Blessed are the Persecuted -- Desmond Tutu

I hope it's okay, but I'm reprinting Desmond Tutu's post at the On Faith blog. He tackles the issue of homosexuality in a way that is compassionate and straightforward. It is a very welcome comment from a man of great moral stature:

On race my faith told me that each of us is of inestimable worth since each is created in the image of God.

Thus this worth is intrinsic and not dependent on such irrelevancies as skin color or ethnicity. Thus it was totally unacceptable, just as a matter of justice, to penalize people about something they could nothing, a given, their ethnicity, their race.

Equally my faith convinced me that it was fundamentally unjust to penalize individuals for their gender and so sexism was as unacceptable as racism ever was.
It is being consistent to assert that I cannot condone penalizing someone for something about which she or he can do nothing. It would be bizarre in the extreme for a person to choose to be gay or lesbian in a set-up that is so homophobic.
I believe that sexual orientation is as much a given as ethnicity or gender. Thus the same principle would apply that ruled out racism and sexism as unjust.
In every instance that we have in the Gospels, Jesus sides with those who are discriminated against, who are persecuted. It seems a bizarre hermeneutics that would assert that in this one case, that of gay and lesbian persons, Jesus would join those who persecute, denigrate and oppress an already persecuted minority. That would be a Jesus I could not worship.

I would aver that the same standards of behaviour should be expected of gay and lesbian persons as apply to those who are sexually heterogeneous -- no promiscuity, fidelity to one partner in the relationship, that is all.
Why are we generating so much heat over this issue at a time when the world is groaning under the burden of dehumanizing poverty, when disease -- especially HIV/Aids -- is devastating whole communities, when conflicts are sowing mayhem and carnage?
God must be weeping.
Posted by Desmond Tutu on February 28, 2007 7:34 AM
Indeed, God must be weeping! Thank you.


kwenk said…
I've always been impressed with Desmond Tutu's willingness to swim upstream. I wonder how many of his fellow African Archbishops will finally disown him (or try to) for this one. If they try to toss him out (like the Episcopal Church & to a lesser extent the Church of England) it will make them look even stupider to many of us than they do already. I hope this gets wide circulation, as he is widely respected.
Tutu's successor, Njongukulu Ndungae is of the same perspective as his predecessor. The Church in South Africa is divided on this issue, but at least at the highest level there is a willingness to address the issue and refocus attention.
RubyJane said…
Being a Christian myself, I find it unbelievable that you can quote someone like Desmond Tutu...What were you thinking...He recently said: "I don't believe God is a Christian". Think again before you listen to anything he has to say. He is very racist. But, sure, you will know what is going on in SA every day, won't you?

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