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Title: Ketuhanan yang maha esa, the state and the politics of religious (in)tolerance viewing present problems of contemporary religious life in indonesia through past debates on the state-religion relationship
Authors: Ismatu Ropi
Issue Date: 6-Feb-2019
Abstract: Introduction Various incidents related to religious life particularly in the past few years posed a severe test for the Indonesian government‟s policies on religious affairs. Attacks towards minorities such as Ahmadiyah, Syiah and some other non-mainstream religious groups as well as serious tensions emerged over the building of places of worship in many cities have become such gloomy feature of contemporary Indonesian religious relations. Those incidents sparked debate and criticism not only regarding the role of the state in upholding the rule of law and protection of minorities, but also on deeper questions regarding the relationship between the state and religion. This chapter argues that one of main causes of those underlying conflicts and tensions is rooted from the „unsettled‟ discussion on the state-religion relationship in Indonesia. This is due in particular following the insertion of the principle of Ketuhanan Yang Maha Esa1 in Indonesian legal and political system. To this stance, Ketuhanan Yang Maha Esa as the First Principle of Pancasila has served as the main foundation of the acknowledgement of religiosity in the state system and the main source for a variety of legal arrangements and lawmaking as well as political activism in modern Indonesia. The first part of the chapter reviews in brief the history of state-religion relationship by underlining the „invention‟ of the clause of Ketuhanan Yang Maha Esa and the contest over interpreting its meaning particularly by Muslim activists. This is of importance since the insertion of an „Islamic interpretation‟ of the loose clause of Ketuhanan Yang Maha Esa in the Constitution particularly in 1950s has had a great impact upon the issuing of state policies based on Islamic precepts. The case to point out in this sense is the roles of the Ministry of Religious Affairs (MORA) that constructed wide-ranging discretionary powers to control religion and to oversee religious freedom in Indonesia. In turn, 1The phrase Ketuhanan Yang Maha Esa means belief in „Almighty God‟ or belief in God in general sense rendered in a variety of translations in English. Due to different translations with various emphasises, I will use the Indonesian idiom Ketuhanan Yang Maha Esa. KETUHANAN YANG MAHA ESA, THE STATE AND RELIGIOUS (IN)TOLERANCE 2 following the marginalization of Islamic political activism in the New Order era, the regime at that period took greater control over the MORA, transforming it from a „political representative of Islam within the state‟ to a compliant institution allowing the Ministry to be used to promote the New Order‟s developmentalist policies. The regime was then able to dictate the new role of MORA as one of disseminating religious piety within society. The second part of the chapter examines the further development of the interpretation of the Principle of Ketuhanan Yang Maha Esa particularly in the New Order era. While recognizing the important place of religion in national development, as far as Ketuhanan Yang Maha Esa is concerned, the regime also began to construct the meaning of Ketuhanan Yang Maha Esa as the new „Indonesian identity‟ (jati diri bangsa) it should preserve. Under this new political epithet, the regime closely managed citizens‟ religious life to ensure people were subject to state domination. At the same time, control of religious activities and religious affairs in accordance with strict regime standards were justified in the name of restoring or maintaining stability and order. I argue in this part that the regime in this period became obsessive in regulating and controlling its citizens‟ behaviour, in both the private and public spheres, and ranging over almost all aspects of religious life. Often this was accomplished by resort to heavy-handed intervention by the security and armed forces
Appears in Collections:Buku (Bab atau Keseluruhan)

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