Scotland is considering a new law that would grant official recognition to wedding ceremonies performed by practitioners of the new “Jedi” religion:
The Force is strong with the Jedi in Scotland. A bill under consideration in Scotland would grant those who have literally made “Star Wars” a religion the power to perform marriage ceremonies.
The BBC reports that the Marriage and Civil Partnership Bill would apply to other nonreligious groups such as the Flat Earth Society and the Jedi Knights Society, aka Temple of the Jedi Order.
And while it may sound like a joke to most, the Jedi religion is quite popular in some parts of Europe. In England, it is the second-most popular “alternative religion,” with more than 175,000 people listing themselves as Jedi in the 2012 nationwide census.
“Our current consultation covers not only the introduction of same-sex marriage but also the detail of important protections in relation to religious bodies and celebrants, freedom of speech and education,” a Scottish government spokeswoman said.
“At the moment, marriage ceremonies by bodies such as humanists have been classed as religious, even though the beliefs of such organizations are nonreligious….”
The Scottish government plans to hold a public consultation on the bill and, of course, not all traditionally religious groups are happy about creating a new category for ceremonies that are by their very nature, arguably, a religious practice.
“There are loads of people in a diverse society like this for whom belief can mean virtually anything—the Flat Earth Society and Jedi Knights Society—who knows?” the Rev. Iver Martin told the BBC.
“I am not saying that we don’t give place to that kind of personal belief, but when you start making allowances for marriages to be performed within those categories, then you are all over the place.”
For their part, the Jedi say the very nature of their beliefs would prevent them from tarnishing any other religious institutions.
“We believe in Peace, Justice, Love, Learning and using our abilities for Good so it’s unlikely that our way conflicts with your beliefs and traditions,” reads a statement on the group’s website.
The Jedi faith may now be the fourth largest religion in Britain, though there is some question as to whether it’s really a religion, as opposed to a secular philosophy.
Despite the objections of the Reverend Iver Martin, I don’t see the problem with letting them perform officially sanctioned weddings. Most liberal democracies already allow wedding ceremonies performed by every conceivable religious group, as well as purely secular ones. Western civilization can easily survive having a few ceremonies performed by Jedi Knights, especially if The Force is truly with them.
Still, the fact that the possible legalization of Jedi weddings in Scotland is an outgrowth of a bill intended to legalize gay marriage might reinforce claims that gay marriage leads to a dangerous slippery slope. If we allow gay marriage, we will end up legalizing Jedi weddings, and weddings performed by Sith Lords wielding the power of the Dark Side can’t be far behind. To paraphrase Darth Vader, “[t]he ability to destroy a planet is insignificant next to the power of the Force to perform weddings”!