Have you ever feel what it seems like to have confidence in a religion that is unacknowledged by the nation? What does it feel to have a religion that you don't have confidence in it yet it is recorded on your ID card? Have you ever feel discriminated because you're different? It feels somewhat unusual, right?
6 religions are recognized by the Indonesian Government, which are Hinduism, Buddhism, Catholicism, Christianity, Islam, and Confucianism. The Indonesian constitution does not admit other religions that are unlisted above.
However, there are people out there who still believe in these unacknowledged religions such as traditional religions and local beliefs. To be able to believe their faith, they need to adapt to the situation and condition of our country. However, discrimination is inevitable in our society.
Several 'traditional' religions and beliefs still exist to this day such as Sunda Wiwitan, Kejawen, Djawa Sunda, Kaharingan, Parmalim, Naurus, and Marapu. They predate the acknowledged religion in Indonesia.
These traditional religions accept that there is something far noteworthy than humankind. 'The great beings' have a mystical power that humans can't comprehend. They conduct rituals as media to get in touch with them. Some others have faith in things between humankind and the great beings. Known as 'spirits'.
One of the examples of these beliefs is Kejawen. It is considered An ancient belief that began in Java island, Indonesia. It predates approximately 100 before Islam arrives in Indonesia.
It is based on the Javanese philosophy of life. Because of the influence of other religions and beliefs, modern-day Kejawen resembles more like a way of life as opposed to a religion. Buddhism, Hinduism, Islam, and animism beliefs merge into one, creating the modern way of life of Kejawen.
The main teaching of Kejawen is to push its adherents to comply with the Great Beings as in "Sangkan Paraning Dumadhi" which means "anything that came from the Great Beings will return to the Great Beings" (Indonesia.go.id). This also implies that Kejawen recognizes just a single God.
Kejawen brought to lots of traditions and culture for the Javanese such as Sepasaran (known as Aqiqah in Islam), Mantenan (marriage ceremony), and Mangkat (commemorating the 7th, 40th, 100th and 1000th day of someone that has passed away by praying for their afterlife).
This is a tradition and culture that is difficult to separate from Javanese people. It already ingrained inside their mind. While many have already converted to another religion or beliefs, most of them still recite this tradition as a way to respect society and their ancestors.
Moving on, without acknowledgment from the government, traditional religious believers are an easy target for persecution and discrimination. Not being recognized as an official religion make them being seen as a deviant or heretic group.
Because of this, they can't pray together with their established community. The only way to be safe is either by praying alone secretly or converting to the predominant religion.
However, this is against basic humans rights. This act and stance are plain ignoring and violating the basic human rights of religious freedom and beliefs. This act happens either because people don't have tolerance for them or an unjustified distinction that indirectly made by our society.
In July 2020, persecution happened to Adat Karuhun Sunda Wiwitan. It happened in Kuningan, Jawa Barat. A group of civil service police sealed the tomb of the ancestor of Adat Karuhun Sunda Wiwitan.
It is speculated that the civil service police sealed the tomb because of pressure from another religious mass organization. The reason for the seal is because the tomb doesn't have a building permit (Deutsche Welle).
It is already an open secret in Indonesia where a building permit is used as an excuse to suppress the minority when they are building a religious building. The government should be protecting the minorities, not to destroy them.
For decades-long traditional religious followers live with a fake identity. Most of them list their religion in their ID card as the other 6 acknowledged religions by the government. They can't list their religious identity on their ID cards.
This makes traditional religious followers have many difficulties. For instance, to be served by the KUA (religious affairs) for marriage, they need to list their religion as another acknowledged religion. Naturally, they will do this to avoid problems in the future.
However, on 7 November 2017, the Constitutional Court's decision No. 97/PUU-XIV/2016 stated that every citizen can include or exclude their beliefs in the ID card. This gives flexibility for them to access and get their citizenship rights.
With this, the government indirectly recognizes them - the unacknowledged religions - in society and it opens new access for them to get public service that is not possible before the decision of the Constitutional Court legitimized.
Indonesia.go.id, Redaksi. “Kejawen, Pedoman Berkehidupan Bagi Masyarakat Jawa.” Indonesia.Go.Id, https://www.indonesia.go.id/ragam/budaya/kebudayaan/kejawen-pedoman-berkehidupan-bagi-masyarakat-jawa. Accessed 2 Dec. 2020.
Welle (www.dw.com), Deutsche. “Nusantara Institute: Penghayat Sunda Wiwitan ‘Dikeroyok’ Negara dan Ormas | DW | 22.07.2020.” DW.COM, https://www.dw.com/id/penyegelan-makam-sunda-wiwitan-overdosis-agama/a-54261064. Accessed 2 Dec. 2020.