Salam Peace Shalom
Religion and power has been interesting dynamic for long time. In the past some of states had state religion, mostly those with monarchy system. When democracy replaced the monarch, most of them separate religion and state. In the past people’s migration was still very low. But today in the globalization era, it is very high. Therefore, heterogeneity is unavoidable. Democratic system recognizes equality of all citizens, regardless their ethnicity, religion, sex, and economic identity. Some see this as secular state vs religious state. Indonesia is very unique since in the beginning of Indonesia the founding parents of Indonesia agreed to have Pancasila as its foundation. Indonesia is not a secular state, nor religious state. Therefore every Indonesian has the same right, whether majority or minority is not as issue. It means there is no single religion that above others, or below others. Democracy is a challenge for religious exclusivism to be compatible with political pluralism. (Volf 2015)
Today, Indonesia is facing this challenge in the election. Religion (and also ethnicity) many times is used for political interest, especially to hinder some candidates. If Indonesian people are still primordial, then this kind of issue definitely is effecting the voters. Here we can see how important what we learn in YIPC, especially the peace values. Those who cannot accept other people that different from them, they actually hardly to accept that God is the creator. They hardly to accept that God created human being equal because all of us come from one parent: father Adam & mother Eve (Hawa). From one parent, God purposely made us diverse in ethnicity, skin and fair color, different color and language. Diversity is God’s creativity and beautiful. Those who cannot accept this, rebel against God. They are not in peace with God, with self, and with others. Religious people should know this and practice it.
However again and again, politics and power have blinded people’s eyes. They forgot God and only look for their own interest and benefit. And many times, people can use anything to get what they want, including using religion. It is written in the Bible (Injil) when the religious leaders want to blame Jesus (Isa Almasih). Their goal is to remove Almasih. They use many strategies including religious tradition and the Scriptures too. This is to warn us that as religious people we can fall into this trap if we are not careful.
Interfaith community like YIPC could and should play a significant role to help and transform people to focus to God and accept the diversity equally. Loving God means loving your neighbor as yourself. Everyone can remain as religious exclusivist, but they should practice political pluralism. The Golden rule is applied here, “do to others what you want others do unto you”. YIPC just finished organizing Student Interfaith Peace Camp in 4r cities: Medan, Bandung, Jogja, and Surabaya. We do hope that through this Peace Camp many young people – leaders to be – have become peacemakers. Hopefully they will not blind of power. They will be people of God that will always celebrate and respect the diversity, and able to love each other unconditionally. Amen.