Theocracies are at odds with tolerance and with individual freedom. They put their suspect truths way beyond decent treatment of fellow human beings.
Two weeks ago Putra Elina, a teenage girl from Langsa, committed suicide. She had been arrested by Aceh’s Shariah Police and been labelled sex worker by local tabloids. An unjustified, unwarranted public humiliation which, she thought, unbearably shamed her family.The only escape she saw was hanging herself. A sad, deplorable but understandable outcome of living in a suffocating Dystopia in my opinion.
A genuine secular democratic state is not just about eating, drinking and shopping what you want when you want and where you want, not just about freely expressing your spiritual affiliation when you want, where you and with whom you want or to choose and define your own moral boundaries. It essentially is about the fundamentals of tolerance.
Officially RI is such a secular state.
However one of the main weaknesses of the present Republic of Indonesia is the conspicuous religious moralization of the state and it’s institutions .The impact of the radical conservatives’ moral code on laws and bylaws is really worrying. Komnas Perembuan discovered as much as over 150 bylaws discriminating women and minorities. The 1965 Blasphemy Law even is a legal bulldozer which is a direct threat to one or two human rights. Ever more the loud and dominant minority is imposing it’s petty opinions and extremely outdated values on other citizens. The legal Shariah police and the conspicuously permitted extra-legal FPI are the extreme manifestations of this aggressive moralization. They persecute and oppress deviant groups.They jeopardize religious freedom and freedom of expression.
Indonesian government is falling seriously short.
In a modern democracy, which by the way is not primarily about majority rule but most of all ought to be about maintaining human rights, the law should not support totalitarian moral systems but protect it’s citizens against them. So it’s a very bad omen to those second rate citizens (cultural, ethnic and religious minorities and women) that, two years after a previous bid for change failed , Indonesia today announces it decided to reject recent United Nations Human Rights Council’s recommendations to modernize laws, bylaws and regulations. It is to be feared the girl from Langsa will not be the last victim.
RI is a semi-secular state for the time being.