Bad news for Harlow’s 330 Jedi Knights

Politics / Tue 20th Dec 2016 am31 09:26am

THE body that regulates charities in England and Wales has rejected an application from a Star Wars-inspired organisation devoted to spreading the ways of the Jedi.

The “Temple of the Jedi Order”, which draws on the mythology of the popular films as well as other philosophical and spiritual doctrines, applied to be entered onto the register of charities as a “Charities Incorporated Organisation” in March this year.

In the 2011 census, some 330 people in Harlow declared themselves Jedi under the section for religion, with 177,000 people in total identifying themselves as Jedis across the UK, making it the seventh most popular “religion”.

The ward with the most Jedi Knights is Bush Fair with 36. The ward with the least Great Parndon with 15.

However, the Charity Commission for England and Wales knocked back the Temple’s request, partly because it was not satisfied the organisation would be “established for exclusively charitable purposes for the advancement of religion and/or the promotion of moral and ethical improvement for the benefit of the public”.

In their application, the Temple of the Jedi Order pledged to advance the religion of “Jediism” for “the public benefit worldwide” and in line with the so-called Jedi Doctrine.

It defined Jediism as: “A religion based on the observance of the Force, the ubiquitous and metaphysical power that a Jedi (a follower of Jediism) believes to be the underlying, fundamental nature of the universe.”

But the commission, in its judgment, noted that it will not recognise as a religion “everything that chooses to call itself a religion” and was unconvinced by evidence proposed to support Jediism as a legitimate faith.

It read: “The Commission is not satisfied that the observance of the Force within Jediism is characterised by a belief in one or more gods or spiritual or non-secular principles or things which is an essential requirement for a religion in charity law.”

It also noted the Temple of the Jedi Order was an entirely web-based organisation and said practices cited within its online community may be adopted as “a lifestyle choice as opposed to a religion”.

The Charity Commission is the independent regulator of charities in England and Wales.

You may be interested that among the other religions declared in Harlow are two pagans in Church Langley, one Taoist in Harlow Common, a single Heathen in Mark Hall, a solo Satanist in Netteswell and a Druid in Toddbrook.

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