This paper concerns the religious activities of administrative agencies in Thai Government. It attempts to show the relation between religion and state in Thailand from a different perspective. Various studies on Thai Buddhism have been conducted to explore this relation. These have focused on, among others, the relationship between Sangha and monarchy, movements of political monks, and use of Sangha by the state. However, these studies stress the Buddhist categories of monks and laity. Sometimes this set of concepts is merged with a modern Westernized secularized concept of religious organization and state or religion and politics. This may lead to reduced concern for religious activities undertaken by the Thai government itself.
Contemporary Thailand is not a very secularized society and does not strictly follow the principle of separation of state and religious organizations. There are cases where administrative agencies carry out religious activities, such as the promulgation of Buddhist moral education in public schools by the Ministry of Education and welfare work related to Buddhism by the Ministry of Social Development and Human Security. This paper thus offers a trial approach to analyze these phenomena and to construct some concepts applicable to the case of other countries.
Keywords: Religion and the State, Administrative Agencies, Official Religion
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