Interfaith Peacebuilding


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Interfaith Programs

More Consultations about a Thai Interreligious Council

Bangkok, Thailand - The Committee for the Establishment of an Interreligious Peace Council in Thailand met with the Director-General of the Religious Affair Department of Thailand and the Senior Pastor of of the Ruamnimit Christian Church to consult about the establishment of such a council in preparation for its formation on September 21, 2011.

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On August 15, the committee, which consists of religious leaders, government leaders, and UPF leaders, met with the Director-General of the Religious Affair Department, the Vice Director-General and the Director of the Sub-Department for the Support of Religions at the Ministry of Culture Building. Mr. Sod Daeng-iad, Director-General of the Religious Affairs Department of the Ministry of Culture, welcomed the committee and expressed his agreement with the principles of an interreligious peace council. He said he hoped that such a council could become a model for other nations to follow. As a government organization, his department could offer its support in the expectation that the collaboration of religious people and civil society to promote peace could help government organizations fulfill their goals.

In response, the members of the committee offered their perspectives about the proposed council. Dr. Surideo Tripati, MD, Director of the National Institute for Child and Family Development, explained his research which shows a decline in morality and ethics and expressed the need to apply religious teachings to daily life. He said that government support for the work of such a council would help uplift the Thai people. Mr. Anek Sanamchai, Representative of the Director-General of the Office of National Buddhism, asked the Religious Affairs Department to support the work of the council and send a representative to its meetings. General Dr. Wasu Chanarat, from the Committee of the Association for the Security of Buddhism of Thailand, expressed his belief that Thailand can become a nation known for its morals and virtue and be a model for other nations through the work of an interreligious peace council. Dr. Lek Thaveetermsakul, Secretary General of UPF-Thailand, said that the council would hold its first meeting on the International Day of Peace, September 21, and invited the Director-General to be the guest of honor at the event.

On August 17, the committee met with Rev. Nirut Chankorn to discuss the proposed council and invite him to join it. Rev. Nirut is the founder of the Jaisaman Christian Church, Senior Pastor of the Ruamnimit Christian Church, and President of the Hataitip Foundation. An Evangelical Christian, he owns one of the most popular Christian TV channels in Thailand.

After listening to Dr. Lek’s report about the proposed council, Rev. Nirut expressed his full support and volunteered to join the committee for its establishment. He emphasized that society has many serious problems because of the failure of the religious organizations to guide, teach, and encourage people to practice goodness according to their religious teachings. Stating that God created humankind in His image, he said that if we love Jesus, we have to live for others. If we don’t love others, we don’t love God. He expressed support for anything that helps people transcend differences to live together in peace.

In response, Dr. Lek explained that most business and secular organizations try to collaborate in order to produce the most effective outcomes. However, religious organizations rarely cooperate to promote goodness and peace. The proposed council will facilitate such cooperation. In the end, Rev. Nirut said that the mission of this council to uplift spirituality and morality is challenging but envisions that it will have substantial outcomes and he will invite his members to support it.

With the cooperation and support of the Religious Affairs Department and Rev. Nirut Chankorn, a foundation of cooperation has been established among major Buddhist, Muslim, Hindu, Sikh, and Christians officials and government officials. The committee will hold a conference to establish an Interreligious Peace Council in Thailand on the International Day of Peace, September 21, and invite top leaders of religious organizations, government, and peace organizations to participate.

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