Effect Measure

[For our many new visitors, the Freethinker Sermonette is a regular Sunday feature here.]

With swine flu and everything, some people might think of turning to a Higher Power for protection. Head to the UK. Because The Force is with them. In fact, it’s even on the Force. The police force:

Eight police officers serving with Scotland’s largest force listed their official religion as Jedi in voluntary diversity forms, it has emerged.

Strathclyde Police said the officers and two of its civilian staff claimed to follow the faith, which features in the Star Wars movies.

The details were obtained in a Freedom of Information request by Jane’s Police Review.

Strathclyde was the only force in the UK to admit it had Jedi officers. (BBC)

The information turned up in response to a survey that monitors “diversity” along dimensions of age, disability, gender, race religion and belief, and sexual orientation. But the eight officers and two staff in the Glasgow force Force aren’t alone. Jedism is big in the UK:

About 390,000 people listed their religion as Jedi in the 2001 Census for England and Wales. In Scotland the figure was a reported 14,000.

The Office for National Statistics did not recognise it as a separate category, and incorporated followers of Jedi with atheists.

Last year, brothers Barney and Daniel Jones founded the UK Church of the Jedi – which offered sermons on the Force, light sabre training, and meditation techniques.

So we atheists have Jedi amongst us. The Farce is with us indeed.


  1. #1 mistah charley, ph.d.
    April 26, 2009

    Obviously the “atheists and Jedi” category would be more accurately labeled “other.” As the Calypso Zen prophet Bokonon put it (in Kurt Vonnegut’s “Cat’s Cradle”) –

    Tiger got to hunt
    Bird got to fly
    Man got to ask himself
    Why? Why? Why?

    Tiger got to sleep
    Bird got to land
    Man got to tell himself
    He understand

    [Please excuse the androcentric language – Kurt (upon whom be peace) wrote this decades ago]

    May the Creative Forces of the Universe stand beside us, and guide us, through the Night with the Light from Above – metaphorically speaking – and have mercy on our souls, if any.

  2. #2 K
    April 26, 2009

    Not surprising. The reason the first Star Wars did so well despite critics is the age old religious/fairy tale theme. Which is why the critics panned it and the audience loved it.

    Now if we could just admit that we are all going to die no matter what we do, perhaps we could think straight.

  3. #3 Phillip IV
    April 26, 2009

    Last I heard of the Jedi religion, they were threatened by schism, with the argument being about the true nature of the Force: the Orthodox Jedi claim it is an energy field created by all living things, surrounding us, penetrating us and binding the galaxy together. The Reform Jedi claim it’s some sort of bacterial infection.

  4. #4 Jerry Hood
    April 26, 2009

    Why does the government tell families to stock only two weeks of supplies for the pandemic considering: A flu pandemic occurs in waves. Each wave is 6-8 weeks long, i.e. two months.

    The best defense for a family in a pandemic is social distancing, i.e. stay home. Think “snow days” in a blizzard. In order to stay home, they must have supplies. Many people for many reasons will be unable to stay home in the pandemic, but if they do not have the necessary supplies, then they will obviously be forced to leave home to stock up. Moms will quickly learn that the wave is a 2-month disaster and grocery shelves will be stripped clean. If a pandemic wave is two months, then they should have at least three months of supplies to weather the first wave and give the stores some time to restock.

    The current HHS website advises families to stock two weeks of supplies. This will compound the disaster. Imagine those who follow the best advice of the federal government, stock two weeks of supplies, and then must leave home at the end of the second week in the middle of the first wave of disease to try to restock. Grocery stores will be a hotbed of transmission. This is a prescription for death. Millions are home-schooling their kids and millions are working from home, so national public health leaders should give everyone the best advice possible to be prepared.

    Plan for the worst, prepare your best defense.

    Why does the government tell families to stock only two weeks of supplies?

  5. #5 James I
    April 26, 2009

    Phillip IV
    Your “bacterial infection” comment had me rolling on the floor. Thanks.

  6. #6 Name
    April 26, 2009

    LOL – It’s been a while, but your “Sunday Sermonette” just reminded me why I used to enjoy your blog so much – it wasn’t just the great science insights on pandemic flu.

    Nice to know your smart, sane voice is still there with things heating up again.

  7. #7 Dave
    April 27, 2009

    Yeah I put myself down on the census as a Jedi Knight back in 2001. I did it to take the p… out of the data logging that the government does on “our behalf”. I think it was the first year they’d asked for a religion on the form?

    At least they got a form filled in that time, back in 1991 we were all still avoiding the poll tax register.

    I think they were right to lump us in with the atheists as the only (sane), official, sword wearing Jedi I’ve ever seen is aged under 8.

  8. #8 Dylan
    April 27, 2009

    God must be on a cosmic, lunatic drinking binge; he’s busy killing all those penitent, innocent Catholics in Mexico City, while at the same time San Francisco is crawling with homosexuals. Somebody give that idiot a fucking map!

  9. #9 Kal
    April 27, 2009

    One of the 14,000 scottish Jedi here. Same reason as the poster above- did it to mess with the census over the religious question.

    I did hear though that some did it because they believed that the government would recognise it as a “real” religion if the numbers were high enough.

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