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.
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.