Religion, Commodity and Power

MAP Corner and MKP Club held discussions on the theme of Religion, Commodification and Power. This discussion brought Abdul Gaffar Karim, a lecturer of DPP UGM as a lighter discussion. This discussion is part of the 20th anniversary of the reformation of Indonesia.

For starters, Gaffar tells about the history of the relationship between religion and politics. Based on his literature search, there is a link between the development of agriculture and politics and religion. This is because agriculture (cropping) causes excess food to be stored. This is different from the previous way of life, that is hunting. The need to manage these food deposits creates a clash of interests called politics.

Agricultural activities get various disturbances from nature, such as rain, flood, wind, to storm. This factor makes people start thinking about the power that is far beyond his control. Then came the gods. Gaffar then concluded that, politics and religion were born from the same womb.

Then, Gaffar conveyed his argument that the rise of politicians who make religion as a political commodity caused by the nature of religion that has high liquidity. This then causes religion to be quickly used for economic and political interests. For example, for the sake of the economy, recently appeared halal refrigerator products. There are also other products that appear earlier such as kosher cosmetics and halal perfume.

In terms of political interests, religion is the fuel of an effective political machine. When one wants to use nationalism as the basis of his political struggle, one must work hard. That’s why politicians are lazy to use religion. The ingredients are ready.
Responding to the ban on political talk in places of worship. Gaffar argues that it is impossible to implement. Instead, what needs to be done is to make religion encourage politics in a more productive, rather than destructive, direction.
To close the discussion Gaffar explains three major risks when we play the issue of religion for the sake of power. First, the minimal risk of weakening the control. Society no longer guards politicians. In fact, democracy requires doubts. Citizens who are critical of leaders will be more useful in a democratic system than simply supportive. If people are in power but there is no criticism against it, then it breaks all affairs.

The second risk is a prolonged political tension. Jakarta elections conflict 2017 even still felt until now. Winning party supporters will tend to silence critics of the losers. Now when people criticize, the government always asks: then what is the solution? Democracy does not require people to find solutions. Democracy needs criticism. The solution is yes thought of the ruler who has been paid with public money.

Finally, the most fatal risk is the destruction of the state. There is no need to wait for 2030 if the commodification of religion continues. We’ve seen India and Pakistan split up only because of religion.