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.
It is time to stand up against another wrong.
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. And of course they are part of the African family. But a wave of hate is spreading across my beloved continent. People are again being denied their fundamental rights and freedoms. Men have been falsely charged and imprisoned in Senegal, and health services for these men and their community have suffered. In Malawi, men have been jailed and humiliated for expressing their partnerships with other men. Just this month, mobs in Mtwapa Township, Kenya, attacked men they suspected of being gay. Kenyan religious leaders, I am ashamed to say, threatened an HIV clinic there for providing counseling services to all members of that community, because the clerics wanted gay men excluded.
Uganda’s parliament is debating legislation that would make homosexuality punishable by life imprisonment, and more discriminatory legislation has been debated in Rwanda and Burundi.
These are terrible backward steps for human rights in Africa.
Our lesbian and gay brothers and sisters across Africa are living in fear.
And they are living in hiding — away from care, away from the protection the state should offer to every citizen and away from health care in the AIDS era, when all of us, especially Africans, need access to essential HIV services. That this pandering to intolerance is being done by politicians looking for scapegoats for their failures is not surprising. But it is a great wrong. An even larger offense is that it is being done in the name of God. 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?
The wave of hate must stop. Politicians who profit from exploiting this hate, from fanning it, must not be tempted by this easy way to profit from fear and misunderstanding. And my fellow clerics, of all faiths, must stand up for the principles of universal dignity and fellowship. Exclusion is never the way forward on our shared paths to freedom and justice.
The writer is archbishop emeritus of Cape Town, South Africa. He won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1984.
Pedobear likes young girls. Very, very young girls. Should he be discriminated against for what evolution handed down to him?
Commentor T.J. likes dogs. He claims it is his biological inclination. Should he be denied his natural urges?
Or what about a man who is fifth in a line of people with very, very bad tempers? Should be allowed to throw it around just because his emotional stability was an accident of fate?
I agree with Desmond Tutu that we should never hate homosexuals. They are God’s children as much as every one of us, and we are as much sinners as any one of them. However, Christians are supposed to reject sinful living, whether or not they are genetically predisposed to it.
Again, I am not opposed to homosexuality between consenting adults on a humanistic basis, however I believe that JudeoChristianity proscribes it.
The keyword is consenting adults. Both Pedobear and short-tempered queue jumper exert their will on others without consent. As for T.J. — he appears to have his dog’s consent. So long as I’m not forced to watch or particpate, he can have at it.
That’s where different standards come in. Even if you’re a single guy with no relationship strings, we still think it’s wrong to look at above-age, voluntary, professional models posing nude on the Net – natural urges or not.
As for T.J., at least you’re consistent – though animal wrongs activists might argue on the capability of animals to consent.
Which brings me back to the Mencken quote. Why are followers of the Abrahamic faiths so hung up over the sexual practices of others? If believers wish to abstain, that’s perfectly fine, but why can’t they accept the fact that their viewpoint isn’t shared by everyone? So long as no one is being coerced, what does it matter?
Yes, funny how judicial activism and backdoor (no pun intended) tactics is always brought into play when the majority votes against the liberal thread. Prop 8, SB1070, CO2 restrictions… Fill in the rest of the blanks.
It’s funny how liberals justices somehow manage to find so many things ‘upheld by the constitution’ that aren’t specifically mentioned in the actual document (abortion, gay marriage, ‘free’ healthcare, blanket amnesty).
While insightfully realizing that many things specifically mentioned in the actual document have ‘no constitutional guarantee’ (right to bear arms, free political speech, death penalty by fair trial).
Fancy that, the will of the people – 70% majority or not – counts for nothing against the superior intellect of their liberal betters. It’s their own fault for being born stupid anyway, right? Oligarchy is the new democracy.
“It’s funny how liberals justices somehow manage to find so many things ‘upheld by the constitution’ that aren’t specifically mentioned in the actual document (abortion, gay marriage, ‘free’ healthcare, blanket amnesty).”
Abortion is a private and personal matter between a pregnant woman and her physician. How or why should it concern anyone else? Likewise when it pertains to sexual orientation and marriage considerations; these are personal matters between two consenting adults. How or why should that concern anyone outside the parties involved?
The above are called ‘negative’ rights — a right not to be subjected to an action of another person or group — i.e. the right to be left alone.
“While insightfully realizing that many things specifically mentioned in the actual document have ‘no constitutional guarantee’ (right to bear arms, free political speech, death penalty by fair trial).”
Who enacted the Patriot Act? Who suspended Habeas Corpus? Who unilaterally decided to invade a foreign nation that was not at war with anyone and overthrow their government? Who argued about the “vagueness” of the Geneva Convention with regards to torture to justify pressing the boundaries?
“You don’t get everything you want. A dictatorship would be a lot easier.” — George W. Bush (1998)
“There ought to be limits to freedom.” — George W. Bush (1999)
“Stop throwing the Constitution in my face. It’s just a goddamned piece of paper!” — George W. Bush (2005)
Now what were you saying about liberals?
“Fancy that, the will of the people – 70% majority or not – counts for nothing against the superior intellect of their liberal betters. It’s their own fault for being born stupid anyway, right? Oligarchy is the new democracy.”
America is NOT a democracy; it’s a REPUBLIC. There is a difference.
Yes, it’s funny how Bush’s malevolent tendrils of law-suspending influence force Barry to inherit the following:
– Keep Club Gitmo open
– Push a long quagmire of an unpopular conflict as a ‘war of necessity’
– Authorize Predator strikes with plenty of collateral damage inside a sovereign (and nominally allied) state
– Protect the SEC from Freedom of Information requests
– Ban or restrict coverage of the Gulf spill
– Track GPS signals
– Track cellphone users
– Dig into healthcare data
– Jail those who do not purchase healthcare
– Control or shut down the Net
– Control capital and obtain customer details via banks
– Dig into purchases of gold and silver coins
– Exempt unions from transparency rules
(Why are facists usually thought of as ‘right wing’ when it’s modern day liberals who want to regulate or ban everything under the sun and Mussolini’s bunch were axis-ed with the Nationalsozialistische?)
Two federal judges who have recently issued rulings adverse to the historic definition of marriage as the conjugal union of husband and wife show what results-oriented jurisprudence is all about.
One judge claimed to base part of his ruling on a federal constitutional requirement that Congress yield to the states on their definition of marriage. The other judge ruled that the constitution requires that a state’s democratically enacted definition of marriage be struck down.
Confusing? Not if one realizes that the judges in these cases had a common purpose and theme. Their aim was to redefine marriage and label those who hold to the historic understanding of marriage—whether they be the 7 million California voters who approved Proposition 8 or the 427 members of Congress who approved the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) in 1996—as “irrational” bigots.
So the Constitution says that state law does take precedence over national law when state law defines marriage to include same-gender, and the Constitution also says that state law does not take precedence over national law when state law defines marriage to be only between different-gender.
Just like carbon caps for thee but not for me, higher taxes for thine constituents but not for mine, racism/Islamophobia for thee but not for Harry Reid, windmills in thine backyard but not my coastline, nuclear option is wrong until we need it but it’s wrong again if it looks like we’ll be the minority party next year, inherited the whole mess from Bush except for the successful Iraq surge which I voted against but am now taking credit for.