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Jedi isn't a religion, according to UK government

The Star Wars organization may be a belief system for some, but that's not going to cut it officially in the UK.

Even Han Solo, he who had little faith in the Force, knew Jedi was a religion, albeit a "hokey" one.

Yeah, tell that to the UK Charity Commission.

What's this about "hokey religions"?

Lucasfilm

On Monday, the government department rejected an application to grant charitable status to a group called The Temple of the Jedi Order.

The decision, which can be read online, notes that "the commission is not satisfied that the observance of the Force within Jediism is characterized 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."

The Jedi group began in 2005 in Texas, and 176,632 declared it their religion when the last UK census was taken in 2011.

The group's FAQ reports that "Jediism is the religion of those who regard their Jedi practice as a religious vocation. Jedi observe a metaphysical entity called the Force and often practice meditation."

Monday's decision is far from the first time people who have listed themselves as Jedi have made the news. In August, an atheist organization in Australia asked residents to stop claiming to be Jedi on the census, saying it made the nation seem more religious than it really is.

But however governments view the group, its website makes it clear it's not just for those who think it'd be cool to have a lightsaber and run around in a hooded robe.

"We are not a role-playing site," the website notes. "We do not teach mystical powers or how to build lightsabers, we are not a dedicated Star Wars fan site, we are not affiliated with George Lucas or Disney and we are not for people who just want to wear a badge reading, 'I'm a Jedi.'"