The Charity Commission for England and Wales will not be giving into the light side (or the dark side) of the Force any time soon. The Commission, which according to The New York Times “oversees British organizations’ applications for nonprofit or charity status” has shot down a group known as the Temple Of The Jedi Order that applied for charity status, citing its dedication to furthering “the religion of Jediism, for the public benefit worldwide, in accordance with the Jedi Doctrine.” Even Chirrut Imwe saw this one coming.
Apparently, an age-old morality tale featuring heroes, villains, a little bit of incest, and numerous desert locales incorporating ancient mythology and spirituality and based on a bearded gentleman’s beliefs is a much more believable religion than Star Wars. According to the Charity Commission, Jediism—which draws on the mythology of Star Wars, Hinduism, Christianity, and Gary Kurtz’s Comparative Religion textbooks—does not “promote moral or ethical improvement,” and is thus not a religion. This is despite the fact that there are plenty of similarities between Christianity and George Lucas’s space opera, and The Bible really could be improved by a comedy polish from Willard Huyck and Gloria Katz.
The Temple Of The Jedi Order has about 177,000 practitioners in Britain, which, along with the Star Wars Expanded Universe, confirms that Darth Vader didn’t do a very good job wiping out the last of the Jedi. “The decisions which the commission makes on the extent of this meaning can be difficult and complex,” Kenneth Dibble, the chief legal advisor for the Charity Commission, said from his throne on Death Star III. He adds that such decisions are crucial for “maintaining clarity on what is, and is not, charitable.”
In short, there won’t be any mystical energy field controlling your destiny anytime soon, so you’ll just have to rely on simple tricks and nonsense.