Do you have your heresy app?


If you sometimes wonder what the Middle Ages would have been like if they magically acquired modern technology (here’s an alt-history concept for all you budding sci-fi writers), you can see what happens when modern technology meets medieval attitudes:

A new Indonesian government app that lets the public report suspected cases of religious heresy is drawing fire as rights groups warn it could aggravate persecution of minorities in the world’s biggest Muslim-majority nation.

Users of the app can report groups practicing unrecognised faiths or unorthodox interpretations of Indonesia’s six officially recognised religions, including Islam, Hinduism, Christianity and Buddhism.

“Smart Pakem”, which was launched Sunday and is available for free in the Google Play store, was created by the Jakarta Prosecutor’s Office, which said it would help educate the public and modernise the current reporting process.

The app will also list religious edicts and blacklisted organisations and will allow users to file complaints instantaneously, instead going through the often cumbersome process of submitting a written accusation to a government office.

Imagine how popular this would have been in a distant past: “Smart Pakem, I want to report two Arians congregating and whispering together on the corner”. Meanwhile, here in the West we don’t need a specific app per se – all the social media is a one giant arena where people report and get outraged about all sorts of heresies, albeit mostly of secular nature (though there is a good case to be made that various leftist dogmas are treated by their adherents as religions). Not that many on the left wouldn’t like a similar app where you can dob in a work colleague who has made an insensitive remark or your neighbour who’s sceptical about the anthropogenic climate change. Particularly if you could link it to the Chinese Communist Party-style “social credit score” system. With the ability to earn bonus points for reporting heretics.