LGBT Debate in Indo Reveals Commonalities Among Muslims and Christians

Anggi and Zach

I recently became friends with Dwi Anggia, the evening news anchor for Jakarta TvOne.  She answers to Anggi, as most Muslims don’t have traditional sir names or last names like we do in the states, so you sort of pick the name you prefer to be called. Anggi has been a great resource for all of my questions relating to Indo traditions, customs and most importantly, food.

In addition to anchoring the news, Anggi hosts a live political debate show on Monday nights, appropriately called Debat. Not coincidentally, and in light of the recent US Supreme Court Decision, the topic this past week was LGBT marriage and Anggi was kind enough to invite me to attend.

What I found fascinating about this debate was that even though I could only understand every 3rd or 4th word, I knew exactly what was being discussed because I’d seen it play out so many times before. The usual suspects were divided up exactly like you would expect, two religious conservatives armed with a stack of citations from the Koran on one side, and on the other, a liberal educator and a LGBT activist armed with only logic, reason and a benevolent belief in equality.

Notice the underlined word above. If you were to substitute it with the word Bible, this is the same debate you’ve seen as well, not just on TV, but in your places of employment, the bars and restaurants you frequent, your social media pages and even your own dinner tables.

In discussing the subject with Anggi, it appears to me that Indo is currently at, or about, where America was prior to Ellen coming out on her show in the mid 90s. The majority of the population here are devout Muslims, 88% in fact, making it the largest Muslim country in the world with over 204 million nationwide. There are twice as many Muslims in Indo than Iran and Iraq combined. Many believe, as most devout American Christians, that homosexuality is forbidden because their particular doctrine has been interpreted to say it is so. It’s also worth mentioning here that The Bible and The Koran share many commonalities, a point that earned Pope Francis harsh criticism from many of his followers after he was photographed kissing a copy of the Koran given to him following a meeting with Muslim leaders.

"For centuries, blood has been needlessly shed because of the desire to segregate our faiths. This, however, should be the very concept which unites us as people, as nations, and as a world bound by faith. Together, we can bring about an unprecedented age of peace, all we need to achieve such a state is respect each others beliefs, for we are all children of God regardless of the name we choose to address him by." ~Pope Francis. Do you love this guy, or what?
“For centuries, blood has been needlessly shed because of the desire to segregate our faiths. This, however, should be the very concept which unites us as people, as nations, and as a world bound by faith. Together, we can bring about an unprecedented age of peace, all we need to achieve such a state is respect each others beliefs, for we are all children of God regardless of the name we choose to address him by.” ~Pope Francis. Do you love this guy, or what?

It also appears that a majority of Indonesian Muslims have rather primitive beliefs as to the nature of homosexuality. Muslims, like many American Christians, believe that the LGBT lifestyle is learned as opposed to being born into. They’re afraid that gays in classrooms or broadcast on TV will corrupt their youth and turn them gay, as if anyone would conscientiously want to choose a lifestyle different from that of their friends and family.

The debate progressed as they often do, the religious conservatives aggressively constructing their arguments, sometimes grandstanding with a closed fist, while the liberals countered more passively with their own counter-points. A majority of the audience sided with the conservative opinion, but there were a fair amount of students that applauded the liberal side.

After 60 minutes of heated rhetoric that kept Anggi on the edge of her 8cm heals, the debate ended, inevitably, as all of the LGTB debates you’ve seen before.  Although both parties shook hands, neither said, “you might be right.” There were no moments of enlightenment.  No one congratulated the other with a “good point, I’ll give that more consideration.” And ultimately, everyone went home, blood pressure spiked, but with beliefs unchanged.

When it comes to debates, whether televised on a major network or perpetuated in our dining rooms or social media pages, we should all try to focus less on winning and more on understanding.  Listen more and talk less. Ask rather than tell and replace aggression with empathy.

In the end, despite our particular faiths or sexual orientation, we’re all pretty nice people and we share more commonalities than we do differences. We’re doting husbands and loving fathers. We’re caregivers and soccer moms. We’re grandparent with intentions to love and spoil. We’re students aspiring to change the world. We’re news anchors educating consumers on what is relevant. We’re chiropractors in Indonesia trying to learn a few things, and we’re all, without question, searching for love – a fact that should NEVER be debated.

Something else we can all agree upon is that progress is inevitable and, in my brief 40 years, I’ve seen no progress in intolerance. Equality always wins. This is not an attempt to get the last word, I just refuse to believe we are bound to a future that exploits our differences rather than celebrates them.

Our world isn’t as big as it used to be. If you don’t believe me, just leave a comment. You’ll get your response within a day, all the way from Jakarta. You’d get it sooner, but I’m busy asking my own questions.

If you like what you’ve read, please share.

She show is shot live in front of an audience of mostly student. Two or three questions are taken from the audience.
She show is shot live in front of an audience of mostly student. Two or three questions are taken from the audience.

Guess Dr. Zs Rent in Indonesia and Win 300,000Rp


Green bay apartmentsHere’s the deal. To encourage people to sign up for my brand new newsletter, I thought it’d be fun to give away a whopping 300,000Rp to whomever can guess my monthly rent here in Indo. The newsletter is part of my new blog site that you’re currently viewing. Please take a look around. The theme of the site is a bit hard to define. I’ll certainly cover plenty of health and wellness related topics as that’s kinda what I’m here to do, but I want to reach beyond that to cover issues like personal growth and discovery, which is also what I’m here to do; to find myself, if you will. Some of us are a bit slow in doing that, but 40 is better than 50, right?

How do you go about claiming the 300,000Rp grand prize? Just sign up for my newsletter to the left and leave your guess in the comments section below. If you share the post to Facebook or social media you can leave two guesses (and I will verify the share if you win, so no cheating). Or, if you’re participating from my Private Weight Loss Support Page on Facebook (now over 1500 members), the prize is a free 40-Day Diet Package from InsideOut Wellness that includes my book, HCG 2.0 – Don’t Starve, Eat Smart and Lose.

Make your guess in American Dollars and don’t round off, guess it to the penny. The reason I say that is because I’ll be converting the rent payment from Indonesian Rupiah to American Dollars using the current conversion rate of 13,304Rp to $1 American. Don’t hurt yourself with the math. I have a calculator for that. Just make your guess and post it in the comments section below. To help you form your guess, I made a list of the amenities.

Amenities and Details of My Apartment

I’m in a 2 bedroom apartment on the 9th floor of a 40 story high rise in an area of Jakarta called Pluit City. It’s not the central business district, which is the high rent area of Jakarta, but the ocean setting does add value. However, my apartment is not on the ocean side view of the building, which makes it a little more of a bargain. I gotta watch my budget, can’t get too fancy. There are 8 building in my complex, all surrounding a 5 story mega-mall called Bay Walk Mall, Green Bay, Pluit. Asians have some pretty amazing malls and this is one of them. Malls aren’t really my style, but when in Asia…

Amenities include laundry service and dry cleaning (not included in rent, but it’s delivered to your door) a pool, fitness center, and basketball court. There are several pools within the 8 building complex and some of the other buildings have tennis courts, a track and sand volleyball. I can walk across the catwalk and into the mall which has a Farmer’s Market and over 50 restaurants. I also have a couple of bars with free Wifi directly below me. I plan on doing a lot of writing there.

My apartment is only 400sq/ft, but it’s fully furnished with two bedrooms, one bath, a 32 inch flat screen TV with cable included, and a full kitchen. Pics are below. Make your guess. The 300,000Rp will be awarded in the form of a Amazon gift certificate. Winners will be announced late Wednesday, June 9th.

One again, if you’re a member of the Facebook Support Group, you can essentially win both prizes so you may want to ask join. Good luck!

Hint – I’m not known to be flashy with my money. I’ve been called cheap by more than 1 or 2 girlfriends.

master bedroom for rent
Master bedroom – Where all the magic doesn’t happen.
2 bedroom apartment Jakarta
My full kitchen and with bar. I recently set off the fire alarm on my floor because I wasn’t aware that the fan must be turned on when cooking. That’s one way to meet the neighbors.
rental prices in Jakarta
Living room and spare bedroom beyond. Free cable – about half the channels are in English. I get Fox sports, which runs baseball in tape delay. I saw the Cardinals lose the to Doyers last week. They’ve since redeemed themselves.
Green bay apartments
The pools is surrounded by high rises, but it gets some good sun between noon and 2.
rental property pluit city jarkarta
It was pure luck that my building was the one with the basketball court. I’m considering holding a clinic – literally and figuratively.
jarkarta rent Bay Walk Mall
This is the view from the ocean side of my building and Bay Walk Mall. This little peninsula is about the only beach in Jakarta as it is mostly a pretty dirty port. Jakarta has been a port since it was founded settled by the Dutch. The Indonesian Islands are what was once know as the Spice Islands and were very lucrative for trading. The high rises that sort of mimic the sail of a ship are called the Rumah Dihual Apartments and Condos. They’re pretty high dollar.
green bay view jakarta
This is shot of my complex from the Ojek, which is a motor bike taxi. It’s about the same as a cab, but twice as fast as you can zip between traffic. Pretty exciting for a nerd like me with no bike experience. That’s Dr. Ricky with the thumbs up.