In Good Faith
Pluralism over Populism.
In Good Faith endeavors to increase joint projects between the United States and Indonesia - between individuals, organizations, and our governments - in order to bolster our shared values of democracy, pluralism, and unity in diversity.
Traditionally, religious groups advocate for their own interests – Jews advocate for Jewish interests, Christians advocate for Christian interests, and Muslims advocate for Muslim interests. Along the lines of self-preservation this is entirely logical, but historically, this strategy has not been entirely effective. Broadly speaking, it is the attitudes and behaviors directed towards members of a country’s minority religion from those within the majority that determine the safety of minority religions and the health of the country’s pluralism.
Looking at the state of affairs amongst the Abrahamic Faiths globally, we often hear about a “clash of civilizations” between “the Muslim World” and “the Western World”. Whether or not this is an accurate characterization of phenomena, we can spot geo-political conflicts with these underlying religious tensions. At the same time, we, at In Good Faith, have good reason to be skeptical about such a reductionist and such a defeatist prophesy.
We say this because of Indonesia and the United States.
If we are to speak of the Muslim world, we would be negligent not to consider Indonesia – the country with the world’s largest Muslim population. Yet it would be just as misleading to call Indonesia a “Muslim country” as it would be to call the United States a “Christian country”. It is far more significant for us to observe that both Indonesia and the United States are populous and powerful democracies with diverse religious populations and that they therefore have a natural, if latent, symbiosis.
Our question is: With respect to American and Indonesian blind spots, what if Jews and Muslims could advocate for the protection of their own religious group by working together? Rather than advocating solely for our own faith, what if we advocated for shifting Muslim-Jewish and more symbolically Muslim-Western relations in good faith?