You all must’ve heard about Terry Jones by now, right? If not maybe you need to turn on the news once in awhile.
Myself, I am a Christian, a born again Christian who is still in the work of progress by His grace but my skin crawls when I heard about this Pastor radical threats to burn the Quran.
Simple…because of the aftermath will only affects us Christians who happens to be minorities in other countries, such as Indonesia. Just so you know, it is hard enough being minority in a country with the highest Muslim population in the world. So when hard-liners like Terry Jones started something so controversial like that, he is throwing us other Christians under the bus. Literally!
On September 12, 2010, two pastors from a local church here are being attacked by unknown people, then a day (or two later) the local Chief of Police bluntly said that the attacks have no religious indications. Mighty quick huh? Well, later they found out those attackers are members of the famous FPI (Islamic Front Defender). The attack leaves one pastor in critical condition. We shall see if this case will ever fully be solved or just be shoved under the rugs like so many other cases.
This is not the first time that said church has been under attack. In early August, mobs of FPI people threw rocks, beaten the church’s congregations on that bloody Sunday.
Apparently, some group has been in ‘battle’ for months trying to kick the church out of the area. When pushed comes to shoved, two innocent pastors fell victim of stabbing and angered so many Indonesians and raised the question “Whatever happen to freedom of religion in this country?”.
Yes, politically, it is well documented on Indonesian laws that every citizen is protected to practice their religions such as mentioned on the UUD (Indonesian Constitution) article 29 already guarantee such matter:
Negara menjamin kemerdekaan tiap-tiap penduduk untuk memeluk agamanya masingmasing dan untuk beribadat menurut agamanya dan kepercayaannya itu.
(The State guarantees all persons the freedom of worship, each according to his/her own religion or belief)
Now, are these just empty words that holds no meaning whatsoever in today’s life in Indonesia?
How can one really believe in that Constitution anymore when in reality, there are only 6 acknowledged religions here: Islam, Christian, Catholic, Buddhism, Hinduism, and Kong Hu Chu. If your religion fell outside of these six then too bad, you’re pretty much screwed, my friend!
It wasn’t until the tragic attacks of those two pastors that I learned that just to build a church here one must obtain the ‘a-okay’ from the local communities surrounding where the church will be build. I’m fully aware that the government approval (building permits, etc) to build one is hard enough that many churches in Indonesia are forced to have their services within malls, hotels, or other buildings but this community approval sounds so absurd I cannot believe it at first but that’s the reality of it.
This makes me wonder, when people build Mosques here, do they ever ask the community approval first? No! There are literally millions of Mosques in this town alone.
Being a minority in this country, I’m very much well aware of all the injustices people of my faith have to endure and this has been going on for years and I am so glad to see more and more people are speaking up these days, like what Miss Desi Anwar so brilliantly written for a newspaper here.
So two days ago when I saw a news article about our beloved Vice President speech at the ASEAN Summit in New York City, where he calls on the world to stop Islam phobia, my jaws fell.
I mean really? Seriously?
What about Christian phobia that so many hardcore Muslim people in Indonesia are projecting? What about these unsolved cases of injustice involving Christians or other minorities, Mr. Vice President? Does that even matter at all? Everyone got so hyped up about Terry Jones’ plans – which by the way I despise because it goes against my belief of what the Lord preach – that even our president had to voice his objections while Christians in his own country are being stoned and beaten.
Why don’t you ban the FPI and other hardcore groups that clearly have been breaking the laws for years by taking them into their own holy hands?! Why is our Indonesian government so afraid to disband this one group of thugs? Who thinks that all Christians are evil and all pastors or priests are just out to shove our belief in someone else’ throats?
Although I still dream of a better future for this nation, it deeply saddens me to see our faith as minorities.
If only there are more people like Irshad Manji in this world, especially in Indonesia then maybe religious tolerance would be on a higher scale here.
For us Christians, let me leave you with this powerful sermon: