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Facebook in Indonesia: "God Doesn't Exist" post brings on harsh beating

Civil servant may be fired, forced to repent and officially pick a religion
Facebook in indonesia 01 20 2012Enlarge
A young Facebook user logs on at an internet shop in Jakarta on February 17, 2010. Indonesia is considering proposals to block internet sites that are deemed to violate 'public decency' and privacy. (ROMEO GACAD/AFP/Getty Images)

If you plan to suggest that God doesn't exist on Facebook in Indonesia, be prepared to run.

A 31-year-old Indonesian government employee was chased down and badly beaten for posting that "God does not exist" on his Facebook page, according to the Jakarta Globe.

But don't expect his attackers to catch charges. It's the Facebooking atheist, not his pursuers, who now faces five years in prison for blasphemy. He may also lose his job, according to the Post.

Given the particulars of Indonesian law, it's likely that the man will be forced to repent and swear allegiance to Islam. Or, if that doesn't suit him, he can choose from the approved religions sanctioned by "Pancasila," the nation's founding state philosophy, which recognizes Islam, Christianity, Confucianism, Buddhism and Hinduism.

As this case suggests, if you want to be openly atheist in Indonesia, you might have to do so from inside a prison cell.

By the way, the guy's Facebook page "Ateis Minang" is still up. You'll see posts (in Indonesian) exploring cellular biology and celebrating the atheist actor who portrays Harry Potter.