There was an attack in Sigi, Central Sulawesi, a few days ago that barely made the news. It is said that an armed group murdered 4 people, decapitated one of the 4, and burned 6 houses and a church ministry post. This heinous act is the latest fear-inducing case of what I’d like to call discrimination against religious minorities. For my rant in this article, I will be focusing on the problems Christians face in this country as we try to live peacefully alongside everybody else. When I say everybody else… you get the picture.
Let’s back it up a bit. Before the news broke out of the incident in Sigi, I remembered seeing on Twitter something in the lines of “Indonesia’s religious tolerance is something the world looks up to”. I don’t remember the exact words, but I know crap when I see one. I do remember my reaction to it. I chuckled a bit and said to myself, “I hope nothing will jinx this.” A few days later, sadly, I was proven wrong. My faith in the government becomes even more shaken. I’ll admit that in regards to religious tolerance, I voted for the current government partially because I was afraid of what might have been if the other man with his backings got to power, even with the failures of the previous five years. I’ll admit that.
I’m not the most devout of Christians. However, when bad things happen to my fellow brothers and sisters in Jesus, my heart still aches for them. I’m sure that you have heard of the case of GKI Yasmin and HKBP Filadelfia, the most famous cases to demonstrate the appalling discrimination Christians face. I won’t bother you with details, go look it up for yourself, but I can tell you that it’s still ongoing after almost 12 years. Ain’t that something. Besides these two churches, there are still plenty of churches out there facing hardships like resistance from the neighborhood or denial of building permits. I’ll also admit that, yes, there are cases where the Christians are the ones being discriminative. I’m not finding much about it, but please let me know of the cases.
Aside from the matters of the building, there are also matters of the service itself. I know churches that hire the police to monitor the areas surrounding the church on a regular Sunday service, including my own. Then there are the cases of extra police monitoring on the big service days such as Easter and Christmas. As we should know, cases of attacks happening on services are not rare, with various weapons used against the congregation or the minister. On every service, Sunday or otherwise, there would be people fortunate enough to not feel too much fear during service. There would also be people who are fortunate enough not to show too much fear during service. There would definitely be people who will show and feel fear during service because maybe they can’t hire the police to guard them. Cases of people being disturbed during service in houses are also not rare. I don’t know about you, but people having service and worship in fear doesn’t really scream religious tolerance for me.
The problems that I feel Christians are facing isn’t limited to matters regarding church life. There’s also the everyday issues like simply being Christian in a workplace, which is something that’s an actual problem people face, I kid you not. There could be issues like people “mocking” the idea of The Trinity, which is quite complicated to explain. There are also issues where individuals or groups or even the churches themselves wanting to help people, but the help is perceived as “Christianization”. These are probably only some of the things I can put out for now, but there could be more problems faced by Christians out there.
With all the problems, who’s to blame? Do I blame the government, whose policies regarding religious minorities have been lax? Do I blame society, for perpetuating discrimination against minorities even in the smallest and softest of forms? Or do I blame the idea of tolerance and peaceful coexistence itself, an idea which a lot of us minorities have put our faith to?
Thank you for reading, trust no one, and see you in the next post.