… in Jokowi.
The overtly Muslim political parties have joined the Prabowo-Hatta coalition, as has the FPI (= Effing Perverted Islamists), notorious for its violent raids against bars, churches and anything which their twisted and bigoted minds feel might upset their chances of being greeted by loads of virgins when they shuffle off, or get kicked off, the mortal coil. None of them seem to realise that those virgins waiting for them are aged Catholic nuns who having lived a life of chastity are not often noted for their sense of humour, and certainly wouldn’t have stood for any bullshit while they were sentient beings.
I do have some faith in Jokowi, not least because he has risen from ‘humble’ origins and as Mayor of Surakarta (Solo) and Governor of Jakarta, a big step up, has made a point of listening to folk who would be affected by his policies in the respective City Halls as well as and transforming the bureaucracies within to make them more transparent and responsive to the public. He has given very many of us a sense of optimism, a renewed idealistic hope, that the reformasi movement engendered following the forced abdication of the dictator Suharto may yet have solid roots.
A couple of days ago, it was reported that if elected, Jokowi would remove the designation of religion on the national identity card to prevent discrimination.
According to Musdah Mulia, a member of Jokowi’s campaign team, Jokowi considered the faith status as leading to discrimination, such as making it easier for a hardline group to conduct a religious sweep during a conflict.
“Another example is on job applications. A job seeker might be rejected just because the religion is different with (sic) the boss.”
She said that the faith status should only be recorded for the purpose of collecting data on the population and for civil registry.
Great, we thought.
What a person believes should be private, as long as our views do not impinge on the rights of others to hold contrary beliefs.
However, yesterday, the campaign team denied the plan, basically because in the autonomous sharia law governed province of Aceh, the religious police wouldn’t know who to cane for transgressions, and if someone dies alone with no friend and family with no religion stated on their ID card, no-one would know which religious funeral ritual to conduct.
This of course ignores the fact that uncounted numbers of Indonesians don’t actually have an ID card, and die unknown and/or unidentified. Are they all buried according to Muslim rituals?
Pause here for personal anecdotes.
A good friend, David Jardine, passed away three years ago. He was an atheist, yet the service at the crematorium was, and seemingly had to be, conducted with Christian prayers and hymns. This may have been a comfort to some of us, but if I had believed in an afterlife I would have imagined Dave watching us with a wry smile while mouthing “WTF?”
I’m a Muslim, but only because that’s what’s written on the I.D. card of ‘Er Indoors and we couldn’t have got married in Indonesia if we professed different faiths. It somehow seemed easier for me to go through the meaningless to me rituals conducted in Arabic, a language I don’t speak or read.
Yesterday, Jokowi said he had no plan to drop the religion section from ID cards.
“We have Pancasila as our country’s foundation. Its first article clearly says ‘Ketuhanan Yang Maha Esa’ (The Belief in One God), so having a religion is part of our character and identity,” Jokowi told reporters in Tegal, Central Java.
He said there was no practical reason to drop the religion section from ID cards.
“Why should we remove it if we know that this concerns our national identity?” he said.
“The Bhinneka Tunggal Ika [Unity in Diversity] principle must be upheld.”
I really like that principle and wish more countries had a similar doctrine. Yes, it must be upheld, but the belief in one God has lead to umpteen cases of religious-based violence, including attacks against followers of the Ahmadiyah in Banten and Lombok, and Shiites in Sampang, East Java, the illegal closure of churches, and the demolition of the Jewish synagogue in Surabaya.
Furthermore, the Belief in One God runs counter to Article XI of Indonesia’s Constitution which guarantees religious freedom for all.
So whose ‘God’ should we follow?
I agree that there is only one, but not one officially recognised by the Indonesian government. Before the rise of monotheist (and masculine) religions some two thousand years ago, humanity worshipped many gods which truly governed the elements. Many were feminine goddesses, e.g. Isis, the Earth Goddess of Egypt and Gaia, the Mother Goddess of ancient Greece, creator and giver of birth to the Earth.
Whatever we call her, and I prefer Mother Nature, ‘she’ remains all powerful, and there isn’t anything that man-made religious constructs can do about it.
And that is why Indonesia should disband the Department of Religious Affairs (which allows polygamy, and other forms of corruption), and expand the Department of the Environment. Sadly, there has been no commitment or concern expressed by Jokowi or anyone in his campaign team about the post-reformasi ravaging of Indonesia’s ‘natural resources’ by private domestic and foreign companies.
The only indication of his awareness of its importance has been through the development of a bit more green space in Solo and Jakarta.
Hence my slowly fading faith.
The Timbuk 3 have a universal message.- Prey