Retired Archbishop Desmond Tutu has set himself at war with any deity guilty of what he considers homophobia. The famed opponent of South African apartheid voiced his strident opinion to Agence France-Presse (AFP) during the United Nations’ launch of its gay rights campaign in South Africa. He told AFP, “I would not worship a God who is homophobic and that is how deeply I feel about this…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.” “I am as passionate about this campaign as I ever was about apartheid…For me, it is at the same level,” he declared.
Archbishop Tutu’s claims seem uncharacteristic of most bishops–perhaps this is what has led to his popularity. In any case, he did not define what he meant by “homosexuality” and “homophobia.” Does the former mean attraction or acts and behavior? Does the latter mean persecution or opposition to activity within the church and/or a refusal to recognize same-sex marriage? Such important distinctions are never made, at least in this instance. That is not the theologically responsible language one would expect from a person who has been entrusted with the office of bishop.
Nevertheless, from Tutu’s other statements in the past, the Archbishop almost certainly thinks that speaking out against homosexual behavior and forbidding a redefinition of marriage falls under the category of homophobia.
Sadly, it seems that Archbishop Tutu is so confident in his own opinion (and that of the UN) that he would declare the historic, global teaching of the Christian church in error.
Call this author a coward, but I’d rather allow myself to be taught by the church catholic than go to an indiscriminately-affirming Hell.