Desmond Mpilo Tutu (b October 7, 1931) is a South African social rights activist and retired Anglican bishop who rose to worldwide fame during the 1980s as an opponent of apartheid. He was the first black Archbishop of Cape Town and bishop of the Church of the Province of Southern Africa (now the Anglican Church of Southern Africa). Tutu's admirers see him as a man who since the demise of apartheid has been active in the defense of human rights and uses his high profile to campaign for the oppressed. He has campaigned to fight HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, poverty, racism, sexism, the imprisonment of Chelsea Manning, homophobia and transphobia. He received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1984; the Albert Schweitzer Prize for Humanitarianism in 1986; the Pacem in Terris Award in 1987; the Sydney Peace Prize in 1999; the Gandhi Peace Prize in 2007; and the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2009. (Click here for full Wikipedia article)
A person is a person because he recognizes others as persons.
Children are a wonderful gift. They have an extraordinary capacity to see into the heart of things and to expose sham and humbug for what they are.
Differences are not intended to separate, to alienate. We are different precisely in order to realize our need of one another.
Do your little bit of good where you are; its those little bits of good put together that overwhelm the world.
Forgiveness is an absolute necessity for continued human existence.
Freedom and liberty lose out by default because good people are not vigilant.
Fundamental rights belong to the human being just because you are a human being.
Good is stronger than evil; love is stronger than hate; light is stronger than darkness; life is stronger than death.
History, like beauty, depends largely on the beholder.
I am not interested in picking up crumbs of compassion thrown from the table of someone who considers himself my master. I want the full menu of rights.
I will never tell anyone to pick up a gun. But I will pray for the man who picks up a gun, pray that he will be less cruel than he might otherwise have been....
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.
If God, as they say, is homophobic, I wouldn't worship that God.
If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor. If an elephant has its foot on the tail of a mouse and you say that you are neutral, the mouse will not appreciate your neutrality.
It is for real that injustice and oppression will not have the last word. There was a time when Hitler looked like he was going to vanquish all of Europe, and where is he now?
My humanity is bound up in yours, for we can only be human together.
Resentment and anger are bad for your blood pressure and your digestion.
Sometimes you want to whisper in God's ear, 'God, we know you are in charge, but why don't you make it slightly more obvious?'
There are different kinds of justice. Retributive justice is largely Western. The African understanding is far more restorative- not so much to punish as to redress or restore a balance that has been knocked askew.
We may be surprised at the people we find in heaven. God has a soft spot for sinners. His standards are quite low.
We who advocate peace are becoming an irrelevance when we speak peace. The government speaks rubber bullets, live bullets, tear gas, police dogs, detention, and death.
When the missionaries came to Africa they had the Bible and we had the land. They said 'Let us pray.' We closed our eyes. When we opened them we had the Bible and they had the land.
Without forgiveness, there's no future.
You don't choose your family. They are God's gift to you, as you are to them.
(October 7 is also the birthday of Tim Minchin.)