The head of Thailand’s religious affairs office expressed his appreciation of the work of Christians across the country, especially in the “peripheries of society.”
“To show God’s love, you provide so many social services in many parts of the country, especially those in the peripheries of the society,” said Kriengkrai Boonyasith, director general of Thailand’s Department of Religious Affairs.
The government official met with representatives of five main Christian denominations on December 20 as the country prepares to celebrate Christmas.
Kriengkrai said he is deeply touched by the meaning of Christmas. “Jesus was born as a gift from God to humanity. His life and teachings are so beautiful,” he said.
“He loves us so much and redeems us from sin by dying on the cross,” said the country’s religious affairs chief.
Kriengkrai used the occasion to express his “deep appreciation” to see Christian unity in Thailand through the acts of mercy, such as providing food and basic needs to families who suffer from the pandemic.
Christians in Thailand comprise less than one percent of the country’s population, which is mostly Buddhist.
There is no official state religion in the Thai Constitution, which guarantees religious freedom for all citizens, although the king is required by law to be a Buddhist.
The Department of Religious Affairs is entrusted by law with the responsibility to conduct religious affairs in the country by “preserving, promoting, supporting, and protecting” Buddhism and other religions approved by the authorities.
It supports and develops knowledge side by side with good values, and promotes good understanding and unity among followers of all religions. It also enhances the application of religious tenets and values to everyday life.