Jedi Knights took on the British government bureaucracy, but the force was apparently not with them. The Star Wars-inspired organization’s attempts to be recognized as a religion failed.
The Temple of the Jedi Order, which describes itself as a religion “based on the observance of the Force,” applied for tax-exempt charitable status this year, but the British Charity Commission has ruled that it does not meet the requirement to be called a religion under British charity law.
In a ten-page document (pdf), the Charity Commission laid out its reasons for rejecting an application to grant charitable status to the Temple of the Jedi Order. The Commission explained that for the Jedi Order to be recognized as a religion under charity law, it must be capable of providing moral and ethical value or edification to the public. The Jedi order failed to prove this: While the organization supports its members, the commission didn’t find enough evidence that it had a positive impact on the general public.
The Charity Commission ruled that though the Jedi Order borrows heavily from other world religions, it “does not consider that the aggregate amounts to a sufficiently cogent and distinct religion.” The Commission notes there was “insufficient evidence” that the Jedi order was “sufficiently structured, organized or integrated system of belief to constitute a religion.”
In the UK, 177,000 people declared themselves Jedi under the religion section of the census in 2011—a sharp drop from 2001, when 390,000 people said they were Jedi on the national census.