Indonesia is a country with people that have different background, race, cultures, religions, beliefs, etc. However, it still manages to discriminate against people that are not part of the official six major religions, which are Christianity, Islam, Catholicism, Buddhism, Hinduism, and Confucianism.

With the vast number of religions in Indonesia, it can seem discriminative against these small local religions. Religions like Kejawen, which is the Javanese’s religion, and Kaharingan, which is the Dayak’s religion, are not accepted by Indonesia’s Constitutional Court.

Even though, these smaller religions are a minority in Indonesia’s pool of religions, that does not mean that it is necessary to not recognize and accept these religions to be a part of the official religions in Indonesia.

People believing in these indigenous religions might feel discriminated and judged by others that are part of the official religions. This may put pressure on these people and eventually might force people stay quiet about their religion or even force them out of the religion. Understandably, this is no lifestyle that anyone desire and yearn for.

Based on an article on Vice by Renaldi, there is an individual named Pungkas Singaraksa that believes in one of the indigenous religions, which is Kejawen. It is a religion that intertwine with Javanese culture and has influences from Buddhism, Hinduism, Islam, and other Javanese beliefs.

For his entire lifetime, he had to unfortunately deal with people who constantly tell him that his beliefs were wrong. His family and neighbors lectured him and tried to make him convert to Islam perhaps as it is the dominant religion in Java. By standing by his beliefs and refusing to convert, Pungkas has suffered a lifetime of discrimination.

"I can't pray with my community because we've gotten so much pressure from the neighborhood," Pungkas told VICE. "Now I just pray alone, in secret, at my house. There's a holy site in Yogyakarta that's supposed to be our place to pray, but we don't dare go there. People from mainstream religions still think our prayers are deviant and weird. They always shake their heads when they see us."

People like Pungkas sadly had to fill their Religion in their National ID Card to one of the Big Six, mostly choosing Islam as their “religion”. They have no choice and had to lie in their ID card. They are not only lying to others, but they are also lying to themselves.

This is how unfortunately the hundreds of thousand of followers of the indigenous religions are treated. People around them mistreat them. The very Constitution does not recognize and accept these religions to be official.

This way of filling in their Religion as one of the recognized religions has been going on for decades. With the Kejawen became Muslims and the Dayaks are Hindus, according to their ID card.

As a result, people of the local beliefs often had difficulties with receiving government documents, such as marriages and birth certificates. This also makes it difficult for them to get the necessities, such as accessing health care, education, etc.

This may encourage a decline in these local beliefs. They are basically mistreated their whole lives which encourages them to abandon and let go of their beliefs for the accepted religions.

If the Constitution does not act towards this mistreatment and discrimination towards the followers of the indigenous religion, numbers of these followers will continually decline until perhaps one day, there are no more people that believes in these local religions. Perhaps, it will result in the death of a religion or even religions, and these religions would be only a thing in the past.

Personally, local religions are still religions, thus they do not deserve the years of discrimination that they have experience. Because they a tiny part of Indonesia’s religion, they must be preserved and respected. Not only people in Indonesia, but everyone in the world should not ever judge a person based on their religion or frankly other things like their race, culture, gender etc.

Most importantly, people must develop a tolerance and an acceptance towards people in the minority so that they could feel accepted even though they are part of a small group. By doing this, all people can have equal rights and respect towards each other which can lead to a more peaceful country and a peaceful world.

References:

Renaldi, Ali “Indonesia Has Hundreds of Indigenous Religions. So Why are They Only Being Recognized Now?” VICE, https://www.vice.com/en/article/3kv7py/indonesia-has-hundreds-of-indigenous-religions-so-why-are-they-only-being-recognized-now. Accessed 6 November 2020