It was refreshing to open up today’s Washington Post and read a commentary by South African elder Desmond Tutu, Anglican archbishop emeritus of Cape Town, South Africa, who won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1984.
Tutu is taking on the politicization of homophobia currently happening in several African countries. But he also speaks as a church leader, a human rights leader, and the father of a daughter (Nontombi Naomi Tutu) very active in the gay rights movement. (In theory, no Roman Catholic bishops will ever have their views on homosexuality shaped by their daughters and their passions.)
Here’s an excerpt from Archbishop Tutu’s commentary:
Hate has no place in the house of God. No one should be excluded from our love, our compassion or our concern because of race or gender, faith or ethnicity — or because of their sexual orientation. Nor should anyone be excluded from health care on any of these grounds. In my country of South Africa, we struggled for years against the evil system of apartheid that divided human beings, children of the same God, by racial classification and then denied many of them fundamental human rights. We knew this was wrong. Thankfully, the world supported us in our struggle for freedom and dignity. … Gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered people are part of so many families. They are part of the human family. They are part of God’s family. … Show me where Christ said “Love thy fellow man, except for the gay ones.” Gay people, too, are made in my God’s image. I would never worship a homophobic God.
“But they are sinners,” I can hear the preachers and politicians say. “They are choosing a life of sin for which they must be punished.” My scientist and medical friends have shared with me a reality that so many gay people have confirmed, I now know it in my heart to be true. No one chooses to be gay. Sexual orientation, like skin color, is another feature of our diversity as a human family. Isn’t it amazing that we are all made in God’s image, and yet there is so much diversity among his people? Does God love his dark- or his light-skinned children less? The brave more than the timid? And does any of us know the mind of God so well that we can decide for him who is included, and who is excluded, from the circle of his love?–Archbishop Desmond Tutu
Read Tutu’s whole commentary here.