Jedi fails to be recognised as a religion

Jediism has failed to 'force' its way through the legal hurdles of the British bureaucracy system in order to be recognised as a religion.

The Temple of the Jedi Order (TOTJO), whose followers worship the mythology of Star Wars films had its charitable status application rejected.

An online community, not a religion.

The Charity Commission wrote that Jediism "lacks the necessary spiritual or non-secular element" to be registered as a religion and "does not promote moral or ethical improvement".

The Temple of the Jedi Order was an "an entirely web-based organisation and the Jedi are predominantly, if not exclusively, an online community".

The Jedi master himself

The Jedi master himself

Image: Getty Images

"Although Jediism and the Jedi Doctrine as promoted by TOTJO includes the promotion of spirituality, there is insufficient evidence that moral improvement is central to the beliefs and practices of TOTJO. Particularly, as the Jedi Doctrine can be accepted, rejected and interpreted by individuals as they see fit," it said.

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A technician holds a replica of Kylo Ren's Lightsaber hilt from "Star Wars: The Force Awakens", in the Propshop headquarters at Pinewood Studios near London, Britain May 25, 2016. REUTERS/Peter Nicholls
A technician adds finishing touches to a replica of Kylo Ren's helmet from "Star Wars: The Force Awakens", in the Propshop headquarters at Pinewood Studios near London, Britain May 25, 2016. REUTERS/Peter Nicholls
A technician adds finishing touches to a replica of Chewbacca's Bowcaster from "Star Wars: The Force Awakens", in the Propshop headquarters at Pinewood Studios near London, Britain May 25, 2016. REUTERS/Peter Nicholls
A technician works on Kylo Ren's Lightsaber hilt from "Star Wars: The Force Awakens", in the Propshop headquarters at Pinewood Studios near London, Britain May 25, 2016. REUTERS/Peter Nicholls
A worker holds a replica of Poe Dameron's helmet from "Star Wars: The Force Awakens", in the Propshop headquarters at Pinewood Studios near London, Britain May 25, 2016. REUTERS/Peter Nicholls
Images of Poe Dameron's helmet from "Star Wars: The Force Awakens", are displayed on a computer screen in the Propshop headquarters at Pinewood Studios near London, Britain May 25, 2016. REUTERS/Peter Nicholls
A technician laser-scans a replica of Poe Dameron's helmet from "Star Wars: The Force Awakens", in the Propshop headquarters at Pinewood Studios near London, Britain May 25, 2016. REUTERS/Peter Nicholls
A technician at "Propshop" adds finishing touches to a replica of Darth Vader's melted helmet from "Star Wars: The Force Awakens", in the Propshop headquarters at Pinewood Studios near London, Britain May 25, 2016. REUTERS/Peter Nicholls
A worker holds a replica of Finn's Stormtrooper helmet from "Star Wars: The Force Awakens", in the Propshop headquarters at Pinewood Studios near London, Britain May 25, 2016. REUTERS/Peter Nicholls
Replica parts of Poe Dameron's helmet from "Star Wars: The Force Awakens", are seen in the Propshop headquarters at Pinewood Studios near London, Britain May 25, 2016. REUTERS/Peter Nicholls
A member of the Digital team works on the design of Finn's Stormtrooper helmet from "Star Wars: The Force Awakens", in the Propshop headquarters at Pinewood Studios near London, Britain May 25, 2016. REUTERS/Peter Nicholls
A technician holds a replica of Ray's Lightsaber hilt from "Star Wars: The Force Awakens", in the Propshop headquarters at Pinewood Studios near London, Britain May 25, 2016. REUTERS/Peter Nicholls
A technician adds finishing touches to a replica of Kylo Ren's helmet from "Star Wars: The Force Awakens", in the Propshop headquarters at Pinewood Studios near London, Britain May 25, 2016. REUTERS/Peter Nicholls
A worker holds a replica of Kylo Ren's helmet from "Star Wars: The Force Awakens", in the Propshop headquarters at Pinewood Studios near London, Britain May 25, 2016. REUTERS/Peter Nicholls
A member of the digital team works on Darth Vader's melted helmet from "Star Wars: The Force Awakens", in the Propshop headquarters at Pinewood Studios near London, Britain May 25, 2016. REUTERS/Peter Nicholls
Jet Cooper works on Kylo Ren's Lightsaber hilt from "Star Wars: The Force Awakens", in the Propshop headquarters at Pinewood Studios near London, Britain May 25, 2016. REUTERS/Peter Nicholls
A technician at "Propshop" adds finishing touches to a replica of Darth Vader's melted helmet from "Star Wars: The Force Awakens", in the Propshop headquarters at Pinewood Studios near London, Britain May 25, 2016. REUTERS/Peter Nicholls
A worker looks at replicas of Kylo Ren's helmet, Finn's Stormtrooper helmet and Poe Dameron's helmet from "Star Wars: The Force Awakens", in the Propshop headquarters at Pinewood Studios near London, Britain May 25, 2016. REUTERS/Peter Nicholls
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The numbers identifying as Jedi

In 2001 a national campaign led to more than 390,000 people describing themselves as Jedi Knights. However, since then numbers have dropped significantly.

In 2011 almost 177,000 people declared themselves Jedi under the religion section of the census — making it the seventh most popular religion ahead of Rastafarianism and Jainism.

A metaphysical entity

TOTJO is based in Beaumont, Texas and is recognised as a charitable group by the US Internal Revenue Service. On its website, it says Jedi "observe a metaphysical entity called the Force and often practise meditation".

"We are a group of individuals coming together in a community to promote goodwill, understanding, compassion and serenity," it says. "We pursue a spiritual and human awareness so we may serve the world."

Stormtroopers on the Millennium Bridge in London.

Stormtroopers on the Millennium Bridge in London.

Image: Getty Images

The evolving meaning of 'religion'

"The meaning of 'religion' in charity law has developed over many years and now encompasses a wide range of belief systems,"Kenneth Dibble, the Charity Commission's chief legal adviser, said.

"The decisions which the commission makes on the extent of this meaning can be difficult and complex, but are important in maintaining clarity on what is and is not charitable."

Not a fan site

"We're not a role-playing site, we do not teach mystical powers or how to build lightsabers, we are not a dedicated Star Wars fan site, we are not affiliated with George Lucas or Disney and we are not for people who just want to wear a badge reading "I'm a Jedi"."

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