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Priest warns of threats to national ideals

Oportunistism and religious intolerance on the increase, says Jesuit

Jesuit Father Franz Magnis Suseno (extreme right) during yesterday’s book launch in Jakarta Jesuit Father Franz Magnis Suseno (extreme right) during yesterday’s book launch in Jakarta
  • Konradus Epa, Jakarta
  • Indonesia
  • April 12, 2011
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A Jesuit priest yesterday warned Indonesians of two serious threats to Pancasila -- their national ideology.

Pancasila -- the five principles -- enshrined in the preamble to the 1945 constitution, stipulates belief in one God; a just and civilized society; a united Indonesia; democracy guided by consensus; and social justice for all.

“We now are facing two serious threats, namely opportunism and narrow-mindedness. It these are not addressed immediately, Indonesia is really in danger,” said Father Franz Magnis-Suseno.

He was speaking to 300 lawmakers and religious leaders attending a book launch at the parliament building in Jakarta.

According to the lecturer at the Jesuit-run Driyarkara School of Philosophy, opportunists are individuals who use a situation to better themselves and their existence and ignore the public interest. “This should not happen,” he said.

Narrow-mindedness is when people dismiss diversity and pay more attention to sectarian interests. “Those who are like this cannot appreciate religious and cultural diversity anymore,” he continued.

Masdar Farid Masudi of the Central Board of Nahdlatul Ulama agreed.

Opportunism is more dominant in both the legislative and executive bodies of government, and narrow-mindedness is displayed by certain religious leaders, especially Muslims, that teach radicalism and fundamentalism and interpret texts literally, he said.

The book: Plenary State: Historicity, Rationality and Actuality of Pancasila, was written by Yudi Latif, a Muslim intellectual.

In his speech, he said: “I wrote this book to make people know about our nation. Who we are? In national life, we are neither the majority of dictators nor marginalized minority. We are equal,” he asserted.

Related report
Indonesia urged to live up to its principles
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