Healthy pluralism requires space for all religious adherents to worship and construct places of worship in accordance with their convictions. The state should protect this right as an essential matter. Despite this normative ideal, there is still much controversy surrounding the construction of places of worship in Indonesia. In the last few years, the planned construction of a number of places of worship has been disputed, although others have been able to overcome these problems by relying on different strategies.
This research seeks to examine the factors that play a role in initiating and resolving conflict over places of worship. Places of worship are specifically limited in this study to Catholic churches and Protestant churches that are members of the Communion of Churches in Indonesia (Persekutuan Gereja-gereja di Indonesia, PGI). The methods used were participant observation and in-depth interviews of churches representing one of four categories: (1) undisputed churches; (2) disputed churches that have since resolved the dispute; (3) originally undisputed churches that have since become disputed; and (4) churches that have never been able to resolve the dispute.
Based on thirteen case studies, the research on which this report is based confirms the influential role of state regulation and social factors. The cases show that the obstacles some churches experience are generally related to weak government agencies due to political, social or ideological reasons. In terms of social factors, demographic factors were not found to have an influence. Resistance to churches was more often caused by a lack of communication, or provocation, or intimidation by specific groups. After describing and analysing the thirteen cases selected, this monograph closes with conclusions and recommendations.