Archbishop Desmond Tutu of South Africa made what could be the clearest statements of his feelings regarding LGBT rights in quite some time. He stated during the launch of the United Nations’ gay rights program in Cape Town “I would not worship a God who is homophobic and that is how deeply I feel about this.”
He went on to say “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.” He also said “I am as passionate about this campaign as I ever was about apartheid. For me, it is at the same level.”
Archbishop Tutu’s statements come as LGBT rights across the globe are often threatened. In Russia, LGBT people face incarceration because of laws which prevent them from speaking about being gay. Anyone, including tourists, who dare talk about LGBT rights or being LGBT face fines and even jail time. Meanwhile, Russian skinheads are taking the anti-gay attitudes of the Russian government as a sign that they can do what they want to gays. They have been luring young gay men into seclusion where they are often tortured and killed.
South Africa is the only nation in Africa to have any strong LGBT rights, but even in Archbishop Tutu’s home nation, LGBT people are often treated horrifically. Lesbian women are often brutally raped and often murdered for rejecting the advances of straight men.
Zimbabwe’s Robert Mugabe even said he would cut the hands off of gays if he could.
The Right Reverend Desmond Tutu spent most of his life fighting not just apartheid, but all inequality. He has fought to end sexism, racism, homophobia, and worked to help alleviate the stigma of HIV/AIDS. The 81-year-old is now retired from the Anglican Church position he held as the Archbishop of Cape Town.