Atheists urge Australians not to joke around by putting Jedi as their religion on the census

Jul 31, 2016

By Matthew Knott

Kylie Sturgess loves science fiction – so much that at the last census, the radio tutor marked “Jedi” in the religion section. Her husband, who has attended several sci-fi conventions with her, did the same.

“We thought: why not put down Jedi?” Ms Sturgess said.

“It seemed hilarious.

“We didn’t really reflect on it.”

Ms 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.

The Jedi phenomenon began in 2001 when an email campaign mistakenly claimed the government would have to recognise it as an official religion if 8000 people selected it in the census.

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5 comments on “Atheists urge Australians not to joke around by putting Jedi as their religion on the census

  • 3
    fadeordraw says:

    I couldn’t manage my way to read the source article without ad sounding off. For the Census, wouldn’t they have to had checked off a Jedi box? Just wondering… Christian, Jew, Jedi…

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  • @fadeordraw There is an “Other” box you can write anything in but it gets coded in the census as not defined and hence diminishes the “no religion” count.

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  • 5
    fadeordraw says:

    @mmurray – yeah but “64,390 Australians marked Jedi” is quite surprising. On the one hand, “marked” would suggest a tick-off from a drop-down menu. On the other, that population would have entered “Jedi”, with close enough spelling, for scanning or manual recording. That’s a big number for that to happen. In both Can and US the youth involvement with governance, such as the census and voting, would not be that enthusiastic or coordinated. Maybe things are different in Australia. Or maybe the story’s based upon a bogus stat.

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