Taiwan was supposed to be the first place in Asia to legalize same-sex marriage. Then, they asked voters. And like countries the world over, the island’s leaders got the same answer: No.
Of the 10 questions on the Taiwanese ballot, none got more attention than the five dealing with LGBT “rights.” “Do you agree that marriage defined in The Civil Code should be restricted to the union between one man and one woman?” voters were asked. An overwhelming portion of the country — 70.1 percent — said yes. Of course, you’ll have a hard time finding the actual number in American newspapers, since our media is doing its best to ignore the landslide. But the message from the country off the east coast of China could not be clearer: there is no significant international movement toward same-sex marriage.
Some people might see the results and think the island has a massive Christian population. They’d be wrong. Less than five percent of the country are Protestants or Catholics. And although they were vocal about their opinion on the issue, the fact of the matter is, most of the world’s population knows how unnatural the idea is. Until 2015, when the Supreme Court forced same-sex on America, LGBT activists here at home insisted the U.S. was outside the mainstream. But the irony is, we’re only outside of the mainstream now that it’s legal! There are 195 countries on this planet, and only 27 of them allow same-sex marriage. That’s 13 percent — hardly the stuff of global consensus.
Besides, not even global consensus is a substitute for truth. And as the Archbishop John Hung Shan-chuan of Taipei told his church’s leaders, no law can change God’s design for marriage. While the Church does not condone discrimination, he said, “We cannot support same-sex ‘marriage’ and same-sex unions,” he insisted. “The legalization is… not in line with our teachings.”
Seven thousand miles away in America, the vote is having an interesting effect on our own debate. In a country where natural marriage is still the popular view, it’s become difficult — if not impossible — to voice those views without backlash. Scott Chen, who was educated in Taiwan, found that out when he posted a message about the vote in Chinese. “Some people think that marriage is a holy union between a man and a woman, I think so too, but that’s your own business.” You can imagine how well that would be taken by the LGBT movement if Chen were an average businessman. They’d demand his resignation. The problem is, Chen isn’t just an average businessman. Three months ago, he was named president of an app facilitating same-sex dating. For how much longer, after this backlash, no one knows.
Chen tried to defend himself. “I said marriage is a holy matrimony between a man and a woman is based on my own personal experience,” he said. “I am a straight man married to a woman I love and I have two beautiful daughters I love from the marriage. This is how I feel about my marriage. Different people have their different feelings about their marriages. You can’t deny my feelings about my marriage.”
Now, we expect that kind of backtracking from a lot of people in corporate America. The problem for believers, however, is that some Christians are doing the same thing. They become so intimidated by the cultural bullies that they put the fear of man above the fear of God. They shrink back and go silent on truth that is found not only in the Bible, but history and science as well. If Christians, who know the truth and are called to speak the truth ignore the truth, then what hope do we have? As a church in this country, we need a clarion call for courage. In a culture where 62 percent of student conservatives are too afraid to share their ideas in class, America is in a crisis situation.
Fortunately, this country has a president who, when it comes to doing and saying the tough things, refuses to be intimidated. That kind of courage breeds courage. It only takes one person — an Isabella Chow — doing something radically brave, to help others find their voice. And before you know it, people like Isabella won’t be standing alone, because tens of thousands of people will be standing with them and behind them, inspired by their bravery. We need more Isabellas in this country — and if we’re going to change anything, we need them now.
Tony Perkins’ Washington Update is written with the aid of FRC senior writers.
EDITORS NOTE: This column with images is republished with permission.