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Australians urged not to register as 'Jedi' in census

By Daniel Uria

SYDNEY, Aug. 2 (UPI) -- Atheists in Australia have been urged not to register "Jedi" as their religion to prevent results from a national census from being skewed to make the country appear more religious.

The Atheist Foundation of Australia shared a Facebook post, featuring cartoons of members of the fictional religion from the Star Wars films, discouraging Australians from marking their religion as "Jedi" or other "joke religions."

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"If old religious men in robes don't represent you...don't mark yourself as 'Jedi,'" the post read.

According to the foundation, registering as "Jedi" or other joke religions makes the country appear more religious, as they are filed as "not defined" rather than "no religion."

AFA President Kylie Sturgess told the Sydney Morning Herald she and her husband were among the 64,390 Australians who registered as a Jedi in the last census in 2011.

Five years later she warned the nearly 15-year-old joke could lead to improper representation for atheists.

"People shouldn't waste their answer," she said. "Answering the religion question thoughtfully and honestly matters because it benefits all Australians when decisions on how to spend taxpayer dollars are made on sound data that accurately reflects modern-day Australia."

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