The Words of the Kittel Family

Taiwan's inter-religious effort to counter sexual liberalization

Yi-Sheng Jou and Robert Kittel
December 2013

Three hundred thousand people took part in the demonstration against legalizing same-sex marriage across the street from the Presidential Office in Taipei, Taiwan.

The Taiwan Alliance to Promote Civil Partnership Rights (TAPCPR) initiated the Bill on Various Forms of Civil Partnerships, Including Same-Sex Marriage. As an abbreviation, they call it the Marriage Equality Bill, but the foundation that the bill stands on is not equality but free sex. Implementing it could mean the legalization of promiscuous families in Taiwan.

Protestants and Catholics combined are only about 5 percent of the population in Taiwan. These two branches of Christianity wanted to attract the support of people from different faiths to oppose these bills. The Christians involved understood that the Unification Church in Taiwan has created a strong inter-religious base. Thus, they took the initiative to reach out to us in conjunction with Buddhist, Taoist, Confucian, Islamic and other religious organizations to form the Taiwan Inter-religious Confederation for Cherishing Family (TICCF). They proposed that Rev. Chen Tuo Huan, vice-president of UPF, be the convener of the confederation and that Dr. Chang Chuan-Fong, vice-president of FFWPU be the spokesperson. This historic event represents Christianity, as Cain, cooperating with the Unification Church, as Abel, and out their own volition asking the Unification Church to take the lead in TICCF.

Fo Guang Shan is the second largest Buddhist group in Taiwan. In the past, we had no way to connect to them or invite them to join our activities. Their top leaders worried over the homosexual marriage issue and the sexual liberalization movement but they had no way to confront it. When we called their leaders, they were so pleased to send more than 1,500 people to support our November 30 demonstration. After that, they even called TBVS television to protest the stations lack of coverage of the event.

The same-sex marriage issue opened the way to cooperation with Christianity and united religions in Taiwan. The creation of TICCF is the astonishing work of our Heavenly Parent and True Father in the spiritual world combined with True Mother's fervent prayers on earth.

On September 7, as a publicity stunt, homosexual activists staged a symbolic wedding banquet with same-sex couples in front of the Presidential Office Building on Taipei's Ketagalan Boulevard. That same afternoon, Taiwanese religious groups, united in their determination to protect the spiritual health of the nation, held a press conference to voice our loud opposition and to proclaim the establishment of TICCF. Many articles appeared in online and print media, describing the homosexual demonstration that had taken place, including the opposition that arose from religious organizations.

On September 16, Taiwan Formosa Television (FIT) aired a current affairs news program, FTV Dissent Hall, which explored the Bill on Various Forms of Civil Partnerships, Including Same-Sex Marriage. FTV interviewed Dr. Chang, the TICCF spokesperson in an effort to understand the reasons that we oppose the bill. Yet supporting homosexuality is the present tendency of the media in Taiwan because the gay movement has worked hard at public relations for a long time. We had overlooked this issue and misunderstood the seriousness of the threat to society.

September 7: The press conference announcing TICCF's formation; at right is Dr. Chuan Fong Chang, vice-president of the church in Taiwan.

The Source and History of the Bills

The director of TAPCPR, Victoria Hsu, is an attorney at law. She formulated the "package" within the bill that is being proposed. The three bills within the package would legalize same-sex marriages, civil unions and multi-person marriages. "We want a truly new and equal choice -- for all people to be able to choose a system that is more flexible than marriage," Hsu said in a recent interview. How flexible do they envision marriage could be? Several heterosexuals and several homosexuals of both sexes in one group-marriage would be possible. Some in Taiwan have compared the concept of a multi- person marriage to the old and also detrimental Chinese tradition of a married man keeping multiple concubines in addition to his wife. When asked about this, Hsu responded, "That's quite patriarchal and out of date. We have to modernize it and make it more democratic." Seven legislators from the Democratic Progressive Party, the main opposition party, are pressing to have the bills passed. Twenty-two legislators, out of 113, signed the draft of the bill package to show their support.

To pass into law in Taiwan, a proposed bill goes through three readings in the Legislative Yuan, the legislative branch of Taiwan's national government. At the first reading, only the title is announced aloud in the chamber. If a congress member is introducing the bill, he or she may briefly summarize it. After the reading and a general discussion, a bill may be sent to appropriate committees for scrutiny or proceed directly to the second reading. The committees would analyze the bill and perhaps hold hearings at which interested parties would present material in support of either passing or rejecting the bill. Transcripts of these hearings would be made available to all members of the Legislative Yuan. The second reading the bill is read and thoroughly discussed. Revisions may be made through the process of the first and second reading. The third reading

Of the three bills submitted, only the same-sex marriage bill passed the first reading. It then proceeded to the Legislature's Judiciary and Organic Laws and Statutes Committee for review. (Perhaps, it was only a matter of strategy to propose the extreme group-marriage bill, making the same-sex marriage bill seem relatively innocuous.) All that needs to be done to enact the same-sex marriage provision is to change a few words of Article 972 of the civil code, which currently defines marriage as a contract between "the man and the woman

Taiwanese Citizens' Signatures

On September 18, in the Legislative Yuan building, housing the Republic of China's unicameral legislature, we held a second press conference to launch a signature campaign with the slogan, One Million People Petition to Safeguard the Family. More than twenty religious organizations attended to support it. More than twenty reporters from various news agencies came to the press conference.

Our official web site uses the name Safeguard the Family Alliance. It promotes traditional marriage and the traditional family as one man and one woman (one husband and one wife) and opposes the various forms of civil partnership.

At the press conference, we clearly explained the reasons that the bills from the homosexual movement will eventually lead Taiwan to the stage of destroying the family, abolishing the marriage system and causing Taiwan to become a free sex kingdom. We also presented a visual analysis of how same-sex marriage could negatively impinge upon Taiwanese society. After the press conference, that the media from the primary networks reported, in a manner suggesting approval, the viewpoint of the religious organizations opposing the bills is significant. Yet the main newspapers did not cover it.

Blessed members aggressively sought signatures from those opposed to the package of bills. Christians and other religious groups mobilized as well and worked with our members. By November 30, the day of the main demonstration, we had 550,000 signatures. The momentum of the signature drive made a strong impression on the government and legislators, who felt the pressure. Though some of the legislators would not have dared to speak out against the proposed bills before, when TICCF representatives visited the office of some legislators in the Kuomintang Party, they all now stated that they would back our efforts to quash the bills. As of December 13, we had 630,000 signatures.

A Unification Church contingent among the crowd of 300,000 at the November 30 anti-same-sex marriage demonstration

Preparation for the Main Demonstration

Christian groups took the lead in holding marches to oppose same-sex marriage and sexual liberalism in the cities of Taitung and Hualien, both on the Taiwan's west coast, as well as in Changhua County on the east coast. Many press conferences were held to promote our cause and to awaken the nation to the impending danger from legislation that would irrevocably change Taiwanese society for the worse.

Finally, on November 22, President Ma spoke at a press conference at the Foreign Correspondents' Club of Taiwan. Though he speaks English well, after his opening statement, he responded in Chinese to questions posed in English. When asked about the same sex issue, President Ma and Premier Jiang stated clearly that Taiwan is not now receptive to changing the law and allowing same-sex marriage. The president, speaking to foreign journalists, reminded them that when he was mayor of Taipei in the 1990s, his was the only city in the world whose government funded gay rights activities. Nevertheless, he expressed the view that it would take "a high degree of consensus" to make same-sex marriage legal in Taiwan.

The governing Kuomintang Party also held a press conference to oppose same-sex marriages on November 29.

The Unification Church held two preparatory meetings before the demonstration and invited many religious leaders and social leaders, parents' groups and students' leaders. The guests realized that the gay movement is not just about same sex marriage or same-sex civil union. We explained how a sexual liberalization movement was underway, entering the education system and influencing the high reaches of our government.

The November 30 Demonstration

We had aimed to draw two hundred thousand people to the demonstration in front of the Presidential Office Building, but nearer to three hundred thousand came. I think a key point of our success was our change of focus from opposing same sex marriage to opposing sexual liberalization for the happiness of our next generation. The Christians arranged a very good program. TICCF religious representatives, some legislators, mayors, lawyers, students and entertainers spoke out to advocate healthy sex education, to maintain marriage between a man and a woman, so as to leave light and warmth to our next generation.

The people all wore face masks, symbolizing the "silent majority," the opponents to the same-sex issue among the Taiwanese public and the media. The impression had been that only Christians opposed the change in 972. The huge crowd encouraged opponents not to be silent any longer. At one point, everyone removed the mask and spoke out bravely.

Made in Daddy + Mommy -- a member of the no-longer-silent majority takes a stance against same-sex marriage.

The demonstration's aftermath

Internal union formed between Christians and the Unification Church through TICCF and our work together on the signature campaign. Around that core, other groups also united with us. Our unity clearly emerged in the successful demonstration and in the celebratory banquet held on December 1. Thirty religious and social leaders, including Regional President Yong and Special Envoy Hong, two key Unification Church leaders that contributed their wisdom and prayerful guidance. Everyone agreed to march forward continuing to fight against infiltration of the free sex movement especially into governmental offices.

Initiated by the outstretched hand of our Christian brethren, unprecedented unity was reached between our church and Christians. Dr. Chuan Fong Chang, vice-president of FFWPU-Taiwan continues to meet regularly with leaders of the Catholic and Lutheran faiths. We must organize blessed families and resources from each religious group effectively and reply to the challenge to our nation from the sexual liberalization movement. 

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