The advertising copy is right: Bali does sound like an exotic wedding destination. But wouldn’t you know it, there is a hitch:
All couples who marry in Indonesia must declare a religion. Agnosticism and Atheism are not recognized. The Civil Registry Office can record marriages of persons of Islam, Hindu, Buddhist, Christian-Protestant and Christian-Catholic faiths. Marriage partners must have the same religion; otherwise one partner must make a written declaration of a change of religion.
The Trophy Wife will not be thrilled to learn that our marriage would not have been valid in Indonesia. The requirement that both partners in the relationship must have the same religion is also weird — there are probably a lot of people out there who have perfectly stable ‘mixed’ marriages who would be surprised.
I wonder how long until the scientologists scream discimination.
Rev. BigDumbChimp says
Religion, it’s crazy!
Same faith, marriage is fine.
Same genitalia, marriage is not fine *hurl stones*.
Also raises hand… (though we’re both pretty much athiests. If religion was really important to one of us, it may not be as stable).
Bali does sound like an exotic wedding destination.
Dine by the light from burning night clubs and other suicide bombing targets. Go hunting for Ogoh-ogoh monsters. Remember to not use your left hand for anything- sorry, southpaws.
Jared Lessl says
> Islam, Hindu, Buddhist, Christian-Protestant and Christian-Catholic
That’s it? Jews, Russian and Greek orthodox Christians, Taoists, or any of the other few thousand extinct and extant faiths that have sprung up over the past few millenia just don’t exist as ar as they care?
Dammit, I want Bali to recognize my belief in the Holy Beer Volcano and Stripper Factory!
“there are probably a lot of people out there who have perfectly stable ‘mixed’ marriages who would be surprised.”
They haven’t banned human/horse marriages too, have they?
If I remember correctly, Malaysia had a similar law with the added stipulation that it was illegal to be an apostate of Islam.
So, I guess it would be moot to ask if they supported proposition 8?
The Trophy Wife will not be thrilled to learn that our marriage would not have been valid in Indonesia.
Heh. Sounds like they’re trying to protect the sanctity of traditional marriage. Hey, let’s ask the homophobes whether they approve!
Am I the only one who noticed they don’t list “jewish” under the choices of faiths?
…oh and I’m also in one of those mixed marriages, but don’t tell the Catholic church. They think I’m one of their flock.
Ha! Me too, Schmeer. On both counts.
I spent a lot of time in Indonesia in my younger days. As it was explained to me, this law is a remnant from the bad old days of the cold war. Basically, the gummint had some problems with communists and, since communists = atheists, they came up with the clever policy of requiring everyone to have (and declare) a religion.
Atheist or not, if you are in Indonesia, you’d best get married–masturbation carries the death penalty. Beheading, even–no, not that head, the one you think with.
The time I got to Bali, I immediately caught a ferry to Lombok, the next island. And crossed the Wallace line.
Russell Miller says
It makes some sense. If marriage is solely a religious institution.
The question is not why is marriage only restricted to religious people, in my view – the question is why is the state involved in a religious institution in the first place.
It actually makes more sense than our policies in a (somewhat twisted but tangible) way.
Given that said gummint murdered over half a million of them in the mid-1960s, I think it might be fairer to say that it was the communists who had the problems.
Don’t bother with the place for holidays let alone marriages. A mate of mine lost his arm in the nightclub bombing by Islamic extremists several years ago (a hindu island in a muslim country is just asking for trouble).
He and many others only lived because the Australians evacuated large numbers of wounded to proper facilities in their country.
Maybe they are right? If a mixed marriage of Bali and Indonesia (to extend the metaphor!) can’t work, maybe real ones can’t?
As an atheist is it possible that real 100% believers in a specific faith truly get on with a true believer from another? If they really believed the details of their specific faith and didn’t just use it as a label?
It’s OK with me if others want to invite religious freaks to share their life. I’m looking only for an atheist, I want to be honest without worrying that my wife might be offended or feel badly. I want to laugh at the christian stupidity and know that my wife will feel the same way and not fear the reprisal of a cloud monster.
Christian-christian marriage should be outlawed or strictly monitored though, the children of such a twisted lifestyle can suffer enormous psychological damage.
Glen Davidson says
Assuming you’re just getting married, I don’t see much of a problem. Just declare whatever religion sounds good that day–if that’s all that is required.
Stupid and practically unenforceable laws should just be circumvented.
Went to Bali quite a few years ago, was one of the best vacations ever, I highly recommend it. However, right now might not be the best time: http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601039&sid=aOl38GoQebwo&refer=home
An extremely cunning plan, after all, it is well known that communists are physically incapable of lying.
Greg F. says
Indonesia is one of the most conservative countries in the world. I’m amazed they aren’t banning entry to anyone who declares atheism or agnosticism during a customs check.
For many men, that does not resolve the ambiguity.
Random Chimp says
And which one would that be. People can (and often do <_<) think with both (just not at the same time.)
So…aside from atheists and agnostics, that also means no Jews, no Japanese followers of Shinto or Taoism, no Chinese followers of Confucianism or Chinese Folk religion, no Native American or African adherents of various tribal faiths, no Wiccans or pagans of any stripe, no Scientologists, and presumably no Mormons or Jehovah’s Witnesses (though they might be allowed under the Christian-Protestant title, I suppose).
Leaves a lot of the world unable to marry in Bali. Quel surprise.
Random Chimp says
Only half my post showed up.
Let’s try this again:
And which one would that be. People can (and often do <_<) think with both (just not at the same time.)
In 1946 when my parents married, they had to get married in the basement of a Catholic church as my father was not of the faith.
Random Chimp says
WTF?!? One more time.
And which one would that be. People can (and often do) think with both (just not at the same time.)
I think the anti-mixed marriage thing is all about numbers. Each flavor of religion doesn’t want to lose a member to a different church, which is the risk when marrying outside of one’s own faith. When my 19-year-old Christian self fell in love with the hot atheist boy I was warned by my youth pastors that he would pull me away from god and lead me astray. They were concerned about our relationship, but they were also hoping I would lead him to the church. When we started talking about getting married they threw that “do not be unevenly yoked” crap at me. We dated for eight years and have been married for ten, and guess what…they were right. I’m now as atheist as he is and even more vocal about it. Yay, mixed marriages! :)
(I sincerely hope my comments make sense, as I have not had my morning dose of caffeine yet. *wanders off in search of Dr Pepper*)
Tom Woolf says
I was in Malaysia a couple of years ago (I know, not the same as Indonesia, but similar religious laws apparently are in effect). Reading the local paper I was surprised to see an article on a woman who was having to fight to get her religion changed on her official records.
Seems she was originally not a Muslim, but had married a Muslim and made the required change. Well, this guy was not the ideal husband, and left the country and her behind (guess that happens in all religions…). She wanted to have her records reflect her original religion, but because there had not been a divorce (he wasn’t there, so she could not divorce him), she was stuck. If I recall, this matter was either going to or in front of their Supreme Court.
Now, if I were in charge, I would not care about religion. I would concentrate on important things – such as coconut. You would HAVE to declare whether you liked or disliked coconut. Although mixed marriages would be allowed, the coconut liker would have to declare that he/she would never make a dish that included coconut for a meal their spouse would attend without creating a viable non-coconut alternative.
Well, that and each household would need to send me a Boba Fett figurine on my birthday.
I thought Indonesia recently recognized Confucianism but the forms may not have caught up.
I’m not sure what Jews and Baha’is do (both have communities in Indonesia). You might find the US State Department report on Indonesia interesting.
The group facing the most problems right now seems to be Ahmadiyya Muslims who are deemed heretical my other Muslims.
BTW you can’t get married in Israel either.
OT but I just heard that DJ savage whiner is one of those banned fron britain for hate advocacy, along with kkk grand wizzard, that dutch film maker and various imams.
Can rush l be far behind?
We face the same problem in the United States. Religion imposes its morality on people who are gay. The tyrany of religion is pervasive.
The requirement that both partners in the relationship must have the same religion is also weird
Maybe for retards there’s some advantage in having the exact same mental illness.
Just “declare a religion”? I find that quite nice. I’m thinking about going there to marry and declaring the FSM as my religion. It would be a lovely certificate to hang on the wall.
Oh how I’d love to put down ex-Islam and see how that goes down.
Hate to nitpick, but why are Jews excluded?
Thomas Winwood says
“Assuming you’re just getting married, I don’t see much of a problem. Just declare whatever religion sounds good that day–if that’s all that is required.
Stupid and practically unenforceable laws should just be circumvented.”
I prefer the maxim “following an unjust law is itself unjust”.
Bjørn Østman says
Boycott Bali. No one go there to get married! That’ll show them, and hurt them so much on the money.
When my now wife and I decided to finally get married, we decided to go really pop-schlock about it and have it in Gatlinburg TN, sort of the ‘vegas wedding’ site of the south. We had considered one place that offered ‘drive in weddings’ (getting married in our camper), but they wouldn’t do a wedding without ‘god’ according to their website.
Eventually we found a minister (Baptist? I don’t remember) who was quite happy to do a secular wedding on a local mountain (he had done some non Christian ones, but we were his first atheists). His friend the photographer, and our dog were the only other ones in attendance.
How about a “Burned Over Districtarian” adherent from upstate New York? Why not make a show for some of the far out and extinct religions? Doesn’t a god recognize them?
Bali is gorgeous but you have to remember that Indonesia is essentially a muslim state (though Bali is over 90% Hindu).
I don’t see why these marriage restrictions coming from an islamic state shock anyone. Didn’t Indonesia just ban yoga because because it could weaken muslim faith not long ago? If they ban yoga you can be sure that they have a problem with interfaith marriages, agnostics and atheists.
Bali is gorgeous though. Great people, great food, great place except for the risk of being bombed by islamic militants. Still, I’d vacation there again.
I’d not advocate messing with Indonesian laws any more than absolutely needed. That is the country that wanted to execute an Australian woman for smuggling in some marijuana. All evidence indicated that the airport baggage-handlers had been using innocent luggage for transferring drugs, but she was declared guilty. The court also wanted her to express remorse for her crime.
I over-stayed my visa, once–“30 days” is not one month, and the day the visa is issued is day 1 (but try telling an Australian boss that)–and had a heck of a time getting out of the country. But once out, I could simply turn around and get back in for another 30 days.
Pierce R. Butler says
So if a religiously mixed or non-believing couple show up in Indonesia, is their marriage not recognized? Are they subject to whichever laws against fornication/cohabitation/whateveration Teh Authoritiez may choose to enforce?
Because my wife and I opted for a British civil ceremony, we were banned from invoking anything even faintly religious, and even had to submit a list of proposed music to the appropriate authority so they could vet it first.
Since I loathe petty and overweening bureaucracy, I was determined to subvert it, so I picked the soundtrack to this as the register-signing music.
It worked brilliantly, and it wasn’t really “religious” – certainly, I doubt the Vatican would have recognised it as such.
Pierce, they tend to leave tourists alone as long as you aren’t breaking any laws. My significant other and I never had any issues. Bali also seems very relaxed. If you were an ex-pat living in Jakarta you may have some problems but again they tend not to meddle with foreigners as long as you aren’t disturbing the local populace. But who knows? I wasn’t there long enough to find out. The vast majority of my Indonesian experiences were vacation oriented. My friend that lived there for a long time with his family, a fellow Canadian, spoke a lot about police corruption and other little annoyances that were directed his family’s way because they were white (even then only occaisionally). I’ll have to track him down and see if he knows. My suggestion would be to not make a big deal out of it, travel under the radar, and to an extent do as the Romans do.
Bureaucracy is indeed another religion but so, I fear, is subversion.
But if that were true, wouldn’t that mean that communism was better than christianity? I mean, if they never lie…
Evolving Squid says
The Squidette and I were married by a Wesleyan minister (the uncle of Squidette)… but we forbade him mentioning God/Jebus/et al. We were not married in a church, though.
He was really cool about helping work out the details of the ceremony too.
I lived in Indonesia for a few years in the 80’s and noted the restrictions. At that time Bahai were not recognised, that may have changed, and the animist tribes in the outer islands were defined as Hindu (coz of multiple gods).
Back then I was a non-believer but not yet an atheist (if you know what I mean) so I think I just put down CofE. A friend in Irian Jaya wrote to me that the government had long been trying to convert the tribes there to Islam and had finally got one of the larger tribes to agree. They brought in some big shots from Java, lots of speeches and dancing and what all, then the chief proudly announced the highlight of the event. Pig Feast! Yay!
Pierce R. Butler says
IceFarmer – I have no plans to visit Indonesia at this point, only to pretend at tweaking their blue noses from the comfort of my office chair.
When I do travel, keeping as low a profile (within the limits of wearing a thick red beard) as possible is a consistent priority and my best advice for other travelers.
However, your closing advice brings to mind a somewhat contradictory recommendation from novelist Tom Holt’s Only Human:
Well, dang. Guess I can’t get married in Bali. *shrug* Their loss, maybe?
Ryan F Stello says
Not only do you have to declare your religion, you have to provide:
…in order to get a Notification of marriage, in order to get married.
Ignoring how convoluted they make the process and ignoring the stupidity of being ‘re-certified’, what exactly is this certificate?
I don’t recall my Lutheran parents ever receiving a certificate from the church other than a certificate from the state.
Bali, the place to go for west Aussies who don’t like to stray too far away from home. And meeting them in a holiday destination is a definite anti-climax. Especially those who think that Perth, WA, is NOT the perfect atomic test site.
On the plus side, in parts of Indonesia couples getting married are required to plant trees to fight deforestation: http://www.cnn.com/2009/WORLD/asiapcf/05/05/indonesia.wedding.trees/index.html
So getting married there is not all bad.
RMM Barrie says
In addition, to keeping a low profile when traveling, fly to the destination country using their carrier when possible, and when I visited many countries in the far east ( including Jakarta ) with my ethnic Chinese girlfriend ( born Taiwan ) Canadian passport who was Buddhist, we just packed our own bags, flew under our own names, and entered in separate lines. In other words do not give them reason or rub their noses.
The current Chinese customs form still has the declaration that you are not carrying a radio device that can receive or transmit. Meanwhile you declare no, while using your laptop as a desk, that has wireless internet, internet phone, and in your pocket is the SIM card to switch in your cell to go local. One conveniently forgets about be able to listen to your favourite home town radio station. ( CHFI.com )
When I first went to a “Big 10” school in the US ( 1960’s ) there was a box for religion, where leaving it empty or filling in “none” did not get you registered. Oddly enough “ Druid” worked.
Woah, for real? I spent a couple months there with my family as a kid, and I’m pretty sure I masturbated… (been doing it since i was 6 or 7). I wonder what the penalty for kids is?
I don’t travel under the radar very well either. I’m 5’11”, 250 with a shaved head, goatee/beard. It’s made for some interesting travel adventures from small asian women screaming and running away when I’ve gotten out of cabs in Tokyo or Seoul to being “randomly” searched about 70% of the time at various airports (the Cubans seem to love me though). I’ve been felt up by more dudes than I care to count and have convinced myself that some are just curious. It’s too bad it’s not my thing so I can have something to brag about instead of giving off a sigh and watching extra security guards suddenly appear in my periphery while I smile and let them waste my time.
In regards to Tom Holt’s recommendation, it’s not contradictory, that’s the way the Romans do it, especially on mopeds and scooters!
My parents have been married for 30+ years and although they were both born jewish, my dad identifies as atheist, and my mom as buddhist. She really does believe some of the magic nonsense, and my dad doesn’t believe any of it, but I’ve never seen them argue about religion or have any religion related problems.
Both me and my brother are atheists, although we do have some buddhist values (like being vegetarian). my mom likes to say she didn’t teach us a religion, she taught us to be free-thinkers. she is sometimes sad that I “deny my spirituality” though. (the only time I ever felt “spiritual” i was on drugs…)
RMM Barrie says
That is funny. Once when I went to Seoul, when they searched you entering the country, the security girl gave me a full body massage standing up, and that is when condoms were illegal and would be confiscated if found. Never happened with any males though.
I can just see the headlines:
Bali in antiquated patriarchal traditions shocker!
Married, schmarried. Think what it’s like to actually live there…
Longtime Lurker says
Forget the religious bigotry, it’s the penis shrinkage epidemic that should keep you away from Indonesia.
I foresee a lot of fornication and shaking up.
Firstly, Israel has a long-standing legal history of providing civil marriage benefits for couples (including gay couples) that do not qualify for religious marriage status at the rabbinate. In other words, you do not need to be married officially in order to claim full legal status as a couple in Israel. Regardless of that, there are numerous bills on the floor of the Knesset right now to establish a civil marriage institution apart from the rabbinate. Some of these include provisions for gay marriage. At least one of these bills will be made into law.
In other words, your claim is somewhat disingenuous, considering that couples rights in Israel are probably more liberal than those in most western countries.
doug l says
What? It’s no longer legal to lie about these things? It should be.
It isn’t and never was.
Rev. BigDumbChimp says
I agree that in many ways Israel is better (as long as you don’t want to marry a West Bank or Gaza Palestinian). However actual marriage does give one some rights internationally (e.g., getting a visa for one’s spouse if a foreign student in the US) that mere couples recognition does not. Israel fortunately does recognize marriages that take place outside the country even if they are solely civil marriages with no religious component (or are Jewish but not Orthodox). I’m also glad that civil marriage within the country may be allowed soon.
I believe Indonesia also recognizes marriages that take place outside Indonesia even if they couldn’t take place in Indonesia. However Indonesia citizens may have problems if those marriages are mixed religiously.
Glad to see I’m not the only patient atheist married to a Catholic. It’s a trial sometimes, but she’s learned to accept it, and I’ve learned to accept the compromises. I’m proud to say that I don’t pretend. I don’t go to mass, and my kids know why, and when I do go for Chreaster, my mouth stays shut except sometimes for humming along to the tunes. The things we do for love, right? (my mantra: “Charles and Emma, Charles and Emma, Charles and Emma…”)
Is it really religious bigotry to notice that some religions ARE worse than others. Who would you rather get caught blaspheming TFSM or Mohamed ….. lets not even get into cartoons etc
Krystalline Apostate says
Hey, they have gay pride parades too.
Won’t see that in any of the neighboring Arab states, I’ll bet.
The ‘non-mixed religious’ clause is actually pretty common among churches w/control issues. In order to marry my girlfriend, she told me I had to convert. (Inglesia ni Christos, to be exact)
I refused. Point blank. Especially after the outrageous treatment she received when she divorced her psychotic, abusive husband. Mind you, that was back in the day when I did believe, in a lukewarm fashion.
Her current boyfriend is also an atheist, & refuses to convert. It’d be downright amusing, if she wasn’t such a sweet human being.
Al West says
In Indonesia, everyone has to have a religion, even if they don’t believe it. It goes on a citizen’s KTP – identity card. Most of the Indonesians I know put down that they’re Catholics, but they’re mostly atheists. For traditional tribal religions – animist ones – the Indonesian government has decided that they be classified as Hindu. Very strange policies they have.
I find Malaysia stricter about this sort of thing. Beautiful part of the world, though.