sensibilities and agenda. Well I say well done to Google. But don’t be surprised if Google offices worldwide get firebombed in the next few weeks. And please don’t tell me that in France today Muslims attended mass. I know that. But what is the motive … true contrition and condemnation … or a disingenuous attempt to reduce the severity of the backlash. Muslims know very well that you have to get behind someone before you can stab them in the back.

  • Stonyground

    “… if people fill in the “other” box in the religion sec­tion of the Census with an answer such as Jedi they are counted as “not defined” rather than “no religion”.”
    I find this to be pretty disgraceful. It is taking someone’s actual answer and turning it on its head, making it out to be something that it is not. I went into hospital as an out patient once. I was asked my religion and when I said ‘non’ they wanted to put my religion down as ‘not known’.
    While I think that it is correct that atheists shouldn’t put down Jedi as a joke, I think that those who claim to take the Jedi religion seriously deserve the same official recognition for their beliefs as any other religious nut jobs. Daft as I think that the serious Jedi are, I suspect that they are at least aware that the Force isn’t actually real, unlike people who believe in variations on YHWH.

  • barriejohn

    I’ve just read this:
    “Do not leave the religion section blank, please,” an email doing the rounds says. “Be sure to tick Christian (or your upbringing faith). Every Muslim will tick their box. 10,000 Australians will leave it blank then wonder why a mosque is built in their neighbourhood!!”
    I’m losing the will to live!

  • RussellW

    For God’s sake, don’t be a smart arse, tick the ‘no religion’ box. I will.

  • Michael

    But what should one do if genuinely a Jedi and can actually use the Force ?

  • Brian Jordan

    “But what should one do if genuinely a Jedi and can actually use the Force ?”
    Well, if Jedism really is a religion, you must proselytise, of course. But please lay off the light-sabres!

  • barriejohn

    Brian Jordan: Quite right. How can we take Jediism seriously as a religion when its adherents aren’t loudmouthed, conceited, self-righteous hypocrites who go about telling everyone else that if they don’t follow their particular faith then at best they are “offending” their mighty god and causing plague and pestilence, and at worst they are going to perish in the fires of hell for all eternity?

  • Cali Ron

    Michael : To answer your question, use the force to destroy religion. Then use it to make Trump go away. The world would then be a safer, happier place.

  • Laura Roberts

    I get the need for accurate data, but I think those folks who answer “Jedi” are doing us all a service, just as the FSM does. Even if the official survey shows it as “not defined”, the fact of 60,000 people answering “Jedi” makes news. It underscores the fact that any religion seems objectively childish, and that George Lucas’ rendition of the classic hero epic is more popular and entertaining than any traditional religion. I’m willing to bet people who tick any of the other religions know the Star Wars saga better than they do their own texts.