The fictional world of Star Wars is apparently having a very real impact on Australian politics, according to The Brisbane Times. With a new census on the horizon—there’s a new census every five years—a group called the Atheist Foundation of Australia (AFA) is urging people not to put Jedi as their preferred religion.
“If old religious men in robes do not represent you… Don’t mark yourself as Jedi,” a pamphlet circulating the internet reads.
While it might seem like a joke to some, it could have an impact on how resources are distributed by the Australian government. On the 2011 census, for example, over 60,000 citizens put down “Jedi” as their religion of choice, an increase from the 58,000 who did the same thing on the 2006 census. These numbers skew the census results and could misrepresent the country’s population.
The AFA says people who put Jedi as their religion get counted as “Not Defined” by the government, rather than “No Religion.” Data on religious affiliation is used for public policy, city planning, community support facilities and more, according to the AFA, which means what started as a joke could very well impact the country’s policies.
The whole thing started back in 2001 when people mistakenly thought the Australian government would have to recognize Jedi as an official religion if 8,000 people selected it on the census, The Brisbane Times said. Since then, people continue to mark it down, either as a joke or because, just maybe, they truly believe its values are worth living by.
For reference, here is the code the Jedi live by:
There is no emotion, there is no peace
There is no ignorance, there is knowledge
There is no passion, there is serenity
There is no chaos, there is harmony
There is no death, there is the Force
This year’s census takes place on August 9.