Biblical Law

Apr 10th, 2007, in News, by

Laws based on the bible in Papua.

The regency government of Manokwari in West Papua (West Irian Jaya) is considering enacting laws based on the Bible.

Specifically there are said to be ranesi proposed laws against alcohol and prostitution, regulations on dress and worship, including bans on the display of symbols of a “certain religion”, and bans on the building of houses of worship of another religion near a church.

For non-Christians who wish to build, say, a mosque, a congregation of 150 people must exist first. This would appear to violate the national Houses of Worship Act, which stipulates 90 people as the minimum number.

Pastor Sherli Parinusa is one of the supporters of the laws currently being debated in the local parliament, and says:

Maybe there is a misunderstanding that these kind of laws will create ethnic-religious conflict. The purpose of the laws is to emphasise the uniqueness of an area, like in Aceh, the veranda of Mecca. Here we say that Manokwari is an evangelical city, and peaceful and tolerant.

While there are many local and city laws based on Islamic sharia in Muslim areas of the country this appears to be the first attempt to create Christian laws, or any laws based on a religion other than Islam. Manokwari is an important centre of church activity in Papua.

West Papua Map
West Papua Map, click map for full size.

Amos H Kay, the vice chairman of the local parliament in Manokwari says the proposed rules on building mosques, temples, etc, are in conflict with national laws. Richard M Daulay of the Persekutuan Gereja-Gereja in Indonesia, PGI, a Protestant church association, says such laws are not necessary, it is not the business of government to interfere in such things and laws should not be made which apply to only one group in society.

Michael Utama Purnama, of the Antar Iman Indonesian Conference on Religion and Peace (ICRP), another Christian group, says the Manokwari case is an example of regional autonomy gone wrong.

On 14th May Radio Netherlands interviewed Erna Mahuse, an MP in the Majelis Rakyat Papua (MRP). Erna says that Papua wishes to follow the good example of Aceh in implementing religious laws. Papua has special autonomous status, he says, just like Aceh. Sharia has been applied in Aceh satisfactorily because most people there are Muslim. In Papua most people are Christian, and Christianity arrived in Papua before Islam did, so Biblical laws are appropriate.

Erna asks if the Acehnese can live according to their religion’s laws then why can’t the Papuans do so. Let Papuans arrange their lives as they see fit. Those who oppose Christian law for Papua are people from other religions who try to win the Papuans over to another religion. ranesi

Martin Luther, an official in the West Papua government, says there are no bible based laws in Manokwari, only a law which states that Manokwari is “Kota Injil”, “Bible City”.

He says there are some plans for biblical laws but that these do not originate from the Christian community in the area but from a “third party” which seeks to turn Manokwari into another Poso, a scene of sectarian war. He says one of the proposed laws would forbid Muslim women from wearing the jilbab, or headscarf, and another would somehow ban maghrib.

Steff William Wamea, an artist from Manokwari, is one however who does support the laws because they make Manokwari a better town to live in and bring down the high rates of rape and other crimes. He says the laws are already in place and have succeeded in getting rid of alcohol in the town. ranesi

23 Comments on “Biblical Law”

  1. Andrew says:

    Why would they need such a law? To be honest this is the first time I hear about “biblical law”, but again I may not be the most informed in that matter.

    Whatever it is, what issue does it solve?

  2. Aluang anak Bayang says:

    Will they be flogging, stoning or amputation after every sunday masses?

    Good, I like the idea. I am lobbying for a self-rule state for Kalimantan with law based on the jungle. Bali can be a Buddhist state, Central and East Java will be Kebatinan. Indonesia will be a religious paradise.

  3. Karina says:

    If Aceh can operate syariah laws and gets away with it, there’s no reason Manokwari can’t!

  4. Cukurungan says:

    I think this is very Good Idea just let them manage theirs internal affairs and let see which working better a biblical law in Meraoke or Sharia Law in Aceh.

    Without a stringent law in place a papuanese could be extinct by themselves in next 50 years.

    Kaya Gaharu Trader brought there some ailments PSK in order to have “forests concession”, the true stories are going to reveal by itself that papuanes among highest HIV infected in Indonesia.

  5. Sputjam says:

    Papuans of Irian Jaya and Achenese are not Indonesians by choice. That is why the government allowed them greater autonomy in may areas.
    Clearly, both have decided to go backwards in terms of faith, probably to distance themselves from Indonesia proper, and to be more distinct and different.

  6. Janma says:

    Hey guys do you remember reading this? I think it puts biblical law into perspective….
    written by a Christian to a preacher, Dr Laura.

    Dear Dr. Laura:

    Thank you for doing so much to educate people regarding God’s Law. I have learned a great deal from your show, and I try to share that knowledge with as many people as I can. When people try to defend the homosexual lifestyle, for example, I simply remind them that Leviticus 18:22 clearly states it to be an abomination. End of debate.

    I do need some advice from you, however, regarding some of the specific laws and how to follow them:

    a) When I burn a bull on the altar as a sacrifice, I know it creates a pleasing odor for the Lord (Lev.1:9).The problem is my neighbors. They claim the odor is not pleasing to them. Should I smite them?

    b) I would like to sell my daughter into slavery, as sanctioned in Exodus 21:7. In this day and age, what do you think would be a fair price for her?

    c) I know that I am allowed no contact with a woman while she is in her period of menstrual uncleanness (Lev.15:19-24). The problem is, how do I tell? I have tried asking, but most women take offense.

    d) Lev.25:44 states that I may indeed possess slaves, both male and female, provided they are purchased from neighboring nations. A friend of mine claims that this applies to Mexicans, but not Canadians. Can you clarify? Why can’t I own Canadians?

    e) I have a neighbor who insists on working on the Sabbath. Exodus 35:2 clearly states he should be put to death. Am I morally obligated to kill him myself?

    f) A friend of mine feels that even though eating shellfish is an abomination (Lev.11:10), it is a lesser abomination than homosexuality. I don’t agree. Can you settle this?

    g) Lev.21:20 states that I may not approach the altar of God if I have a defect in my sight. I have to admit that I wear reading glasses. Does my vision have to be 20/20, or is there some wiggle room here?

    h) Most of my male friends get their hair trimmed, including the hair around their temples, even though this is expressly forbidden by Lev. 19:27. How should they die?

    i) I know from Lev.11:6-8 that touching the skin of a dead pig makes me unclean, but may I still play football if I wear gloves?

    j) My uncle has a farm. He violates Lev.19:19 by planting two different crops in the same field, as does his wife by wearing garments made of two different kinds of thread cotton/polyester blend. He also tends to curse and blaspheme a lot. Is it really necessary that we go to all the trouble of getting the whole town together to stone them (Lev.24:10-16)? Couldn’t we just burn them to death at a private family affair like we do with people who sleep with their in-laws? (Lev.20:14)

    I know you have studied these things extensively, so I am confident you can help. Thank you again for reminding us that God’s word is eternal and unchanging.

  7. Marie Antoinette says:

    What’s next? Hindu law for Bali?

  8. Rambutan says:

    I guess in the case of bible-based by-laws in Manokwari the Ministry of Home Affairs will react quickly and cancel them. This might actually be positive in the long run as it would set a precedent for all religion-based by-laws in Indonesia and might result in other syariat-based regulations being revoked. So let’s hope that for once the Ministry is doing its job properly.

  9. aJ says:

    As I understand from my school days, Indonesia is “Negara Kesatuan” (Not sure how to say it in English).

    Even in federal countries like United States or India, states/provinces are allowed to have own laws only to a limited extent, states/provinces law can never overlap federal law.

    Indonesia is not even a federal country, what more can I say.

  10. Ihaknt says:

    Great! More excuses to compare whose religion rules are better! Religions are over-rated. Just relax and enjoy life.

  11. Aluang anak Bayang says:

    Sputjam wrote:

    Papuans of Irian Jaya and Achenese are not Indonesians by choice.

    Papuans are of melanesian stock. Achehneses are of Malayic stock just like us – Melayu, Javanese, Sundanese, Balinese, etc.

    Anyone? Correct me if I am wrong.

  12. Colson says:

    This is the first proof of it; religious lunacy is a contagious disease.

  13. Oigal says:

    “Without a stringent law in place a papuanese could be extinct by themselves in next 50 years.”

    Funny they seem to survive for thousands of years before becoming part of Indonesia.

  14. Angie says:

    I’m Muslim, and I have NEVER AGREE with the idea of enacting certain religion’s law as the region’s/district’s/state’s/country’s law. Not even my own religion’s law.

    Indonesia, united nation perhaps the closest translation in English for negara kesatuan. This country’s famous with its plurality in cultural backgrounds, people, and so on. But somehow, the concept of plurality fades away lately.
    Some freak-out fanatics by any reason applied to whatever their acts, whether trying to pathetically expose them-selves, their people, their religions, or just to make chaos, and result most in chaos at the end, are tearing apart this nation and of course the sad thing is they took cover under the name of certain religions.

    Well, human beings are pathetic, expecting and taking too much pride for their pathetic acts and thoughts.

  15. Rambutan says:

    Negara Kesatuan = Unitary State

  16. Abdul Khalid al Jumhuri says:


    Given that Aceh could get away, and so do Padang, Tasikmalaya, Sukabumi, Tangerang, Makassar, and others, why in the world can’t Balinese have a Hindu based law, Manado and Manokwari its own Christian-based law? I believe this is the vision of the great leaders of the country in creating and allowing this to spread across the nation. Therefore, let’s do it legally and with speed in mind! I believe that leaders of PKS and other hard liner Moslems are respectable people and they are very consistent with their deeds and never vaccillating. Right?

    After all, they are the one who started the whole separation ideas in the 1970s, such that even after death, yes boys and girls – after death means in the DAMNED GRAVE – Indonesians have to be separated! The Moslems in this side, the Christians on that side. Even when we are nothing more than a decomposing corpse, we have to be separated either as Moslem cadaver or as Christian cadaver. No sir, there is no such thing as equality in the case of Indonesian cadaver.

    There you go PKS, MMI, FPI and other numb-skulled, enjoy your anal-craneal inversion politics !

  17. Suhada says:

    Assalamualaikum. In my point of view, religion based governance is nothing but mere triumvalistic wishful thinking. It’s mere expression of primordial passion for domination. As a Muslim I’m deeply concerned about the idea of having Syariah as the basis of our governance system. Maybe some people argue that it’s the only solution for this enduring crisis. But I view them as nothing but expression of frustation, a collective neurotic state of mind. We feel so helpless and unable to cope with reality, thus we embrace such an idealistic catarsyst. Here and there we can see the evident that theocracy failed to prove itself as a worthy governing system. It just give away the liberty of having democratic society. And it nurture despotic government which opresses and represses the people. Some might say that we should strive to establish the Syariah since the great Rasullulah himself embrace the system within his government. Yes, it’s right. But our concept of Syariah has far separated from the ideal of Rasullulah. His concept of Syariah were based on the will of having a just and civilized society. Not on the passion to dominate the minority. In his time Rasullulah were dealing with somehow simpler and much more homogenous society than we are. Thus the practice of Syariah was suffice to cope with the governance issues. If we want to apply Syariah within our modern life we have to make some adjustments. And I believe after those adjustments we will find Syariah is compatible with modern universal value and virtue about just and civilized governance. To view Syariah as a unique and separated way of governance is a very reductive paradigm. It does nothing more than mere insult to the value divine value of Islam.

    As for my Christian brother, I think the history of Israel — as written in the Old Testament — gives us a vivid picture how theocracy fails to give the society an enduring and sustainable stability, justice and civilized governance. Isa Al-Masih himself didn’t walk within the path of political passion. His teaching is about compassion, not domination. I think he had the chance and the momentum to set a political scenario against the opressing Roman governance. Some of the critics might disagree with me, but I believe Isa had gained enough popularity among his contemporary country men. To have 5000 people attending his sermon was quite an achievement. Isa could have gained more mass by embracing triumvalistic idea as a militeristic messiah. But he didn’t. He chose the way of compassion, humbleness.

    Both Rasullulah and Isa Al-Masih show themself as an inclusive leader. In his era Rasullulah welcomed a delegation of Christian community. He treated them in a very respective manner. Rasullulah even let the Christians to use the mosque to held their weekly communal. Isa Al-Masih healed both Jews and Greeks. He even told a beautiful pArable of good Samaritan.

    I think we have to learn many things from them. Let us put aside those triumvalistic wishful ideas. Let us see our diverse society as a beautiful gift from Allah. then might be.. just might be.. we will be able to walk hand in hand to a better future.. Isyaallah.. Wassalam,,

  18. Aluang anak Bayang says:

    Agreed, agreed and agreed. So not many of us believe theocracy works. For our bureaucracy to be rid of nepotism and corruption, we need strong honest leaders with integrity. One who is committed, uncompromised and wise. I believe SBY fit the bill but unfortunately he has not got the numbers. Those around him are wealthier and more powerful than him, and as corrupt as ever. He has a tough job ahead.

    Shariah, biblical or Hindu law are for those who still believe in imps and fairies.

  19. Andrew says:

    Religious law governs private life, but there is no place for that kind of law in public, period.

  20. Tomaculum says:

    Let’s wait till the first mercenaries of the laskar jihad come and make a call on Manokwari!

  21. luphIndo says:

    to Angie and Suhada..

    thanks for your comments and understanding .. I am a Christian and I am also not pleased with imposing “Biblical Law” in Manokwari… they are just reacting based on their emotion against the implementation of Syariah Law…. in the end the result is awful.

    second, Christianity always believe in separation of Church and State… Christian-Majority countries like US, Canada, Australia, Philippines and even Jewish state of Israel still maintain their secular way of government which do not intermingle with religious practices. I never heard of any country that have “Biblical Laws” as their constitution…. I dont know where these Manokwarians get their ideas.

  22. Musnady Ahmad says:

    West Papua is Cristian country and Java is Muslim Country so that mind let the West Papua have the Cristian Law and Javanese peoples have sari ya law that equal.P

  23. Jakób Skrzypski says:

    Papua should remain an Animist land…free of Middle Eastern bigotry. Anyway it’s a shame that Hindu or Buddhist missionaries haven’t reached it first…

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