ADVERTISING
 
Thursday, July 27   Sign in or Register
 
Evangelical Focus
 

 
ADVERTISING
 
 
FOLLOW US ON
  • Twitter
  • Facebook
  • Google +
  • Instagram
  • Soundcloud
 

Newsletter
Newsletter, sign up to receive all our News by email.
 

POLL
LGBT debates in churches
Is the definition of marriage an important enough issue to split a church?



SEE MORE POLLS
 

 
TOP 10 MOST VIEWED



Joel Forster
 

Ahok, blasphemy and religious freedom

Freedom of conscience, freedom of speech and religious freedom are battles that are worth fighting. 

NEWS DESK AUTHOR Joel Forster 09 MAY 2017 18:52 h GMT+1
The outgoing Governor of Jakarta, Ahok, after hearing the sentence, on 9 May. / Kompass Indonesia

Indonesia, the country with the highest number of Muslims in the world (220 million and 87% of the population), has witnessed how the outgoing Governor of its capital city Jakarta has been sentenced to two years of prison for blasphemy.



Basuki Tjahaja Purnama (known as ‘Ahok’) is an outspoken Christian a ‘rara avis’ in Indonesia, the first non-Muslim politician with such a public presence in decades. Respected for his fight against corruption, an evangelical believer in Indonesia recently said of him that “he believes in Jesus Christ, reads and studies his Bible every day and finds it to be his source of strength.”



The democratic normality of ‘Ahok’ in a key country of Southeast Asia was presented as an example of tolerance: Indonesia's motto is “Faith in the one and unique God” but its constitution guarantees religious freedom for five other religions apart from Islam.



Nonetheless, the radicalisation of Islam in the whole region and a local political election has called into question this perception. A video recorded in 2016 showing ‘Ahok’ quoting a verse of the Quran and allegedly blaspheming Islam, was spread on the internet and became viral. Ironically, on the recording he was saying that the holy book of Islam is tolerant and allows Muslims to vote for a non-Muslim leader.



In a short time, radical groups like the Islamic Defenders Front organised themselves to hinder Purnama’s options to win the coming election. Tens of thousands of men with signs reading “Muslims who vote for an infidel or a blasphemer do not deserve a funeral prayer” and chants like “Kill ‘Ahok’ for insulting Islam” took the streets of Jakarta in several demonstrations. Doing so, they did not only put pressure on the Christian Governor, but also on his potential voters as well as Christians in general (9% of the population, mainly Protestants).



Meanwhile, churches were banned and attacked in other regions of the country.



 



Muslim protesters ask to jail Jakarta Governor 'Ahok, in Novemeber 2016. / Jakarta Post



The stigma of the judicial process opened against ‘Ahok’ did the rest. After winning the first round of the election February, the Christian politician lost to the Muslim candidate two months later, in the second round.



In the midst of the whole situation, Purnama appeared in front of their supporters with a smile on his face. “Trust me, power comes from God and it can be taken by God. No one comes to power without God’s permission. Don’t be sad. God knows”, he said.  



Three weeks later, the next blow to religious freedom in Indonesia. The judges condemned Ahok to two years of prison, a sentence harsher than what the prosecutors had requested. The Governor was immediately taken into custody and his deputy will govern the capital city until the end of the political term, in October.



 



SPEAKING UP FOR OTHERS



The fight for the freedom of conscience and of speech is a top priority for Christians around the world. It has not only to do with defending one’s own rights, but those of others too.



The Italian evangelical Christians exemplified this necessity of defending the liberties of the neighbour when they denounced the “ideological sentence” through which Russia banned the Jehovah’s Witnesses two weeks ago.



“Religious freedom must therefore be guaranteed for everyone, even for those who reject the Gospel or who, in our view, are completely wrong in understanding and living it”, the Italian Evangelical Alliance said in a statement.



In other words, “our point is not to support the doctrine of the Jehovah’s Witnesses (which we believe is contrary to the gospel and a deviation from God’s Word) but to defend the right of everyone to live freely according to their own convictions.”



The text goes further to say that any religion, ideology or political system which does not resist criticism is showing its own weakness.



 



JESUS AND THE RIGHT TO DISSENT



The central person of the Christian faith, Jesus Christ, was opposed by people throughout all his public life. After three years of communicating his challenging message, a plot organised by the religious elite tried to bring him down. He was put on trial for blasphemy, with fabricated charges (Matthew 26: 57-67).



Before dying on a Cross, he was insulted and tortured. He had claimed that He was the Messiah and the Son of God, but even so He did not impose his message by force. The one we Christians believe is the Lord of the Universe allowed others to disagree with Him.



Freedom of conscience, freedom of speech and religious freedom are battles that are worth fighting. Be it to defend the voice of Christians in Indonesia, be it to defend the freedoms of our neighbours, or our own liberties.


 

 


0
COMMENTS

    If you want to comment, or

 



 
 
YOUR ARE AT: - - - Ahok, blasphemy and religious freedom
 
ADVERTISING
 
 
 
AUDIOS Audios
 
Michael Schluter: Relationships are the key to build Europe Michael Schluter: Relationships are the key to build Europe

The economist summarises the manifesto “Confederal Europe: Strong Nations, Strong Union” and explains why personal relationships should be at the centre of our economy, education and democracy. 

 
Gary Wilkerson: The Bible, the Holy Spirit and the Reformation Gary Wilkerson: The Bible, the Holy Spirit and the Reformation

Pastor Gary Wilkerson talks about what all evangelical Christians can learn from the Protestant Reformation and underlines the need for more churches with both a sound doctrine and obedience to the Holy Spirit.

 
Israel, the UN resolution and the long conflict Israel, the UN resolution and the long conflict

Shira Sorko-Ram, pastor and journalist in Israel, shares her views and a historical and biblical context on the latest events.

 
Lindsay Brown: Islam and the Gospel in Europe Lindsay Brown: Islam and the Gospel in Europe

Is the arrival of thousands of Muslims to Europe a threat to Christianity? What is the growth of evangelical churches in Eastern and Southern Europe? An interview with theologian and Lausanne Movement representative Lindsay Brown.

 
Giovanni Traettino: “Pope Francis is my brother in Christ” Giovanni Traettino: “Pope Francis is my brother in Christ”

Evangelical Focus asked the well-known Pentecostal pastor about his “open” approach to Roman Catholicism. Traettino defended his position about ecumenism during the Italian Evangelical Alliance 2016 assembly (8-9 April, Rome).

 
Efraim Tendero: Relationship with Roman Catholicism and other current issues Efraim Tendero: Relationship with Roman Catholicism and other current issues

The World Evangelical Alliance Secretary General participated in the Italian Evangelical Alliance assembly (Rome, 8-9 April). In this interview with Evangelical Focus, Bp Tendero talks about the need to listen to local churches and to face challenges like the refugee crisis and climate change. 

 
Thomas Bucher: Vision of the EEA Thomas Bucher: Vision of the EEA

Influence in society, evangelical identity and projects in Europe. An interview with Thomas Bucher, secretary general of the European Evangelical Alliance.

 
Evi Rodemann: Youth and mission Evi Rodemann: Youth and mission

“We want to see the youth not just being equipped, but also being multipliers”, Evi Rodemann director of Mission-Net. The European Congress took place in Germany from December 28 to January 2.

 
Greg Pritchard: European Leadership Forum Greg Pritchard: European Leadership Forum

Pritchard explains the vision of ELF, comments on the 2015 event in Poland and reflects on what it means to have an "evangelical identity".

 
Pablo Martinez comments on Evangelical Focus’ launch Pablo Martinez comments on Evangelical Focus’ launch

Author and international speaker Dr Pablo Martínez discusses the main challenges in Europe nowadays and hopes Evangelical Focus will be a useful tool to help build bridges between churches and society.

 
PICTURES Pictures
 
I am not on sale I am not on sale

Young Christians gathered at Madrid’s central square Sol to denounce human trafficking. A flashmob highlighted the work of three evangelical NGOs which support women who escape sexual slavery in Spain.

 
The abilities of Mefi-Boset The abilities of Mefi-Boset

Christian ministry Mefi-Boset has been working with people with intellectual disabilities in their leisure time, and supporting their families in Terrassa and Barcelona (Spain) for 20 years. 

 
Re-evangelise Europe and renew the biblical church Re-evangelise Europe and renew the biblical church

The 2017 European Leadership Forum gathered hundreds in Poland to celebrate the Reformation and connect to better share the gospel in diverse national contexts. See picture gallery.

 
Stamps to commemorate the Reformation Stamps to commemorate the Reformation

Poland, Lithuania, Namibia and Brazil are some of the countries that have issued special stamps on the 500th anniversary of Martin Luther’s 95 theses.

 
‘Reconciliation’ in the Basque Country ‘Reconciliation’ in the Basque Country

Bilbao hosted the Spanish Evangelical Alliance's annual meeting (assembly). Politicians, professors and evangelical representatives shared views on social reconciliation. The theme was also analysed from a theological perspective and in workshops. 

 
WPF17: A look at the world’s current issues WPF17: A look at the world’s current issues

A selection of pictures of World Press Photo 2017.

 
The Progress of Europe, deeply connected to Bible The Progress of Europe, deeply connected to Bible

Indian author Vishal Mangalwadi spoke about how the biblical worldview shaped the West. 300 professionals attended annual GBG meeting on faith and work in Cullera (Spain). Photos: J.P. Serrano, S. Vera.

 
Impressions of Lausanne's #ylg2016 Impressions of Lausanne's #ylg2016

Around 1,000 young Christian leaders from 150 countries are participating in the 2016 Lausanne Younger Leaders Gathering, to reflect on global mission.

 
“Spain, we pray for you” “Spain, we pray for you”

Hundreds of evangelical Christians from many denominations marched in Madrid (Spain) to pray for their city, the authorities and asking God to bring hope to its society. Many gathered in other cities on June, 11.

 
VIDEO Video
 
What is scientism? What is scientism?

“Scientism is the view that Science provides knowledge, and that is the only source on knowledge”, says Rik Peels, Researcher at the Vrije Universiteit in Amsterdam.

 
Living without your favourite things Living without your favourite things

A video by Open Doors UK & Ireland explains to children what it means to be a refugee. 

 
Playmobil animation on Luther’s life Playmobil animation on Luther’s life

British video platform GoChatter uses 4,000 individual photos to create stop motion video on Martin Luther's life.

 
Individualism: from the Protestant Reformation to 21st century capitalism Individualism: from the Protestant Reformation to 21st century capitalism

Indian author Vishal Mangalwadi on how the Protestant Reformation underlined individualism as a means to please God, and how secular Europe corrupted it.

 
What role does the Church have in Europe? What role does the Church have in Europe?

Evi Rodemann (Germany) talks about the unique contributions to society that only the Church can make. 

 
Students in Europe: “We are present” Students in Europe: “We are present”

A summary video of the IFES Europe conference which brought together 1,700 students from many countries in Aschaffenburg (Germany) to reflect on God's mission in society.

 
You-To live-How? You-To live-How?

The Roldan Camacho are a Spanish couple with deafness. They tell us how the whole family experiences everyday life through sign language. A video report by Gabriela Pérez.

 
Philip Yancey interview Philip Yancey interview

An 8-minute interview with Philip Yancey on the role of Christians in a secularised society. Recorded in Madrid, September 2016.

 
An interview with Prof. John Lennox An interview with Prof. John Lennox

New atheism, the definition of "faith", Christianity in Europe, the role of the Bible in mission, and the need to listen more. An exclusive interview recorded at "Forum Apologética" (Tarragona, Spain) in May 2016.

 
 
Follow us on Soundcloud
Follow us on YouTube
 
 
WE RECOMMEND
 
PARTNERS
 

 
AEE
EVANGELICAL FOCUS belongs to Areópago Protestante, linked to the Spanish Evangelical Alliance (AEE). AEE is member of the European
Evangelical Alliance and World Evangelical Alliance.
 

Opinions expressed are those of their respective contributors and do not necessarily represent the views of Evangelical Focus.