The Jakarta Post
The Indonesian Communion of Churches (PGI) lamented the House of Representatives’ proposal to regulate Sunday schools and catechism in a draft bill on pesantren (Islamic boarding schools) and religious education, which was discussed by lawmakers in a plenary meeting recently.
The draft bill in question stipulates that Sunday schools and catechism constitute religious education, therefore, to hold the activities, each forum must have at least 15 participants and require permission from the representative office of the Religious Affairs Ministry in the regency.
In a press release made available to The Jakarta Post on Thursday, PGI spokesperson Jeirry Sumampow said the proposed articles 60 and 70 -- which stipulate the aforementioned issue -- reflected the lawmakers’ ignorance, suggesting that Sunday schools and catechism were informal educational forums, thus, should be regulated as such.
“Both activities are part of the church service for children and teenagers,” Jeirry said, “they should not be restricted by the number of participants or permits because they are part of our worship.”
Jeffrey added he was worried that the draft bill would turn into some sort of government intervention in religious affairs.
“We support the draft bill on pesantren and religious education and we hope that it will be passed into law. We support it as far as it regulates only formal education and doesn’t include informal education such as Sunday schools and catechism,” he said. (swd)