Christians Celebrate in Streets to Demand Religious Freedom

Sunday, August 29, 2010

By Joseph C. DeCaro

JAKARATA, INDONESIA (Worthy News)-- Christians of the Yasmin Church celebrated Sunday service on the streets of Bogor, West Java, to protest the illegal closing of their building by the city in March.

Two years ago, the Yasmin Church received permission to build a place of worship in Bogor on private land, but in February, civil authorities withdrew permission and ordered the building closed on account of Muslim extremists. In 2009, the Yasmin Church appealed to the Administrative Court of the State, which found in their favour. However, continued pressure from protesting Muslims caused civil authorities to permanetly close the church in March.

Since April, the Yasmin Church has celebrated on the street to protest the closing. Gomar Pasaribu, pastor and secretary general of the Synod of Indonesian Churches, said that profession of one's religion was "the most fundamental right of every Indonesian citizen. Any hostile action and the slowness of the State to protect it, is a serious violation of the spirit expressed in the Indonesian national motto: Unity in Diversity ."

Yasman Pastor Ujang Tanusaputra said: "Our founding fathers fought for the independence of this country. Many of them were Christians. The spirit of intolerant extremists have tarnished the good image of Indonesia's pluralistic society."