Bad news for any aspiring Jedi Knights in Britain - you won't be able to claim back the tax on your light saber, as the Charity Commission, which regulates charities in England and Wales has decided that The Temple of the Jedi Order is not allowed to incorporate as a charity. This means that finally there has been an official decision: Despite the huge numbers of people who fill "Jedi" on the census, Jedi is NOT a religion.
The Temple of the Jedi Order applied for charity status back in March, stating that its purpose was "To advance the religion of Jediism, for the public benefit worldwide, in accordance with the Jedi Doctrine".
Describing its religious philosophy, the group said Jediism is "…a religion based on the observance of the Force, the ubiquitous and metaphysical power that a Jedi (a follower of Jediism) believes to be the underlying, fundamental nature of the universe."
Sadly though, it got slapped down. The judgement, which was published today, says that.
"The Commission is not satisfied that the observance of the Force within Jediism is characterised 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. Despite being open to spiritual awareness, there is scope for Jediism and the Jedi Doctrine to be advanced and followed as a secular belief system. Jediism therefore lacks the necessary spiritual or non-secular element."
The judgement goes on to argue that Jediism doesn't have the cogency, cohesion, or seriousness to truly be a belief system, as defined by European law. The "decentralised" way that Jedis worship also appears to have been unpopular with those making the decision. It's almost like watching a film at home on your telly isn't good enough.
Worse still, The Temple of the Jedi Order also falls down because it fails to demonstrate public benefit or "moral improvement" on society more generally.
This must come across as a bit of slap in the face. For over a thousand generations, the Jedi Knights were the guardians of peace and justice in the Old Republic. But as that happened a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away, that clearly isn't good enough for the Charity Commission.
At least the recent addition of a new sacred text to the Jedi theological canon should provide a distraction during this dark time.