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Calling all Jedis, census night awaits 05 MARCH 2001

May the farce be with you . . . Tomorrow is census night and a light-hearted e-mail is circulating the country encouraging Star Wars buffs who don’t hold strong religious beliefs to consider putting an alternative on their forms.

Question 18 asks Kiwis what their religion is and the e-mail, believed to have been sent to thousands of people, is encouraging them to tick the “other” box and fill in their religion as “Jedi”.

In the Star Wars movies, Jedi – who believed in a living energy called the “Force” – were described as guardians of peace and justice throughout the galaxy for thousands of years. But in the films characters couldn’t just say they were a Jedi – you had to earn the right to be labelled a Jedi knight.

Some critics have described the Jedi philosophies as being similar to zen buddhism.

The e-mail said the point of the exercise was two-fold: it was an experiment in the power of e-mail and, if 8000 people throughout the country filled in their form this way, then Jedi would become an officially recognised religion of New Zealand.

However, this could land potential Jedi in hot water as those who record false information, don’t fill out census forms, or destroy them, can be prosecuted.