Wednesday, December 21, 2016

England's Charity Commission Refuses To Register Jedi Order As A Religion

Last week, the Charity Commission for England and Wales rejected an application by the Temple of the Jedi Order (TOTJO)-- an organization whose doctrines are inspired by Star Wars-- to be entered onto the register of charities. (Full text of Commission's Dec. 16 ruling.) TOTJO claimed that its purpose is: "To advance the religion of Jediism, for the public benefit worldwide, in accordance with the Jedi Doctrine." The ruling says in part:
... [R]eligion in charity law is characterised by belief in one or more gods or spiritual or non-secular principles or things, and a relationship between the adherents of the religion and the gods, principles or things which is expressed by worship, reverence and adoration, veneration intercession or by some other religious rite or service. In addition, that it must be capable of providing moral and ethical value or edification to the public and characterised by a certain level of cogency, seriousness, cohesion and importance.
... The Commission has ... concluded that Jediism does not meet the characteristics of a religion for the purposes of charity law....
The Commission also rejected the argument that TOTJO should be listed as a charity under the promotion of moral or ethical improvement standard. The Guardian reports on the ruling.