From the Worldwide Faith News archives

Taiwanese Church Leaders Respond to Political Scandal

From Taiwan Church News <>
Date Fri, 10 Jan 2003 13:19:24 +0800

Taiwan Church News 2654, January 12, 2003
Reported by Li Hsin-ren. Translated and rewritten by David

   The December 25th election of the speaker of the city council
in Kaohsiung, Taiwan's second largest city, was followed by
allegations of vote selling by several of the 36 council
members.  The parties to which vote selling council men and women
belonged have been holding their own investigations, resulting in
suspension of memberships or outright expulsions.  The Taiwan
Church News sought the opinions of the moderators of two
Presbyterian Church in Taiwan (PCT) presbyteries located in and
around the city.
   According to the Rev. Mr. Tan Beng-chi (Chen Ming-chih),
moderator of the Presbytery of Longevity Mountain,
"Ecclesiastical circles in the city have been relatively silent
regarding the scandal. Not long after the corruption came to
light, some people suggested calling a press conference to
express the churches' unified voice, but Presbyterian policy and
structures prevent us from speaking out without having first held
a meeting to determine a position.  As the moderator, I must
respect the system."
   Mr. Tan furthered with the opinion that the minority status of
Christians in this society, even though many social leaders are
Christians, still means that the church's voice is limited.  The
church is not very powerful.  He feels that the matter is best
left to government and the judicial structures for investigation
and the courts for settlement. "The church has neglected too much
for too long. We need to establish healthy congregations, spread
the gospel, and care for our neighborhoods.  When the church's
foundations are deep and believers' faith is growing daily, then
we will naturally produce power to uplift and influence society."

   On December 31st the Rev. Chiu Un-tek  (Chou En-ter),
moderator of Kaohsiung Presbytery commented on the process by
which his and Rev. Tan's presbyteries could go about speaking on
issues with a unified voice.  "Kaohsiung Presbytery has spoken in
opposition to the establishment of a casino zone in the Peng-hu
archipelago, where we have churches.  But the current issue in
Kaohsiung City needs careful discussion. Only after we have given
it time can we speak out."
   Rev. Chiu says that the church's voice on social matters must
be clear and openly broadcast.	It must be disseminated through
the mass media. "But," he says, "churches are few and our media
experience is limited. If we get into the news, we will certainly
draw attention."  He urges church circles to study and cultivate
positive media contacts and skills in preparation for the time
when there might be something to say in clear response to an
   Professor Wu Ing-ming from the department of public
administration at National Chung Shan University in Kaohsiung,
and Mr. Su Ying-kuei, a member of Taiwan's legislature,
emphasized the responsibility of churches to educate the public.
Rev. Chiu agreed, and said, "The church must engage in public
education so that our members exercise their civic
responsibilities from a foundation of faith."

For more information: Tan Beng-chi
				 Chiu Un-tek   FAX +886 7 699

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