While various Christian groups and individuals have opposed legalizing same-sex marriage in the past week ahead of a demonstration against a change to the law scheduled for today, a dozen Christian preachers yesterday voiced their support for the proposal, urging Christians not to take part in the rally.
“We are here to change the stereotypical image that all Christians are against legalizing same-sex marriage,” Chu Yueh-hsin (朱約信), a deacon at Presbyterian Church of Taiwan, told a news conference at the Legislative Yuan in Taipei.
“We have to confess that many Christians are part of the repression of gays, but there are Christians who are brave enough to speak up for them,” he added.
Singing the song Whispering Hope with fellow deacons at the press conference, Chu said Christians should “listen to the whisper of Jesus Christ, he is telling us not to join the demonstration tomorrow [today].”
“The voices of hope and truth are usually just whispers,” he said.
Simon Cheng (鄭國忠), a preacher of the Taiwan Justice Action Church, said that legalizing same-sex marriage would not harm traditional marriage, “rather, it would allow more people to be in a marriage.”
“You should not pretend you do not see other people out there,” Cheng said. “Jesus Christ was paraded through the streets and died for our sins, yet you [opponents of same-sex marriage] parade on the streets in judgement of others.”
“You may oppose gay marriage because of your beliefs, but you should not be opposed to it when the group of people is fighting for their civil rights — religion and civil rights are two different things,” said Chen Si-hao (陳思豪), a preacher from Guting Presbyterian Church.
“We Christians are opposed to idolatry, but can we push for legislation to ban everyone from worshiping idols? Of course not,” he said.
The first homosexual ordained to be a preacher in Taiwan, Elias Tseng (曾恕敏) of Tong-Kwang Light House Presbyterian Church said the Bible teaches Christians to “love your neighbors as you love yourself.”
“If heterosexual couples can be legally married, why can’t Christians love their homosexual neighbors and let them enjoy the right to be legally married?” he said.
Stephen Hsu (徐信得), a preacher at Taipei Trinity Church, said the Bible teaches Christians to “love your enemies,” however, Christians who are opposed to gay marriage are doing the opposite.
“Some countries legalized gay marriage years ago and those countries have not seen the total destruction of the family system as many Christians in Taiwan worry,” Hsu said.
Democratic Progressive Party Legislator Hsiao Bi-khim (蕭美琴), who proposed the amendments to legalize same-sex marriage, said that she hopes the press conference will assure homosexual Christians that they have not been abandoned by the church, while also ensuring that no one in society would suffer because of their ethnicity, gender, color or sexual orientation.
Separately yesterday in another press conference, Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) legislators Kung Wen-chi (孔文吉) of the Seediq aboriginal people, Chien Tung-ming (簡東明) of the Paiwan tribe and Sra Kacaw of the Amis tribe expressed their opposition to legalizing same-sex marriage.
Tsai Liang-chih (蔡良志), a preacher of the China Free Methodist Church in Pingtung, said that “a family with a husband and a wife is God’s design and that should not be changed.
Wang Ta-ching (王大慶), another preacher, said: “There is no need to change traffic regulations to make everyone drive on the left side of the road just because a few people prefer to drive on the left.”
Meanwhile, in related developments, Hsieh Shu-mei (謝淑美), student affairs director of Xinzhuang Senior High School in New Taipei City (新北市), said two volunteers at the school, who are members of a Christian organization called Rainbow Heaven, had posted an invitation for students to take part in the anti-gay marriage demonstration on a Facebook page without permission.
Hsieh said that they created the page using the school’s name.
Rainbow Heaven said that it was unaware of the behavior of its members and said they should apologize for their actions.