Australians are being urged not to treat the country’s official census as a joke and to stop declaring themselves as part of the ‘Jedi’ religion.
In the 2011 census, 64,390 Australians marked themselves as Jedi, just behind the number of Sikhs in the country. But activists are claiming that citing a joke religion adversely alters the results of census, making Australia appear more religious than it really is, which could have a permanent effect on public policy and decisions concerning community support.
Kate Sturgess, who once marked her own census form with the Jedi joke, is now president of the Atheist Foundation of Australia. She is leading a campaign to stop the joke from getting any further because “it benefits all Australians when decisions on how to spend tax-payer dollars are made on sound data that accurately reflects modern-day Australia,” she told the Brisbane Times.
The campaign is urging people who have previously put themselves down as Jedi to tick the ‘no religion’ box instead of “not defined” to help rebalance the statistics.
An online poster for the campaign being shared on social media reads: “If old religious men in robes do not represent you… don’t mark yourself as ‘Jedi’.
“Jedi and other joke religions are not placed in the ‘No Religion’ category but in ‘Not Defined’. This makes Australia seem more religious than it really is.
“Data on religious affiliation is used for public policy, city planning, community support facilities and more”.
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