Desmond Tutu (shown), the controversial black Anglican archbishop of South Africa, came out boldly for homosexual rights in comments July 26, going as far as to say that he could not worship a God who rejects the aberrant lifestyle. The 81-year-old Tutu, who retired as the Anglican archbishop of Cape Town back in 1996, was speaking at a news conference for the launch of a United Nations campaign to promote homosexual rights.
“I would refuse to go to a homophobic heaven,” declared the high-profile black African leader, who was a key champion for the end of white majority rule in South Africa in the 1970s and '80s. “No, I would say sorry — I mean, I would much rather go to the other place,” he said. Tutu added for emphasis, “I would not worship a God who is homophobic and that is how deeply I feel about this.”
According to the U.K.'s Daily Mail newspaper, Tutu said the UN's pro-homosexual gambit was as important as the campaign in South Africa to end apartheid, which was phased out in 1994. “I am as passionate about this campaign as I ever was about apartheid,” he said. “For me, it is at the same level.”
Tutu is clearly in the minority among both national and religious leaders on the African continent. According to Amnesty International, homosexual acts are criminalized in no less than 38 African countries. Not surprisingly, in those African nations dominated by Islam, homosexual acts are punishable by death.
As for Christianity, in Tutu's own Anglican Church, African bishops have steadfastly spoken against homosexuality as opposed to Scripture, and while South Africa has legalized same-sex partnerships as equal to marriage, South Africa Anglican clergy are prohibited from performing same-sex "marriage" ceremonies.
The extent to which a majority of Africans oppose the acceptance of homosexuality was on display when President Obama toured Africa, declaring during a joint press conference with Senegal's president, Macky Sall, that “regardless of race, regardless of religion, regardless of gender, regardless of sexual orientation, when it comes to the law, people should be treated equally, and that's a principle that I think applies universally.”
Sall, a Muslim, took exception to Obama's comments, responding in no uncertain terms that he and his people “are not ready to decriminalize homosexuality.”
Another Muslim leader in Senegal, Sheikh Saliou Mbacke, was even more adamant, emphasizing that neither the United States nor the UN would succeed in coercing his country into accepting an act they understood to be morally reprehensible. “The subject of homosexuality must not be used as a tool to blackmail and coerce society to defy God’s command, which is more important than any world power,” he said. “We will oppose any manner of arm-twisting that threatens us to embrace it in our societies.”
In Kenya, Obama's ancestral country, Deputy President William Ruto responded to Obama's comment by saying that while Americans were free to follow their own inclinations, “the nation of Kenya is a God-fearing nation” that would continue to reject homosexuality as wrong. Similarly, Nairobi's Catholic cardinal, John Njue, speaking of America, said that “those people who have already ruined their society ... let them not become our teachers to tell us where to go.”
The Christian News Network reported that as Uganda's parliament has been considering a bill to tighten that country's laws against homosexual behavior, the greatest opposition has come from those outside the country. Okumu Yudah Tadeo, director of an organization called Restore Uganda, told the Christian news site that the proposed legislation “has indeed experienced the greatest fight from mostly international governments that have allowed their morals to decay and eventually erode away in disguise of ‘human rights.'”
Tadeo noted that Uganda's cultural and religious values have thus far served to keep the country from slipping, and “it is in Uganda’s best interest to keep up the good morals and Godly values in this generation and the generations to come.”