When asked to check off their religious affiliation on the 2001 census forms, many Britons are putting down "Jedi Knight," government officials said Wednesday. So many have listed the fictional faith as their own that the government has been forced to give "Jedi Knight" its own category when compiling the census results, officials said. "When the forms are processed, all data is encoded and we have given Jedi Knight a code because a large group of people have entered it on their forms," said a spokesman for the Office for National Statistics. "We are not saying that this is an official religion."
Press Association, the British news agency, said an email campaign had encouraged Britons to put "Jedi Knight" on their forms when asked about their religious affiliation. The campaign, whose origins are not known, sought to convince up to 10,000 people.
Government officials said it is still not clear how many people did list the faith because the census results are still being counted and will not be published until next fall. But the numbers were large enough to cause some disruption. "It is a really useless piece of information," the government official said, speaking with customary anonymity. "It is total nonsense. We tried to tell people this when they were filling out the census forms."
Officials said data on the number of Jedi Knights will not be included along with information about more mainstream religions in the final census results, but if someone wanted to commission the office to compile the results, they would consider it.
Jedi is a force created by all living things, according to George Lucas' "Star Wars" films.