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'Being Neutral Means Standing for Justice'

In Thai society, religion is seen as unrelated to politics. The current political conflict is destroying our society and divided the people, but religious organizations are passive about it. "Being neutral" is seen as not doing anything - which is wrong.

To be neutral means standing on the side of justice. If we are the judge and our children are accused, we listen to all the facts, then we have to dare to judge our children and, if necessary, punish them without any bias because justice is not neutral.

The present situation is critical. Religious organizations need to help solve the problem and stop the violence. Compare this with students who are quarrelling and they all have weapons. We have to dare to deal with this with peaceful means. We have to manage the conflict.

In conflict management, we may get hurt or put ourselves in danger, but this is normal. Jesus Christ tells us not to be afraid to be accused or get injured in our efforts to build peace.

What's happening now is that religious organizations are not being the conscience of the people. They see [the present crisis] as a political problem and believe that religion shouldn't be involved in politics. However, we need to understand what is politics.

Politics here means managing benefits for different groups in society. In the proper exchange of benefits, there needs to be a mediator. The mediator needs to have negotiation skills to build peace and justice in society. This mediator acts as the politician.

If politicians don't have morals and ethics, definitely there will be dissatisfaction among some groups because they feel oppressed, and this leads to conflict in society. There is a need for the Church to dare to tell politicians when they do wrong, when they oppress the people. This is an issue of justice, not just a political issue.

Church needs to be involved in political issues

We need to be involved in political issues that have an impact on people and society. This involvement is nothing to do with seeking power but we get involved to build justice and peace in society.

Being involved in this current situation does not mean we have to take sides. It does mean we distinguish between what is right and what is wrong. Besides we need to provide correct information and understanding of the current situation.

Together we analyze the problem and seek solutions. The Church needs to be neutral, but we also need to be active.

Being neutral has to be done in an active, not a passive way. If we organize prayers for peace, we have to make the public aware of this. We do not just pray as individuals or in our own groups. This can't create peace in society.