Moves are afoot in Taiwan by an alliance of religious groups to contest seats in the national legislature. A new political party founded by various religious communities
opened a central office in the capital, Taipei, in a Nov. 12 ceremony. An aim is to win three seats in national elections set for 2020. Father Otfried Chan, secretary-general of the bishops' conference of Taiwan, told ucanews.com that the move would help provide a unified voice on hot social issues. The party called The Interfaith Union is chaired by Zhu Wu-xian and was founded on May 16 amid concerns about the erosion of religious freedom and diversity. The goal is to open offices across the nation within the next year. The Interfaith Union includes representatives of a wide range of religions, including Catholics, Protestants, Taoists and Buddhists. Catholic representative Catherine Chang said both improving social welfare and protecting religious freedoms are important objectives. “We really care about whether policies are suitable for our religious freedom and ethics,” she said. “Religions are without borders.” Chang noted that bringing religious groups in Taiwan
together could also allow for the promotion of improved Taiwanese relations with the People’s Republic of China. Chang said The Interfaith Union was optimistic on prospects for winning seats in the national legislature. Among priorities will be updating the country’s 1929 Religion Act to better meet current needs of society. Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je, at the opening ceremony of the new Taipei central office, noted that religious groups could work together for social justice as well as purifying people’s hearts.