Figures released by the Australian census to ABC’s Lateline program show the Church of Scientology’s membership is in such decline, that it now is outnumbered by people who identify as Jedis and Wiccans.
And from here on, Jedi affiliation can no longer be presumed a kind of practical joke on census takers. Jedi Master Peter Lee, interviewed on Lifeline’s June 29 broadcast, said he’s working toward official recognition as a religion —
PETER LEE, JEDI MASTER: It’s less of a stigma now. Right back in 2001 there was that stigma – that it was a joke religion and that it was just a prank played on the census but I’m finding that I declare myself as Jedi everywhere I go and I’m finding less and less heckling or giggling.
STEVE CANNANE: Peter Lee has already applied to the Tax Office to have Jediism recognised as a religion.
PETER LEE: It is a serious religion; it’s a very serious religion. More than half the population in the world believe in a life force energy. We believe in The Force as our life force energy.
[Thanks to Andrew Porter for the story.]