Jediism: Religion at Law?

Tommy CHEUNG

Research output: Contribution to journalArticles

Abstract

This article explores whether Jediism, one of the ‘fiction-based religions’ in contemporary times, meets the requirements of religion under the English charity law. This article argues that the reasons gave by the Charity Commission of the UK in rejecting the application of the Jediist religious group the Temple of The Jedi Order (TOTJO) as a Charitable Incorporation Organization in 2016 was not made under solid legal grounds but on a moral judgment that Jediism, in their opinion, is not serious. This article argues that the principles adopted by the Charity Commission is wrong and they could reach the same conclusion by using a correct legal approach.

Through a detailed study on the origin and the current situation of Jediism as a ‘fiction-based religious group’ and TOTJO, this article suggests that for Jediism to be considered as a bona fide religion, it needs to complete its belief system and bring back the concept of Dark Side from Star Wars. It was absent because of the Jediists’ deliberate effort to distance themselves from the Star Wars fandom. Finally, through looking at the history and evolvement of the English charity law, argues that there is room for the current English charity law to give a more liberal interpretation to allow a better balance between regulation of charity and the freedom of religion. It is necessary because of the public benefit brought by any bona fide religion. Copyright © 2019 The Author(s). Published by Oxford University Press. All rights reserved.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)350-377
JournalOxford Journal of Law and Religion
Volume8
Issue number2
Early online dateMay 2019
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2019

Citation

Cheung, T. (2019). Jediism: Religion at Law? Oxford Journal of Law and Religion, 8(2), 350-377. doi: 10.1093/ojlr/rwz010

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