Jediism (or Jedism) is a philosophy mainly based on the depiction of the Jedi characters in Star Wars media. Jediism attracted public attention in 2001 when a number of people recorded their religion as "Jedi" on national censuses.
Jediism is inspired by certain elements of Star Wars, namely the fictional religion of the Jedi. Early websites dedicated to bringing up a belief system from the Star Wars films were "The Jedi Religion and regulations" and "Jediism". These websites cited the Jedi code, consisting of 21 maxims, as the starting point for a "real Jedi" belief system. The real-world Jediism movement has no leader or central structure.
Although followers of Jediism acknowledge the influence of Star Wars on their religion, by following the moral and spiritual codes demonstrated by the fictional Jedi, they also insist their path is different from that of the fictional characters and that Jediism does not focus on the myth and fiction found in Star Wars. While there is some variation in teaching, the Jedi of the Temple of the Jedi Order follows the "16 teachings" based on the presentation of the fictional Jedi, such as "Jedi are mindful of the negative emotions which lead to the Dark Side" and "Jedi are guardians of peace and justice". Adherents also follow "21 maxims".
Jediism received press coverage following a worldwide email campaign in 2001 urging people to write "Jedi" as their answer to the religion classification question in their country's census, resulting in the Jedi census phenomenon. The majority of such respondents are assumed to have claimed the faith as a joke.
In 2005, the Temple of the Jedi Order was registered in Texas. It was granted IRS tax exemption in 2015. In May 2005, an article on the growth of Jedi religion by Catholic author Jon M. Sweeney was the most read article on the website Explorefaith.org that year.
During the drafting of the UK Racial and Religious Hatred Act, an amendment was proposed that excluded Jedi Knights from any protection, along with Satanists and believers in animal sacrifice. The amendment was subsequently withdrawn, the proposer explaining that it was "a bit of a joke" to illustrate a point that defining religious belief in legislation is difficult.
In 2007, 23-year-old Daniel Jones founded The Church of Jediism with his brother Barney, believing that the 2001 UK census recognised Jediism as a religion, and that there were "more Jedi than Scientologists in Britain". In 2009, Jones was removed from a Tesco supermarket in Bangor, North Wales, for refusing to remove his hood on a religious basis. The owner justified Jones's ejection by saying, "He hasn't been banned. Jedis are very welcome to shop in our stores although we would ask them to remove their hoods. Obi-Wan Kenobi, Yoda and Luke Skywalker all appeared hoodless without ever going over to the Dark Side and we are only aware of the Emperor as one who never removed his hood."
In 2013, the Free Church of Scotland expressed concern that a proposed Marriage and Civil Partnership bill would "lead to Star Wars Jedi marrying couples". Patrick Day-Childs of The Church of Jediism, and Rev Michael Kitchen of Temple of the Jedi Order, both defended the right of Jedi to perform marriage ceremonies.
In December 2016, the Charity Commission for England and Wales rejected an application to grant charitable organization status to The Temple of the Jedi Order, ruling that the group did not "promote moral or ethical improvement" for charity law purposes.
In April 2015, the students of Dokuz Eylül University in Turkey started a petition on Change.org demanding a Jedi temple be built on the campus. The petition was in response to a previous petition which had demanded a mosque on the campus of Istanbul Technical University (İTÜ). The petition demanding the mosque reached 180,000 signatures, falling short of its 200,000 target, and invoked a response from Mehmet Karaca, the rector of Istanbul Technical University (İTÜ), promising "a landmark mosque". Soon after, students from other universities started petitions demanding Jedi and Buddhist temples on their campuses.
- Lamonthe, Dan (18 November 2014). "The Pentagon's Pugnacious Critic on Religion Gets his Day in Congress". Washington Post. Retrieved 20 November 2015.
- "Jedi is not a religion, Charity Commission rules". BBC News. 2016-12-19. Retrieved 2017-02-14.
- Hume, Lynne; McPhillips, Kathleen (2006). Popular spiritualities: the politics of contemporary enchantment. Ashgate Publishing, Ltd. p. 59. ISBN 978-0-7546-3999-2.
- Matthew Wilhelm Kapell; John Shelton Lawrence (2006). Finding the Force in the Star Wars Franchise: Fans, Merchandise, and Critics. Peter Lang. ISBN 0-8204-6333-7.
- Nancy K. Grant; Diana J. Mansell (2008). A Guidebook to Religious and Spiritual Practices for People Who Work With People. iUniverse. pp. 249–251. ISBN 978-0-595-50527-2. Retrieved 16 July 2012.
- Deacy, Christopher; Arweck, Elisabeth (2009). Exploring religion and the sacred in a media age. Ashgate Publishing, Ltd. p. 15. ISBN 978-0-7546-6527-4.
- Matthew Kapell; John Shelton Lawrence (1 August 2006). Finding the Force of the Star Wars Franchise: Fans, Merchandise, & Critics. Peter Lang. pp. 105–112. ISBN 978-0-8204-6333-9. Retrieved 16 July 2012.
- Beyer, Catherine. "Basic teachings of the Jedi". About.com. The New York Times Company. Retrieved 6 September 2013.
- "Doctrine of the Temple of the Jedi Order". Temple of the Jedi Order. Retrieved 6 September 2013.
- Taylor, Henry (2012-12-11). "'Jedi' religion most popular alternative faith". The Daily Telegraph. London. Retrieved 2012-12-14.
- Carole M. Cusack (15 September 2010). Invented Religions: Faith, Fiction, Imagination. Ashgate Publishing, Ltd. p. 125. ISBN 978-0-7546-6780-3. Retrieved 4 January 2013.
- Perrott, Alan (August 31, 2002). "Jedi Order lures 53,000 disciples". The New Zealand Herald. APN News & Media. Retrieved July 30, 2013.
- "IRS Determination Letter" (PDF).
- "Racial and Religious Hatred Bill". 2005-06-29. Retrieved 2010-02-22.
- Wells, Jonathan (2015-12-15). "Inside the Church of Jediism: what it's like to follow The Force". Telegraph. Retrieved 7 January 2017.
- Carter, Helen (18 September 2009). "Jedi religion founder accuses Tesco of discrimination over rules on hoods". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 2011-02-22.
- McKenzie, Steven "Star chores: Do Jedi want to marry people?", BBC News, London, 20 March 2013. Retrieved on 14 June 2014.
- Hudson, Tony "Marry you, I will: Jedi strike back over weddings criticism", Politics UK, 25 March 2013. Retrieved on 14 June 2014.
- "Jediism not a religion, Charity Commission rules". BBC News. 19 December 2016.
- "Thousands of Turkish students sign petition to build Jedi Temple on university campus". The Independent. 8 April 2015. Retrieved 8 April 2015.
- "Turkish University students demand Jedi, Buddhist temples amid mosque frenzy". Hurriyet Daily News. 6 April 2015. Retrieved 8 April 2015.