20 September 2010

Want to build a church in Indonesia? Good luck!

We have heard a great deal about mosque-building recently. Locals in American towns such as Murfreesboro,Tennessee, Sheboygan, Wisconsin, Temecula, California, and of course, New York, are objecting to the building of mosques in their communities. Not to be outdone by Christian bigots, Muslims in Indonesia are protesting the building of a church in a suburb of Jakarta.

Government regulations require that anyone intending to build a house of worship in Indonesia obtain permission from the local community. In a country overwhelmingly Muslim, that can create a major challenge for Christians. Nonetheless, this congregation insists they had enough signatures until hard-line Muslims convinced some of those who had signed to change their minds.

The moderate majority in Indonesia supports the rights of Christians to build churches and is concerned about the rise of "angry Islam." Moderates in the United States similarly support the right of all faiths to worship freely. The reputations for religious tolerance in both countries are now under siege from the "true believers." The trouble with religion is that too many people take it too seriously.

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