When Christians across the world, including in Indonesia, celebrate Easter, they not only rejoice over the history of human salvation, but also rekindle the virtue of sacrifice that has characterized humankind from the beginning of time.
No doubt all faiths promote the spirit of sacrifice as a basic moral ground; willingness to sacrifice is a universal value that both believers and non-believers practice to achieve social harmony and order. As the antithesis of selfishness and egocentrism, sacrifice paves the way for peace.
As we accept that common good is all that justifies self-sacrifice, we find it difficult to digest, let alone tolerate, the reasons behind suicidal acts, such as bomb attacks, in many parts of the world. As the primary moral guidance, holy scriptures of all religions encourage the act of sacrifice for the sake of well-being for all.
We do not necessarily sacrifice our souls to create a better world or environment.
We simply need tolerance, which constitutes an act of sacrifice.
This is easier said than done as we have seen, or even fallen victim to acts of intolerance in a country destined to be a diverse nation. Intolerance in all its forms has grown alongside the post-New Order politics of identity, which politicians have exploited simply to seize power.
As we have witnessed, intolerance is practiced against minority groups and thus upholds dictatorship of the majority, in which the majority determines what is right or wrong and, therefore, regards minority views as deviant. It is far from the state that our founding fathers envisioned many years ago about Indonesia as a place where people of different ethnicities, languages and religions live and work together to realize shared dreams.
History tells us about the sacrifice of our founding fathers to preserve diversity and promote it as a trademark of this nation. There are also leaders and figures known for their persistent efforts to keep a pluralist Indonesia intact against those who are keen to articulate supremacy over the minorities with their divisive, hate-mongering speeches.
The likes of Bekasi Mayor Rahmat Effendi, who defends the right of Catholics in the name of the law despite pressure from intolerant groups, Purwakarta regent Dedi Mulyadi and Bandung Mayor Ridwan Kamil, who both have earned praise from the National Commission on Human Rights (Komnas HAM) for upholding tolerance, raise hopes that our national motto of Bhinneka Tunggal Ika (unity in diversity) may last forever.
Social Affairs Minister Khofifah Indar Parawansa further shows how to foster tolerance as the nation’s precious asset. Her presence in an Easter celebration in the East Java city of Malang last year already made a big difference, due to the fact that Islam, which Khofifah embraces, does not recognize the resurrection of Jesus.
Khofifah attended the event to prove that only through conversations could interfaith relations be sustained. As she said, without communicating with each other, mutual understanding and respect among people of different ideologies will never materialize.