Persecuted Protestants – Indonesian Government Told, “Don’t Play With Fire!”

As the Old Year faded away, and the New Year loomed up,  reported a most timely warning to Indonesia’s Government from within its own Ombudsman Commission.


“The government should not play with fire with cases where the public already grasps the scale of what’s right and wrong, of rights and pretensions,” said Ibnu Tricahyo, one of the OC’s members. Ibnu particularly mentioned the example of the Yasmin Church, which government ministers seem intent on spinning out to wear down the Protestant congregation, instead of doing their moral and legal duty and making Bogor’s bigot mayor abide by the Supreme Court ruling in the church’s favour.

 Ibnu also reminded us of the cases of deadly violence against villagers  and demonstrators in Mesuji and Bima respectively. “Not to mention the corruption scandals…the government should not play around…people are aware and want change,” he added.

I certainly hope Ibnu is right when he places his faith in “community legal education getting better, marked by an increasingly critical public, free to express opinions.” But given the long-running saga of indifference to religous liberty recently, I’ll not hold my breath waiting for the likes of Government Ministers Gamawan Fauzi and Suryadharma Ali to start behaving responsibly.

As for community education, that rabble who rioted against the church members yesterday, because of an ‘impolite’ car sticker, might need a century of education before they reach a vestige of civility.