Local beliefs in Indonesia have gone through a long journey in order to gain legal recognition from the government, or at least not to prohibit their religious activities. A long history dates back to 1952 when regulations that only favored majority religions were enforced. At that time, the legal definition of religion had to meet several "minimum" requirements such as the existence of a holy book, prophets, and international recognition.
The rule enacted does not take sides with local beliefs. When rules were made with references to other religions that are clearly different, it will never fit the conditions of local beliefs. The existence of local beliefs is legally under pressure due to this regulation. As a result, the local belief followers are not allowed to fill the religion column on the national identity card with their religious identity.
The darkest history for Indonesian local beliefs was during the bloody event of the G 30 S. As a consequence of not being able to meet the minimum requirements as a legal religion, they will be classified as communists. The Indonesian people certainly knew what would happen if they were labeled communist at that time.
Local belief followers have no choice. To be not labeled as communists, they were forced to group themselves to a somewhat appropriate official religion. The religion column is showing an identity that is not themselves at all. This incident brought such violence to the right of religious freedom, article 29, which was echoed in the 1945 constitution.
The 2017 Indonesian Constitutional Court policy gave hopes for the local belief of Indonesia. As quoted from merdeka.com, after seven years of struggle, finally they were able to put their religious identity in the religion column with the term "Penghayat".
Then a question arose. Does it automatically make local beliefs accepted in Indonesian society after being given legal space? Has the "seventh religion things" really guaranteed the rights of religious freedom of adherents of local beliefs?
The truth is not that simple. Many people from majority religious groups still have a cynical and skeptical view of the existence and religious practices of local beliefs. In fact, if traced back, local religion is one of the heritages of Indonesian culture. They existed long before "imported doctrine and beliefs" came to Indonesia.
A recent case of local belief discrimination just happens around July 2020, which is the sealing of the Sunda Wiwitan cemetery in Kuningan, West Java. The discrimination does not only come from non-Sunda Wiwitan, but also from the government. The reason is extremely classic, building administration matters and the fear of the emergence of an idolatrous belief that is contrary to certain beliefs.
The ego and arrogance of some fanatic religious groups are the biggest impediments to building a tolerant environment. The fear of being competed with or influenced by local religious beliefs still haunts fanatics. It is a thoughtless concern because there is no way local belief will spread their influence. This is too much because local beliefs are exclusive.
The view that local beliefs conflict with the norms of a particular religion is also premature. Amid a heterogeneous society, differences are inevitable. It is so childish to use differences as a weapon to persecute adherents of local beliefs. Furthermore, the practice of local beliefs does not harm others.
Perhaps there is an ulterior motive from certain parties who do not want local beliefs to exist. Incitement and hate speech that involved religious things are usually the most provocative. Who knows, maybe some parties want to take advantage of this situation to achieve their own interest.
From the government perspective, has government take discrimination of local beliefs seriously? Can the government protect the rights of local belief followers? There needs to be more serious effort and commitment to realizing true justice. Regulations need to be strict and clear regarding the regulation and protection of local beliefs existence so that they can practice their religion peacefully.
During the process of making regulations, the government is not allowed to make rules unilaterally. Dialogue and discussion with figures from local beliefs are a key to success. It because local beliefs voice is heard, and a partial regulation can be avoided
In addition, justice in terms of the privileged seems necessary to make the existence of local beliefs not underestimate. The government may consider national holidays or certain days as a commemoration of the recognition of local beliefs in Indonesia.
National television channels must also promote the presence of local belief as part of Indonesian diversity. Familiarization with local beliefs can certainly open the eyes of Indonesian people to differences. So that in the end, local beliefs are no longer something peculiar in the midst of Indonesian social life.
Local belief organizations should also take part in this. They need to show their existence through peaceful endeavors. Many media can be used, ranging from print media to social media such as YouTube channels to introduce their beliefs, in order to prevent false information from circulating.
Justice can be achieved if the meaning of justice is truly understood by all parties. Then the implementation should also be carefully supervised and reviewed. Socialization and appropriate information about local beliefs will slowly make skeptical views of local beliefs fade.