Mon, Nov 18, 2013 - Page 8 News List

It is time to embrace full family diversity

By Lee Yen-fan 李彥範

The draft bill for “diverse family formation” (多元成家) has been a topic of much debate, and has created a lot of turbulence in Christian churches. Some churches have posted videos opposing the bill on their Facebook pages, telling members to share the videos as widely as possible. A chief physician at my hospital who goes to my church wrote an article urging hospital staff to sign an online petition opposing the bill and supporting the existing marriage system. On Sept. 18, Christian ministers held a press conference with leaders of other major religious groups to urge the public to oppose the bill.

The First Commandment states: “You shall have no other gods before me,” and in none of the stories in the Bible do Christians collaborate with people of other faiths. For Christian ministers to put aside this separation and join hands with religious rivals was an eye-opener that confused me.

I understand that some Christian leaders hope to participate in political reform to help promote justice and love of God in Taiwan and so they make every effort to support any activities in opposition to same-sex marriage.

The question is if they really have such great passion for all kinds of political reform. The Bible says that a husband and wife are no longer two, but one: “What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate.” So I wonder why Christian leaders do not push for an amendment to ban divorce. After all, Taiwan’s divorce rate is the third-highest in the world, with an average of 153 couples filing for divorce every day.

If you have been working at a hospital long enough, you will see that often the people who sit at patients’ bedsides taking care of them are neighbors, fellow veterans, unmarried partners of many years or members from the same church. They may have even lived together under one roof, treating each other as family.

However, do you know what kind of treatment hospitals accord these companions? Because they are not the patients’ parents, spouses or biological children, they cannot be given details of the patient’s condition, or allowed to sign consent forms for medical exams or surgery — the right to make medical decisions rests solely with blood relatives who may be far away and who may even have abandoned the patients at the hospital.

Think of it this way: Jesus is receiving treatment at a hospital one day, but the attending physician refuses to reveal his condition to his 12 apostles. No matter how anxious or close they are, they have no right to know his condition since they have no legal relationship.

In 2004, the Presbyterian Church in Taiwan released the results of a study declaring that homosexuality is not a sin.

Of course, everyone has the right to show their support for or opposition to same-sex marriage. However, I am a Christian, and I truly hope that the legislature will pass the third reading of the bill for diversity in family formation.

Lee Yen-fan is an associate head nurse.


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