Indonesia’s Home Affairs minister, Tjahjo Kumolo, has said he will consider revising legislation that currently makes it extremely difficult for Christians to obtain permits to build churches.
According to a 2006 decree, permission for a new place of worship requires applicants to obtain signatures from 60 local households of different faiths, approval from the local religious affairs office and local authorities, and recommendation from the local Interfaith Communication Forum.
It is these requirements that Mr Kumolo is now proposing to change.
Speaking from Jakarta on 9th November, he said: “That requirement should be revised. Personally, I believe that the number of supporters needed should be reduced, or there should be no need for any approval.”
Mr Kumolo has promised to bring the matter to the attention of the Religious Affairs minister and the Coordinating Political, Legal and Security Affairs minister before discussing the issue with the Cabinet.
The issue of church permits came to fore in October this year when local authorities tore down twelve churches in Aceh province after local Islamists demanded their closure. The Islamists took the law into their own hands and set fire to three local churches which they insisted did not have permission to stand.
- Give thanks that the Indonesian Government is prepared to look at the religious laws and revise them in favour of Christians Churches. Pray for God’s favour over the discussions between government ministers and cabinet, and for a good decision that will enable Christians to have more freedom to worship together.
- Pray for protection over Christian Churches at this time of Christmas, and for the good news of Jesus to be told across this nation without fear.
- Pray that many across Indonesia will hear of Jesus and have life changing encounters with His grace and love.
1 Thessalonians 5 vs 16 – 18: “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.“