IN THE NAME OF DEMOCRACY: Commoditization of Religions by Political Parties in Indonesia

Purwo Santoso


Religion plays an important but problematic role in complying with the prevailing global standard of liberal democracy. The root of the problem is actually the shortcut in institutionalizing political party as a modern set up for individual participation in public affairs. Despite its institutional defect, political parties officially serve as the only legitimate channel to enter the state through open competition. Hence, the need to win election resulted in mobilization of religious-based support, and religion serves more as commodity for solidarity making, rather than set of fundamental values. This paper examines the political pactices in bringing the principles of both democracy and religion into daily real life. It particularly focuses on the exercises of commoditizing religion by political parties. This commoditization of religion can be taken as clear evidence, the paper argues, that religion is ill-treated by the underperforming political parties.


Institutionalization; political party; commoditization; general election

Full Text:



Bibby, John F. Politics, Parties and Elections in America. Chicago: Nelson-Hall Publishers, 1992.

Ebersole, Luke. “Religion and Politics.” Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, Vol. 332 (1960): pp. 101-111.

Feith, Herbert. Pemilihan Umum 1955 di Indonesia. Jakarta: Gramedia Jakarta, 1999.

----------, Lance Castel. Pemikiran Politik Indonesia 1945-1965. Jakarta: LP3ES, 1988.

Hague, R, Harrop M, Breslin S. Political Science: a Comparative Introduction. New York: Worth Publishers, 1998.

Johnson Tan, Paige. Party Rooting, Political Operators, and Instability in Indonesia: A Consideration of Party System Institutionalization in a Communally Charged Society. A Paper Presented to the Southern Political Science Association, New Orleans, Louisiana, January 10, 2004.

Kusuma, Erwien & Khairul (eds). Pancasila dan Islam: Perdebatan antara Parpol dalam Penyusunan Dasar Negara di Dewan Konsituante. Jakarta: Baur Publishing, 2008.

Monroe, Kristen R., Anthony Downs. The Economic Approach to Politics: a Critical Reassessment of the Theory of Rational Action. New York: HarperCollins, 1991.

Mulkhan, Abdul Munir. Politik Santri: Cara Menang Merebut Hati Rakyat. Yogyakarta: Kanisius, 2009.

Philpott, Simon. Rethinking Indonesia: Postcolonial Theory, Authoritarianism and Identity. New York: McMillan Press, 2000.

Rosenblum, Nancy L. “Religious Parties, Religious Identity, and the Cold Shoulder of Liberal Democratic Thought.” Ethical Theory and Moral Practice, Vol. 6, No 1 (March 2003): pp. 23-53.

Stepan, Alfred. “Religion, Democracy and the Twin Toleration.” in Marc. F. Platner and Philip I. Costopoulos (eds). Wolrd Religions and Democracy. Baltimore: The John Hopkins University Press, Baltimore, 2005.

DOI: 10.15642/JIIS.2010.4.1.91-108


  • There are currently no refbacks.

Indexed by:


Creative Commons License

View My Stats

Journal of Indonesian Islam (ISSN 1978-6301 and E-ISSN 2355-6994) is published by the Postgraduate Program (PPs) and the Institute for the Study of Religion and Society (LSAS), State Islamic University (UIN) of Sunan Ampel Surabaya.

Journal of Indonesian Islam by is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

Copyright ©2020 State Islamic University (UIN) of Sunan Ampel Surabaya. Powered by Public Knowledge Project OJS.