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March 17, 2014 | by  | in Opinion | [ssba]

Conspiracy Corner

Every census, a prevalence of citizens identify as Jedi under ‘religion’. The movement, dubbed “the Jedi census phenomenon”, is common throughout the Commonwealth and parts of the EU, to a point that Britain has more Jedi than Scientologists. New Zealand gives Jedi its own religion code, albeit acknowledged as a “question understood but not adequately answered” response, similar to identifying with the Church of Elvis or that holiest of Kiwi trinities: “Rugby, Racing and Beer”.

If counted as a recognised religious group, Jedi would account for 1.5 per cent of New Zealand’s religious population. The government plays along out of fun, but I believe there are real Jedi among us. We theorists are constantly pointing our fingers at a ‘Them’, be they a shadowy organisation, an ancient order of psychics, or aliens from outer space. The Jedi just so happen to be all three.

‘Jediism’ has a long and complicated history, being a chimera of other religions. The closest deity is an esoteric fount of universal energy called The Force, with a Light and Dark side like the Taoist yin–yang. The films depict followers of the Jedi Order following a monastic lifestyle and espousing compassion and enlightenment, a practice ubiquitous to Buddhism. The Force grants the Jedi fantastic powers such as memory manipulation or the ability to move objects with one’s mind, but whether training or innate ability enhances these powers is unclear. The notion of being a Jedi by birth is still a hot topic within the Order; let’s just say ‘midi-chlorian’ is something of a heated term.

New Zealand is already ahead of the curve in welcoming our Jedi brethren, with shows of acceptance such as allowing Jedi to walk in the Christmas Parade alongside Santa Claus. Whether the growing influence of the Jedi faith is due to immigration or conversion remains a mystery, but the relationship between the Order and its country of origin, the USA, has been strained of late. Last year, a petition to build a Death Star was shot down by Congress, winning the praise of the Order. Months later, President Obama made a gaffe saying he could perform a “Jedi mind meld”, an accidental hybrid of ‘Jedi mind trick’ and Star Trek‘s ‘Vulcan mind meld’. Confusing the two is considered a sin tantamount to believing Greedo shot first. Persecution in the UK has occurred in isolated incidents, Jedi being asked to remove their hoods inside local shops and thus go against their dress customs. Perhaps these acts have prompted a move to more tolerant shores.

If you know anyone of the Jedi persuasion, remember these salient facts: please do not ask them to remove their hood or display their powers in public, and remember to acknowledge their sacred holiday on 4 May. Incognito out.


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