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IL News 011/2015

Plurality, including in matters of religion, has been a characteristic of Indonesian society since thousands of years ago. This plurality can flourish due to the freedom to be different and tolerance between the different groups. Even more, these different groups can cooperate. No wonder for Soekarno (Indonesia’s first President), Pancasila can be squeezed into “one authentically Indonesian word”, that is “gotong royong” (mutual aid). Matius Ho of the Leimena Institute drew the students to see and understand this characteristic in Indonesian history through a lecture on “Religious Plurality and Feedom in Indonesia: Story of a Nation” at Petra Christian University in Surabaya on May 8, 2015. This public lecture also featured Dr. Suhadi, professor of religion and cross culture at Gajah Mada University, and was moderated by Daniel Rohi of the Petra Christian University.

In the 17th century in the Massachusetts Bay Colony (now part of the United States of America), the Puritans who were the majority in the colony felt disturbed by the faith and belief of Mary Dyer, a follower of Quaker movement which was considered heretic by the Puritans. Mary was intimidated, persecuted, until finally hanged simply because of her faith. Despite the fact that both Puritans and Quaker were Christians. The story became a case study to understand the importance of religious freedom by the Petra Christian University students in a training program in Surabaya on May 8, 2015, which was jointly held by the Leimena Institute and Petra’s Students Executive Body. In the training facilitated by Budi Setiamarga and Matius Ho of Leimena Institute, the students also learned about religious freedom principles in Indonesia’s 1945 Constitution and international documents such as the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Covenant On Civil And Political Rights.