Desmond TutuPosted: August 1, 2013
“If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor”- Desmond Tutu
When I was a kid South Africa’s apartheid regime was in it’s death throes, and I remember seeing a lot about it on Newsround, the kids news bulletin. I’ve already written a post on this blog about how Nelson Mandela was a massive figure on the landscape of my childhood, and I remember the optimism you felt from the country as it tried to rebuild itself.
The only person who registered to me as a kid was Archbishop Desmond Tutu, who seemed like a passionate, moral and thoroughly decent bloke who’s been described as the country’s “conscience”. Tutu was head of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission which attempted to record the old regime’s human rights abuses and offer rehabilitation and reparations to those involved.
Tutu was vocal during the 80s, criticizing the regime but afterwards being all about forgiveness and allowing people to make amends. Tutu is a perfect of example of the force for good Christianity can be, and the religions’ best aspects- forgiveness, charity, kindness, all that jazz.
It also helps that DT is one of those cats who 90% of the time you see him in a photo looks like a dude who’s perfectly happy with who he is. Most of the time I’ve seen him he’s laughing, smiling or talking passionately to someone, I mean look at that picture up there, how can you not like the dude? He’s like somebody’s fun, friendly, slightly crackers grandfather.
The reason I’m writing about him today is because DT is still out there being a total legend, now fronting the launch of the UN’s new campaign for LGBT rights in Africa.
While massive leaps forward may have occurred elsewhere around the world (New Zealand, France, the US and here in the UK) regarding gay rights, Africa is still a horrible and terrifying place to be gay. Homosexuality is illegal in 38 countries in the continent, and there is still widespread prejudice and violence towards gay people.
DT, as the quote at the top of this post highlights, isn’t the kind of dude who’s gonna stand by and let this go on, and is apparently a big gay rights campaigner.
His statements are wonderful, here are a few of his quotes:
I would refuse to go to a homophobic heaven. No, I would say sorry, I mean I would much rather go to the other place.
I would not worship a God who is homophobic and that is how deeply I feel about this.
I am as passionate about this campaign as I ever was about apartheid. For me, it is at the same level
So, there you go, as if you needed more reason to respect the dude, Desmond Tutu proves he’s one of the good guys.
Any thoughts? You know what to do. BETEO.