Thursday, February 27, 2014

A Uganda model for Taiwan’s homosexual ‘problem’

A Christian leader in Kaohsiung praises the recent signing of laws in Uganda that impose life imprisonment for homosexuals. And he wishes the Taiwanese government could be as ‘courageous’

Really, the fundamental Christians in Taiwan never cease to impress. Every week now, one of them somewhere does or says something that, had he not purportedly ascended to heaven, would have made their Lord Jesus turn in his grave — or his grotto, or whatever. Their favorite target, of course, is other people’s sexuality, especially when it concerns two people of the same sex.

In the lead-up to the reprehensible events of 1130, those groups already gave us a flavor of their thoughts by conjuring a variety of lies to make their case that allowing gay unions would destroy family values and society in general. In the weeks after the protest, my investigations uncovered worrying links between the Christian organizations here and extremist Evangelical groups in the U.S., chief among them International House of Prayer (IHOP). The deeper I looked into the matter, the more evidence I found that IHOP and likeminded organizations, many of them advocating Dominionism, were slowly recruiting and infiltrating Taiwanese preachers and churches, while helping orchestrate mass “Asia For Jesus” events this year (which according to some of them should be the year of the “rise of the Christian family”).

IHOP, of course, made the news in recent months for its advocacy of laws in Uganda that, in the extreme, would impose the death penalty for homosexuals, or long prison sentences if such measures could not be passed.

I’d already uncovered the existence of a IHOP center in Taoyuan, and exposed some preachers who had gone through the process of indoctrination, sometimes with the financial assistance of a wealthy Taiwanese female entrepreneur (herself a devout Christian) whose brand of cell phones I shall never buy again.   

As it turns out, there is also a Kaohsiung House of Prayer (KHOP), and Pastor Van Weng, described as “young” and “charismatic,” has made it clear to us all that his views on homosexuality in Taiwan are as Precambrian as are those of IHOP elsewhere. In a post this week, Van Weng, or PVW, as I choose to call him, praised Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni for his “bravery” in signing the anti-gay bill on Feb. 24 that imposes life sentences for gay sex and same-sex marriages. It also criminalizes the “promotion” of homosexuality, which means that gay activists, or even their heterosexual defenders, will be subject to imprisonment. (Since then, the Ugandan tabloid Red Pepper has released a list, with some pictures, of the top 200 suspected homosexuals in the country, sparking a renewed with hunt that so far has caused one death.)

Using (or as I’d argue, abusing) his freedom of speech, Pastor Van Weng went on to argue that he hoped Taiwanese society and its government would be as brave as Ugandans in their efforts to “protect the family.” The actual quote, which appears on the KHOP Facebook page and on a fan page for PVW:


No surprise here: PVW went through his own rounds of indoctrination with IHOP Atlanta, and brought his family along with him.

Encountering criticism, PVW lamely claimed, as they always do, that his comments were taken “out of context” and that of course there were differences between Taiwan and Uganda. After all, he said, the African country had just recently emerged from an AIDS crisis. So PVW digs his hole even deeper (ironically one of KHOP’s slogans is “go deep”) and unscientifically links AIDS epidemics to homosexuality, one of many rhetorical tools used by extremist groups who oppose legalizing same-sex unions. The implicit threat, I suppose, is that if Taiwan does not combat homosexuality, it risks going the way of Uganda and face its own AIDS crisis.

The pastor is right to claim that sovereignty grants the people the right to express their views about “internal matters.” But freedom of expression runs into a wall when it seeks to impose the views of a minority upon the majority by blocking legal amendments in defiance of the majority opinion, particularly so when their arguments are based on lies, pseudoscience, and bigotry — and forgive me for saying so, but praising dictator Museveni for enacting laws that blatantly violate human rights, and wising similar “wisdom” in Taiwan, isn’t speech of the type that deserves protection. It’s hate speech, pure and simple, and some Western democracies, such as my home country, have laws against that.   

The alliance against same-sex marriage will come out again in March. As you encounter them in the streets, when they force their silly little pamphlets on you, and as you listen to their purported message of love, remember that in their midst there are people like PVW and others in positions of authority in their world of frantic isolation who went to the IHOP school of hatred. 

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