A Mediatized Sacred War: Examining Multimedia Strategies of Anti Same-Sex Marriage Movement in Contemporary Taiwan

Wednesday, 13 July 2016
Location: Arcade Courtyard (Main Building)
Pei-Ru LIAO, National Pingtung University of Science and Technology, Taiwan
In Taiwan, organisations of sexual minority rights have begun to advocate legal amendments for same-sex marriages since 2013. Meanwhile, a powerful anti same-sex marriage movement led by Christian Right started to organise from 2011. As a counter-movement of the LGBT movement, Christian Right in a society where believers of Abrahamic faiths are minorities (only 6% of the population are Christians and Catholics) has gained public visibility and political success through its multimedia strategies as well as the interactive nature of the Internet.  A mediatized sacred war emerged in the cyber space where the values of fundamentalists and the values of secular meet. This research aims at investigating the way in which Christian Right mediatized the anti same-sex marriage movement. The researcher has been doing cyber ethnography to collect data from the Internet, ranging from websites, blogs, to social media, since 2013. This research demonstrates the way in which a mediatized counter-movement advocates its agenda by utilising various media platforms. The Christian Right’s media strategies can be put into two categories: a) the media platforms for Christians; b) the public media outlet. Media strategies for the existing believers tend to consolidate their religious identity through anti-gay discourses quoting from the Bible whereas the media outlets for the public, especially that of social media and websites, tend to disguise the agenda of Christian Right as Confucian values of family tradition. On the other hand, the interactive nature of the Internet transforms the cyber space into a public sphere where web users utilise social media, especially Facebook, Youtube, and blogs to produce narratives against Christian Right. The debates of same-sex marriages has demonstrated the way in which cyber space is used by the secular people and the religious people to mediatize their political stances during the process of legislation.