Washington Post asks: Will the tiny Christian flock in Taiwan defeat same-sex marriage?

There is no question who LGBTQ activists in Taiwan blame for the fact that their drive to legalize same-sex marriage is having problems. It's the Christians.

Thus, there is no question who The Washington Post blames for the fact that same-sex marriage faces strong opposition in Taiwan, a nation that LGBTQ activists have been counting on to blaze a progressive trail for Asia. It's the Christians.

The result -- "A backlash against same-sex marriage tests Taiwan’s reputation for gay rights" -- is a classic example of what your GetReligionistas call "Kellerism," with a nod to those 2011 remarks by former New York Times editor Bill Keller. The basic idea is that there is no need for journalists to offer balanced, accurate coverage of people -- especially religious believers -- whose views you have already decided are wrong. Error has no rights in some newsrooms.

So what forces are undercutting Taiwan's multicultural legacy of tolerance?

... (The) groundswell of support that spurred hope for marriage equality has spurred a bitter backlash that has experts and advocates wondering when or whether the law will move ahead.
Over the past year, mostly Christian community groups have mobilized against the marriage-equality movement, warning, contrary to evidence, that same-sex partnerships are a threat to children and that giving LGBT families legal protection will hurt Taiwan.
They have also claimed -- again, contrary to evidence -- that protecting the rights of gender and sexual minorities is a Western idea, that being gay is somehow not “Chinese.”

So, how many Christian leaders are quoted in this lengthy Post feature? 

Well, there is one short quote from a secular politician, Justice Minister Chiu Tai-san, who was speaking in a public hearing. There is a second-hand quote of conservative arguments, care of an interview from a gay-rights activist. Actual quotes from interviews with Christian leaders? Zero.

Meanwhile, there are a minimum of seven voices speaking on the other side. This does not include paragraph after paragraph of paraphrased material backing the LGBTQ side of the argument, facts and arguments that -- in the new Post advocacy news style -- require no attribution to named sources. Note the "contrary to evidence" references, when summarizing the views of those opposing same-sex marriage.

A conservative activist here in America (h/t to Mark Tooley) noted this tweet from the Post reporter, responding to a note thanking her for not quoting conservative voices :

By the way, how large is this oh-so-powerful Christian community in Taiwan?

To its credit, the Post team does note that Christians make up 5 percent of the population. If you dig around a bit, it appears that about half of that tiny Christian community consists of evangelical Protestants.

The percentage of Taiwan's population that is Buddhist? That would be 35 percent. How about Taoism? Another 33 percent.

So how are pro-LGBTQ efforts faring in those communities? Apparently, that is an issue that doesn't need to be explored. Other than references to fears that LGBTQ rights may threaten Chinese values and traditions, there is only one religion angle worth exploring here.

That is, other than the ancient traditions featured in the lede:

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- The gay rights activists raised sticks of incense and appealed to Taiwan’s most popular deity: Mazu, Goddess of the sea, protect us.
Or rather, Mazu, Goddess of the sea, protect us, too.
Just months ago, Taiwan appeared to be on the verge of legalizing same-sex marriage. It was to become the first country in Asia to do so, solidifying its status as a beacon for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender rights.

So here is my main question about the journalism methods in this piece: If there is a debate taking place in Taiwan, one that complicates efforts to pass this LGBTQ legislation, why not talk to leaders on both sides? Why not let them articulate their arguments so that readers have some chance to understand them?

The Post does a fine job of presenting the arguments for same-sex marriage -- over and over -- in this piece. Where are the interviews with Buddhists, Taoists and, yes, Christians on the other side of this debate? For example, what are Catholic leaders saying? Their pastoral letter (.pdf) is here.

Now, check out the end of this piece. This passage is long, but that should help illustrate the methods at work in this journalistic sermon:

What worries activists is that some ostensibly pro-LGBT figures in government seem to have gone silent on the matter, talking about social division and the need for dialogue, rather than throwing their full weight behind the legislation. 

Attention: Dialogue is bad, in this case.

At stake are the livelihoods of LGBT families who want legal protection, as well as Taiwan’s reputation as a regional leader on gay rights. 
“I’m so afraid Taiwan will go backward,” said Wayne Lin, chairman of the Taiwan Tongzhi Hotline Association, an influential LGBT group.
Jason Hsu, a lawmaker from the opposition Kuomintang, agreed that what happens will help define what it means to be Taiwanese now and shape Taiwan’s regional role in the years to come.
“There are some ways we can never compete with China, but this is a way we can compete, set a good example for them, use soft power,” he said, adding, “If Taiwan is to continue to be a beacon of liberty and democracy in Asia, these are the things that can really make us stand out.”
Like many who support marriage equality, he was frustrated by the backtracking, but he was confident Taiwan’s inclusive spirit would prevail.
“When we pass this law,” he said, “other nations in Asia will be watching.”

Please read the whole Post story. What did I miss, in terms of the journalism methods used in this piece?

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