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Jedi, You are Not: Aussie Atheists Are Not Amused for Upcoming Census

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Yoda Jedi Master

Some Australians are claiming Jedi as their religion, and it is not doing anyone good. For one thing, Jedi is not a religion. Secondly, the upcoming national census on August 9 will consider those who put in ?Jedi? as their religion, will be considered as ?not defined? instead of ?no religion?. And it seems that the atheists in Australia are not happy about this.

According to Brisbane Times, 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.

It?s unlikely that these people really believe themselves to be Jedi, but rather it is their way of expressing their Star Wars fandom, and as a harmless stab at their government.

A group called the Atheist Foundation of Australia however is not amused. AFA wants their fellow Aussies to stop making this a joke because they believe that ?it makes Australia seem more religious than it really is.?

It doesn?t sound like a problem but ?data on religious affiliation is used for public policy, city planning, community support facilities and more,? as illustrated in this cute infographic.

Jedi infographic

According to io9 Gizmodo, the AFA is concerned that if the government tabulates more people as religious, they?ll aim policy and tax dollars that way, instead of accurately serving the atheist percentage of the population.

Misled by email campaign

This phenomenon started in 2001, when Aussies were misled by an email campaign which mistakenly claimed that ?Jedi? will be recognized by the government as an official religion if 8,000 people selected it in the census.

This year?s census will be a first since the ?no religion? option was introduced in 1991. This year, ?no religion? will sit at the top of ten possible responses, rather than at the bottom. This will move ?Catholic? into the second position to the question ?What is the person?s religion??

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