Apocalypse Soon > Religions, Cults & Sects

20,000 Canadians into Jedi


An astonishing 20,000 Canadians declared themselves to be followers of the religion of Jedi, the guardians of peace and justice in the Star Wars flicks, Statistics Canada reported Tuesday in the latest, and final, data to come from the 2001 census.

Will the holy trinity one day be replaced with "in the name of Yoda, Obi-Wan Kenobi and Luke Skywalker?"

Not likely, says Denis Dion, a 44-year-old produce manager from just outside Vancouver who circulated an e-mail urging anyone who wanted to have fun with Canada's census to identify themselves as Jedi when asked about their religion.

In the blockbuster George Lucas sci-fi films, Jedis are depicted as holy warriors who use the powerful strength of "the Force" to overcome sinister elements.

Unfortunately some Jedis use the Force for evil instead of good, but ultimately the virtuous Jedis prevail.

When asked if he was a practising Jedi knight, Dion replied: "Well some people claim I am."

He and some friends who volunteer at the Canadian Ski Patrol in Vancouver had been talking about their love of all things Jedi when they came up with the idea to see how many Canadians would be willing to tell Statistics Canada they too were followers.

"We all get along very well ... and it's strange but we all watch Star Trek and Star Wars," said Dion, who had thought only he and his free-thinking ski-patrol buddies would agree to poke fun at the census.

The Jedi membership drive was his way of thumbing his nose at the government for asking what he feels is an inappropriate question.

"My religion is my issue, not the government's," Dion said.

The Jedi gag is the latest in a global census trend that has left some statisticians red-faced as the number of Jedis has eclipsed some centuries-old religions.

In the U.K., for example, there are more Jedis than Jews.

Nearly 400,000 people identified themselves as Jedi in the 2001 census. Only 260,000 said they were Jewish.

The Jedis seemed to be concentrated in England and Wales.

Just last year, the Australian Bureau of Statistics reported that more than 70,000 people named Jedi as their faith.

The high response rate can be traced to an e-mail that told people the government would be forced to recognize Jedi as an official religion if enough people identified themselves as followers.


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