|Tutu's piece is not long, but it is powerful. He criticizes the politicians who while looking "looking for scapegoats for their failures" pander to intolerance. He thinks it a greater offense that this is done in the name of religion, and writes
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.
He is convinced in part by his "scientist and medical friends" that this is not a matter of "choice" and hence cannot be described as a matter of sin. He writes
No one chooses to be gay. Sexual orientation, like skin color, is another feature of our diversity as a human family. Tutu goes on to praise the incredible diversity of humanity, in the words that immediately follow what I have just quoted:
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?
Love does not exclude, not real real love. It expands the heart. And whether or not you believe in God or accepted that any good can come from religion, these are the words of a man of faith, a man who has lived his faith.
Desmond Tutu was the elected black leader of a heavily white Christian denomination in a nation that was wrestling with overcoming the burdens of racism. He later helped that nation overcome generations of bitterness without it resorting to equally bitter retribution. His words are worth listening to on this and many other topics of dispute in the family of man.
He challenges politicians and his fellow clergy to stand for "principles of universal dignity and fellowship."
Of course in our nation there are those who would profit from "easy way to profit from fear and misunderstanding" - on sexual orientation, on "race", on religion, on nationalism, on economic status. . . to seek to do so on any of these is wrong. It is immoral. It should be condemned.
If anyone says, "I love God," yet hates his brother, he is a liar. For anyone who does not love his brother, whom he has seen, cannot love God, whom he has not seen. So we can remind those who call themselves Christians they can read in 1 John 20.
Perhaps it is not hatred, perhaps it is fear? But even fear cannot be used as a reason to diminish or deny the humanity of another, lest we wish to justify others when they would seek to diminish or deny our humanity or that of those we hold dear.
those we hold dear - how narrow our hearts must be if we close them off to so many. Perhaps spending time yet again volunteering in dental triage while my fellow humans seek care which should be basic reminds me how much more rewarding it is to have an open heart. Perhaps it was seeing the reaction of my two students who also volunteered this afternoon, as I thought about their backgrounds, and how they could be excluded from the hearts of others, how people like them have been the subject of hatred and discrimination in this nation in the all too recent past. Each still speaks their ancestral language sufficiently to translate between patients and dentists. He is Hispanic, she is Iranian, he offered his Spanish, she offered her Farsi. And as a result people who want to help were better able to assist those in need of help.
Exclusion is never the way forward on our shared paths to freedom and justice. Those are the final words offered by Desmond Tutu. Those are words far wiser than those that spew forth from the mouths of those like Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh and so many others.
And yet - and this is important - our hearts cannot exclude the Glenn Becks and the Rush Limbaughs, even as we must condemn the words they use to attack and demean others. I know that Desmond Tutu would remind us that even if we must condemn a sin we are still required to love the sinner. For me that requires my answering "that of God" in each person. For if Hate has no place in the house of God we cannot be in that house of God and ourselves bear hate, speak from hate, act out of hate.
And if God matters not to you, not even as the Great Flying Spaghetti Monster? No matter. Call it then our common humanity even towards those who would deny they have anything in common with us.
Hate has no place in the house of God I believe that, even as I do not concern myself so much with God as with my fellow humans. Those who speak or act out of hate cannot be in my mind in the presence of any God I can discern in Christian or Jewish scripture, even as the God who inspires those works would still bear them in His/Her heart.
for human rights - full rights for all, full recognition in the law for all - something very different than denying equality.
principles of universal dignity and fellowship - to be universal there can be no exceptions, none.
Exclusion is never the way forward on our shared paths to freedom and justice. - SHARED PATHS - for like it or not, we travel those paths together, and my freedom cannot be at the price of your enslavement or denigration.
Perhaps for you this diary was unnecessary. Perhaps you already read the piece by Desmond Tutu. Or if you did not, you already live your life by a standard such that it is unnecessary to remind you of the basic truth and wisdom of his words.
I am still growing. I am still learning what it means to be fully human. I still have much to learn about what it means to love and to accept love from others.
I found his words useful.
I chose to share them.
Hate has no place in the house of God Or anywhere else.