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Article 18 in State and Religious Perspectives

December 21, 2021 at 7:30 am - 9:30 am EST

Indonesia is a state based on law that has upheld human rights since its birth in 1945. Prior to the birth of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) on December 10, 1948, the 1945 Constitution had already contained the basic principles of human rights. For example, the first sentence of the Preamble to the 1945 Constitution that independence is “the right of all nations” and “colonialism in the world must be abolished, because it is not in accordance with humanity and justice” is emphasized in the first sentence of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights which states that the basis of freedom, justice and peace in the world is “recognition of the inherent dignity and of the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family.”

Freedom of religion and belief has also been the main pillar of the Indonesian nation since the beginning. When initiating the principals of Pancasila which later became “Belief in One and Only God” in the Preamble to the 1945 Constitution, Ir. Soekarno explained it as a “Belief in God that is cultured, Belief in God with noble character, Belief in God that respects one another.” Since the beginning, Article 29 of the 1945 Constitution has guaranteed freedom of religion and worship, which was strengthened by Article 28(E) after the Amendment of the 1945 Constitution. This commitment of the Indonesian nation is in line with the famous Article 18 of the UDHR where it is stated that “Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion.”

In commemoration of the International Day of Human Rights, the Indonesian Ministry of Law and Human Rights and the Leimena Institute through this webinar invites reflection and discussion on the understanding and implementation of Article 18 of the UDHR, especially from the perspective of the state and religion. The state and religion relationship in the context of a constitutionally based nation greatly determines the shape of religious freedom in a pluralistic society. According to Dr. Chris Seiple, a healthy plural society must have a supportive cultural context (the bottom-up), in which religious leaders obviously play an important role, and a constitutional framework of equal rights and responsibilities for all citizens under the rule of law (the top-down) which is the government’s domain. Dr. Seiple calls it covenantal pluralism, a pluralism based on a covenant, which is in line with the concept of positive pluralism developed by Prof. Dr. Abdul Mu’ti. To see a comparison with other countries, the relationship between the state and religion in relation to Article 18 of the UDHR will also be viewed from a global perspective. This webinar seeks to promote a synergy between the legal approach by the government (top-down) and the cultural approach by religious leaders (bottom-up), as well as provide input to various related parties, in order to participate in advancing religious freedom, both in Indonesia and in the world.

The Minister of Law and Human Rights of the Republic of Indonesia, Prof. Dr. Yasonna H. Laoly, as the Keynote Speaker, will discuss the state’s views on efforts to protect and promote religious freedom as stated in the 1945 Constitution and Article 18 of the UDHR, as well as expectations for the synergy of the government, religious leaders, and various groups in these efforts. Prof. Dr. Abdul Mu’ti and Rev. Dr. Jacky Manuputty will provide perspectives on the same thing as religious leaders who have long been active in initiating and supporting interfaith dialogues and cooperations. Dr. Katrina Lantos Swett will provide a global perspective on the relationship between state and religion in advancing religious freedom, as well as lessons learned from various countries. Dr. Chris Seiple will explain the concepts of covenantal pluralism and Cross-Cultural Religious Literacy, and how these concepts can help us understand and support the synergy of the top-down and bottom-up approaches above.


December 21, 2021
7:30 am - 9:30 am EST
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