When is a Jedi not a Jedi? When the NZ Department of Internal Affairs says so.
The Department of Internal Affairs has rejected a request by the Jedi Society Incorporated to be recognised as a legitimate charitable endeavour, with all the tax-free benefits that entails.
The Jedi Society was formed partly due as a response to the New Zealand official Census not recognised as an official religion of forms that are required to be filled out in NZ when the Census occurs every four years. This was despite the Church of Scientology managing to get on the list, that being a religion apparently founded on science fiction novels.
The report of the Charities Registration Board considered that Jedi Society could not be recognised as a charity under the act and noted at paragraph 2:
“The Board considers that the Society does not meet the requirements for registration under the Act. The Board is not satisfied that the Society is established and maintained for exclusively charitable purposes. Specifically, the Board considers that the Society does not advance religion or promote a moral or spiritual improvement in a manner consistent with the case law”.
This ruling of course flies in the faces of established Star Wars canon as even the great Han Solo himself recognises that the religion practiced by Old Ben Kenobi was ‘hokey’ but a religion none-the-less.
That said, the Board specifically appears to reject Jedi’s mythological content coming from the Star Wars films as a reason for its credibility as a religion:
Maybe there is a Sith Lord on the board? A hidden Knight of Ren pulling strings in the Wellington beltway? We jest. There’s no way the Wellington beauracracy would let such a thing happen…