Situation and Condition of Local Religions in Indonesia

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Indonesia consists of 6 religions that are official and recognized: Islam, Protestant, Catholic, Hindu, Buddha, and Confucianism. Those religions are great in demand and have been stipulated in various written rules, such as legislation established by the state. Hence, people who follow these six religions have the right to celebrate their holy days, worship at their places of worship, etc. It is different from people who adhere to local religions. Their freedom is limited by the government, even the community.

Baca juga: Religion Unrecognized Local Beliefs in Nusantara.

The local religion is the original or indigenous religion of Indonesia. This religion does not come from outside the adherent’s tribe. Therefore, this religion was born and lived with his tribe and having every aspect of the life of the tribal adherent. People who adhere to the local religion only believe in their ancestor’s teachings. Thus, it is also important to highlight that a local belief in one area will not be the same as a local belief in another area. Each of them has its own identity and characteristics.

The emergence of local beliefs cannot be traced with certainty. However, belief as a social system can originate from the existence of groups of people who have the same views on aspects that are considered sacred. As we all know, Indonesia is a country that has a diversity of ethnicities, languages, cultures, religions, and beliefs. Therefore, it is not surprising that various beliefs and religions have sprung up in Indonesia today. Based on the 2010 Population Census (SP 2010), the number of local religious communities in Indonesia is 299.617 persons, which is 0.13% of Indonesia’s total population. This data is obtained from those who chose ‘others’ of their religious document. However, some say that this is not valid data since some local religious adherents’ hide their identity from society to prevent any problems.

There is indeed a decision of Constitutional Court No.97/PUU- XIV/2016 that the word ‘religion’ in article 61 paragraph 10 and article 64 paragraph (2) of Law No.23 of 2006 on Population Administration as amended by Law no. 24/2013 is declared contrary to the 1945 Constitution. It must be added to the word ‘belief’ so that local religious communities can be recognized in social life. It is not the first thing in giving noticing local religions. In history, several rules explicitly acknowledge the existence of local religions. At that time, TAP MPR 1973 was formed and stated that local beliefs and other religions were believed in God Almighty. Both positions were valid. However, a few years later, the law was abolished for political reasons. Then, during the Gusdur reign, regional religions began to be given space for expression. However, after Gusdur stepped down from his position, TAP MPR/VII/2001 was stipulated. The mention of ‘local religions’ was removed, replaced by ‘religion.’ So, they were all directed back to their parent religion. For example, the Sundanese Wiwitan (Baduy) adherents were directed back to Hinduism. Even local religions are not considered as a religion, but it is seen as a mere culture.

Some of the questions usually asked are how the social access of local religious communities and social acceptance of the surrounding communities are. Local religious communities’ social access is associated with administration services, such as identity cards, the number of death and marriage, etc. Local religion followers were afraid to show what they were, what were their religion since they were facing discrimination from others. Hence, the government lack of data about their administration services. However, on Tuesday, 7th of November 2017, local religion is valid for the religion column in the identity card. From this, it can be concluded that the government already struggles with the existence of local religions in Indonesia.

The problem is that how society accepts local religious adherents. Society seems to disable to accept local religious communities in their environment. Therefore, many of them hide their local religion and conduct their daily life according to the community’s traditions. The population of local religious adherents is not valid. Even their identity card and the family card are different, one state having local religion, another state official religion. They also have difficulties in marriage procedures. Some regions will be willing to record and provide a copy of the marriage certificate when all requirements were met, which is parents’ availability as their guardians. Meanwhile, their belief does not need parents as guardians; the parents are their loving people who witness and bless them.

Student of  Sampoerna University