Jedi Knights demand Britain's fourth largest 'religion' receives recognition
Daily Mail, UK
With their vast intergalactic knowledge and ability to harness the Force, the task of convincing UN officials to recognise their cause should be a walkover for a pair of Jedi Knights.
But self-proclaimed Jedis Umada and Yunyun, better known as John Wilkinson and Charlotte Law, have adopted a more conventional approach in their pursuit of recognition – delivering a protest letter.
The unconventional pair are calling for the UN to acknowlegde what has become Britain's fourth largest "religion" with 390,000 followers.
The UN International Day of Tolerance, which takes place annually on November 16, is aimed at emphasising the dangers of intolerance and promoting integration and cohesion across the globe.
Umada, 27, and Yunyun, 24, both from London, want the day to be renamed the "Interstellar Day of Tolerance" to reflect millions of people across the globe who have chosen to follow the Jedi code as a religion and truly reflect social diversity.
For the protest in Whitehall, the couple will wear full Jedi Knight robes and will be accompanied by a host of supporters including Star Wars favourite Chewbacca with a placard reading "Tolerance for Jedis".
Umada and Yunyun said: "For the last ten years the United Nations has marked the International Day of Tolerance. While we support this important work, we feel the UN needs to move with the times.
"Like the UN, the Jedi Knights are peacekeepers and we feel we have the basic right to express our religion through wearing our robes, and to be recognised by the national and international community.
"We therefore are calling upon the United Nations Association to change November 16 to the UN Interstellar Day of Tolerance, to reflect the religious make-up of our twenty-first century civilisation.
"Tolerance is about respecting difference where ever it lies, including other galaxies. Please don't exclude us from your important work. May the Force be with you."
In the 2001 UK Census 390,000 people listed their religion as Jedi Knight making it the fourth biggest belief in the country.
There are also an estimated 70,000 Jedi knights in Australia, 53,000 in New Zealand and 20,000 in Canada.
The United Nations Association of Great Britain and Northern Ireland is the UK's leading independent authority on the UN and a UK-wide grassroots membership organisation.
Although the association is independent of the United Nations, Yunyun and Umada hope the organisation will take on the case with the global peace-keeping body.
There is a particularly insightful comment from Mail readers:
The obvious solution to this is for the government not to recognize ANY religion since it isn't the government's business. If they deign to recognize this religion and that religion but not THAT religion they're intolerant at best and tyrannical at worst. Solve the problem, break the shackles of government control on religions and, consequently, religion's control over government.
- Mr. Hargett, Indianpolis, US