"This is my simple religion. There is no need for temples; no needs for complicated philosophy. Our own brain and temple; The philosophy is Kindness ”(Dalai Lama, a Buddist monk). 

Adhering to religion is a human right inherent in every individual, which cannot be limited or reduced. Everyone has the right to freedom of religion or belief without coercion. 

The Indonesian government has guaranteed the freedom of each population to embrace their religion or belief; as stated in Article 28E paragraph (1) of the 1945 Constitution (UUD1954), "Everyone is free to embrace religion and worship according to their religion, choose education and teaching, choose work. , choose citizenship, choose a place to live in the territory of the country and leave it, and have the right to return ”. 

The state still regulates freedom in carrying out religion or belief so that the government can respect, protect, enforce, and advance human rights and maintain security, order, health, or general morals. 

So that the Presidential Decree No.1 of 1965 and Law (UU) was created, which Law (UU) Number 5 of 1969 claims that “Indonesian governments only recognize the population of a religious group from  Islam, Christianity, Catholicism, Hinduism, Buddhism, and Confucianism.” 

However, Presidential Decree No.1 of 1965 with Law (UU) Number 5 of 1969; and Article 28E paragraph (1) of the 1945 Constitution creates a contradiction because it only recognizes the six religions.

 Its impact affects many local belief systems or indigenous religions in Indonesia that had existed for centuries, even before those six religions were recognized. 

Indigenous beliefs and religions become problematics in Indonesia because they oppose Pancasila's first principle and are considered not modern; thus, their number of followers is decreasing.

Indigenous belief groups are considered to oppose Pancasila’s first principle because the concepts of dynamism and animism oppose an almighty divinity. Dynamics is an ancient and widespread form of religion. 

Various cultures were convinced that there were powers that occurred in natural objects in the world. In contrast, Animism is a belief in ancestral spirits and natural spirits that must be respected. 

Thus, seen from monotheistic or the belief that God is one or single and has full power over all things, local religions’ adherents will be considered heretical, dangerous, and even terrorists. 

Those stereotypes, prejudice, and racism hurt people from indigenous groups. Moreover, according to the 2010 Population Census data (SP2010), “the number of believers in Indonesia is 299,617 people [ consist of ~187 different groups] or about 0.13 percent of the total population". 

Though the number sounds little, they are real people; their life and safety-needs are also equally important like six other religions.

Moreover, Indigenous belief groups are considered not modern because most of them reject adjustments in social and spiritual systems. 

Even though these local religious and belief groups only want to maintain their noble values and philosophy of life, many Indonesians perceive them as old-fashioned, uneducated, and outdated. 

For instance, According to Prabowo, "the plan to build the Sesepuh Paseban, which will be used as a cemetery for the Sundanese Wiwitan indigenous people, has been stopped because they do not have an IMB. Even though they had submitted their submission, they were still rejected by the pretext of the environmental conduciveness of the Paseban building complex residents. Satpol PP was finally sealed"(Makam orang Sunda Wiwitan disegel).

The bias created also creates a more tenuous boundary for both parties because there are racist attitudes from most Indonesian society groups and the rejection of Indigenous beliefs groups because they feel insulted and alienated.

Furthermore, due to government regulations, many indigenous religions and local beliefs are forced to marginalize, causing a decrease in the number of local religious and belief groups.

Pressure from society and various government regulations discriminate against religious minorities, from applying for national identity cards, birth and marriage certificates, and other access to government services, which is exacerbated by stereotypes, prejudice, and racist attitudes that threaten the safety of each individual's indigenous religions and local beliefs causes them to be in an incognito condition. 

Thus, it creates an identity crisis in each individual of indigenous religions and local beliefs. For example, "because Dewi Kanti has a Sundanese Wiwitan belief, she cannot include her husband's name on the birth certificate of their child due to differences in religion" (HRW). Without a complete birth certificate, the child will be considered an "illegitimate child" according to laws, resulting in social stigma.

Indonesian is bound by the four pillars of national and state life, namely, the Unitary State of the Republic of Indonesia, the state philosophy of Pancasila, the 1945 Constitution, and the motto of Unity in Diversity, which has long been known as a religious nation. 

Indonesian society’s religiosity aspect is heterogeneous, not homogeneous, referred to as plural religiosity. Indonesia is not a secular state that separates state and religion; however, Indonesia is also not a religious state based on a particular religion. Limiting the opportunity of others to practice their faith is a violation of human rights. 

Therefore it is necessary to re-approach the regulations related to religion recognized in Indonesia so that local religions and beliefs still can be in Indonesia because local religions and beliefs are state assets that need to be protected.


Atas Nama Agama. Human Rights Watch. (2017, May 18). https://www.hrw.org/id/report/2013/02/28/256410.

Badan Pusat Statistik Indonesia. (2010). Penduduk Menurut WIlayah dan Agama yang dianut. bps.go.id. https://sp2010.bps.go.id/index.php/site/tabel?tid=321.

Prabowo, H., & Apinino, R. (2020, July 29). Makam Sunda Wiwitan Disegel: "Dikeroyok Negara dan Kaum Intoleran". https://tirto.id/makam-sunda-wiwitan-disegel-dikeroyok-negara-dan-kaum-intoleran-fTXc.