I lived in Makassar Indonesia from 2007 – 2008 and admire Christians living there because they face discrimination and violence all the time. When I first arrived, I asked my supervisor where the Catholic church was. She said there was one not far from school, but it had been burned down. They still had mass on the site. There was also a cathedral in town.
Needless to say I attended the cathedral just to be safe.
The Indonesian constitution does provide for freedom of worship, but life is still hard for minority religions. Even when I wanted to open a bank account, I was asked to state my religion. It’s illegal to marry someone of a different faith there and to build a church you have to get 90% of the neighbors to sign a statement saying it’s okay with them. Considering that the country is 90% Muslim this poses a big obstacle.
In the U.S. Christians don’t face this level of threat. I will say I was profoundly disappointed that when I wrote to three churches I have attended in the U.S. asking for donations for the Catholic church to be rebuilt in Makassar not one of the pastors responded to my letter. Alas, Indonesia just doesn’t register since few Americans know much about it. Still I hoped for more.