Friday News Roundup: Attack of the Nones and the Jedis!

NEWSFrom the depths of the sea….a tidal wave of nones and jedis!

Get it? No? Oh well.  (It’s a reference to the 1957 cult film “Attack of the Crab Monsters”).

Anyways, people who don’t identify with a religion, otherwise known as “nones,” and jedis, the followers of the Star Wars inspired religion Jediism, were getting news outlets and the blogosphere all riled up this week.

First, the nones. According to a new study, American Nones: The Profile of the No Religion Population, released by Trinity College, Americans who don’t identify with any religion are now 15% of the USA, but if current trends continue, in 20 years they could make up 25% of the population. This faith-free group already includes nearly 19% of U.S. men and 12% of women. Of these, 35% say they were Catholic at age 12. (USA Today reports).

Although this represents a big shift in the religious composition of the U.S., we’re not poised to adopt the anti-religious posture of much of secularized Europe. American nones tend to be agnostics, rather than atheists.

“American nones are kind of agnostic and deistic, so it’s a very American kind of skepticism,” says Barry Kosmin, director of Trinity’s Institute for the Study of Secularism in Society and Culture. “It’s a kind of religious indifference that’s not hostile to religion the way they are in France. Franklin and Jefferson would have recognized these people” (US News).

Some findings:

  • Not all Nones are alike. Half (51%) still believe in God or a higher power.
  • Nones also are the only major U. S. faith group that’s majority male. Even when girls grow up with unbelieving parents, they’re more likely to find a faith as adults than their brothers.
  • The percentage of atheist Nones — who say there’s no such thing as God — hasn’t budged in years.

Check back in 20 years to see the ramifications of this change in American society.

And now onto the Jedis. Daniel Jones, founder of the International Church of Jeddism, is accusing European retailer Tesco of religious discrimination because staff at a Wales franchise told him he couldn’t wear a hood in the store.

The religion, inspired by the Star Wars, is practiced by 500,000 around the world and requires believers to cover their heads in public places. But Mr. Jones said that staff ejected him from the store over security fears when he refused to remove his hood (Telegraph reports).

So who’s right? You sure can’t tell a Muslim woman to remove her hijab, or Jewish man to remove his yarmulke. Even though Jediism is based on a Hollywood film, who’s to say it’s not a real religion? Tesco doesn’t seem to be taking it too seriously, but Jones may be ready to whip out his light saber.

He threatened, “I’ll advise worshippers to boycott Tesco if it happens again. They will feel the Force.”

But Tesco struck back, claiming that the three best known Jedi Knights in the Star Wars movies – Yoda, Obi-Wan Kenobi and Luke Skywalker – all appeared in public without their hoods. (The Guardian reports, and Newsarama and the Volokh Conspiracy weigh in).

The battle continues!!

For other interesting news of the week, visit our website.