Two churches met in front of the presidential palace on Easter Sunday to protest a ban placed on them meeting in their places of worship. About 300 members from the two church met. The churches claim they are registered legally but local authorities have refused to allow them to meet and the central government has done little to protect their rights. One of the churches even agreed to allow a mosque to be built next to their church in exchange for the right to meet, but still nothing has changed for their church. A Supreme Court ruling requiring local authorities to give them to right to build and meet has been ignored. Although Indonesia is supposedly tolerant, in reality it is extremely intolerant of religious minorities, many of them who have to meet “underground” to avoid persecution by the local government or community.
4/21/2017 Indonesia (UCA News) – Indonesian Protestants, whose churches remain sealed by authorities in West Java, celebrated their fifth Easter in protest outside the presidential palace where they are hoping the president lifts a banning order preventing them from holding services in their own houses of worship.
Some 300 members of the Yasmin Indonesian Christian Church from Bogor city and the Batak Society Christian Church (HKBP) of Philadelphia in Bekasi district attended an Easter service on April 16.
Both churches say they are legally registered but are being persecuted by local authorities who refuse to allow them to worship in their own churches, after citing opposition by local Muslims.
“We are facing serious religious divisions in Indonesia, I hope the resurrection of Christ unites us,” said Reverend Stephen Suleman, who led the Easter service.
Bona Sigalingging, a Yasmin congregation spokesman, said, although an agreement has been struck with the new major of Bogor to construct a mosque next to their church, nothing has been forthcoming so far.