Enduring the Gimmicks and Polemics: Digital Performance of Religious Minorities During the Pandemic
Wednesday Forum – 01 March 2023
Despite the constitutional safeguard of Indonesia’s constitution, they were enshrined in Art. 28E, 28I, and 29, the freedom of religious expression is complicated. Many religious minority communities and irreligious individuals were suffering discrimination. The burden is manifold for those beyond the fringe of six government-sponsored religions, such as Baha’ism, Sikhism, Taoism, Judaism, ancestral faiths, and many spiritual movements (Penghayat).
The COVID-19 pandemic surprisingly encouraged social solidarity, often to the point of interfaith engagement. Despite numerous reports of women, diffables (disabilities), and other marginal groups encountering challenges, they, including religious minorities, immediately tuned in and found a decent place within the solidarity. Pandemics forced religion to immerse into the digital realm much deeper, along with its painful consequences. For sure, it cast a long shadow on digital engagements, while marginal communities could and probably would embrace it in the coming days of post-pandemic.
The reality on the ground is complicated. The digital platform, which includes numerous digital services, including social media (socmed), once offered hope for a more democratic social space and a place for minority groups to express their religiosity much freer. On the other hand, it is growing to embrace the democratic nemesis, such as becoming hate-speech and other digital illnesses enablers.
Against the above complicated and contradictory situation, between promise and unpropitious situation, there is an urgency to gauge the digital performance of religious minority communities during the pandemic. The present paper focuses on religious minority communities’ experiences in digital engagement, ranging from Confucians to Penghayat.
Leornard C. Epafras is faculty, researcher,& training instructor in Universitas Kristen Duta Wacana (UKDW) and Indonesian Consortium for Religious Studies (ICRS), Yogyakarta, Indonesia. He teaches History of Religions,Theology and Modern Sciences, Religious Studies, Advanced Study of Christianity, Judaism, Theology of Hospitality, and Civic Education. His research topics are including Religion Online, Religion and Popular Culture, and Interreligious Studies.
The full poster of this event is available here.