Tutu calls on Anglicans to accept gay bishop
The worldwide Anglican Communion should support its first openly gay bishop, the Rt Rev Gene Robinson, Nobel Peace Prize winner Archbishop Desmond Tutu said this weekend during a visit to the University of North Florida.
Archbishop Tutu urged students to oppose all discrimination, whether based on race, gender or sexual orientation. Meanwhile a major conference was taking place in Britain on Gays and the Future of Anglicanism, co-sponsored by Ekklesia.
After a university forum meeting, the universally-recognised retired South African church leader said that he simply does not understand religious anger over New Hampshire's gay bishop and expressed his frustration with opponents.
Declared Tutu: 'I am deeply saddened at a time when we've got such huge problems ... that we should invest so much time and energy in this issueÖI think God is weeping.'
The Archbishop was at the university to receive an honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters degree. He was the first black Anglican archbishop of Cape Town, South Africa, and was the General Secretary of the South African Council of Churches.
The committee selecting the 1984 Nobel Peace Prize praised Tutu as a 'unifying leader' in bringing an end to apartheid in a peaceful way.
In a recent All Saints' Sunday sermon acclaiming that God's people 'are meant to be family,' Archbishop Tutu called Anglicans everywhere to remember the 'comprehensiveness' of their tradition.
'Jesus did not say, ëI if I be lifted up I will draw some',' Tutu said, preaching in two morning festival services in Pasadena, California. 'Jesus said, ëIf I be lifted up I will draw all, all, all, all, all. Black, white, yellow, rich, poor, clever, not so clever, beautiful, not so beautiful. It's one of the most radical things. All, all, all, all, all, all, all, all. All belong. Gay, lesbian, so-called straight. All, all are meant to be held in this incredible embrace that will not let us go. All.'
He continued: 'Isn't it sad, that in a time when we face so many devastating problems - poverty, HIV/AIDS, war and conflict - that in our Communion we should be investing so much time and energy on disagreement about sexual orientation?'
Tutu said the Communion, which 'used to be known for embodying the attribute of comprehensiveness, of inclusiveness, where we were meant to accommodate all and diverse views, saying we may differ in our theology but we belong together as sisters and brothers' now seems 'hell-bent on excommunicating one another. God must look
on and God must weep.'
Emphasizing the connectedness of the human family, Tutu further asked: "How could we then -- we who are family - go on spending obscene amounts on budgets of death and destruction, knowing full well that a minute fraction of these would insure that children everywhere would have clean water to drink, would have enough food to eat, would have adequate, affordable health care, would have decent homes. How could we if we really are those who pray as our Lord has taught us? How can we be willing to drop bombs on those who are our sisters and brothers, children of God, members of our family? God's family. How could we?'
Yet when Christians are found to be 'caring, gentle, compassionate, sharing, embracing everyone ... God is smiling,' the former archbishop declared.
The Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, held a meeting on 3 November with Bishop Gene Robinson. The private event, described as 'friendly but candid', involved the two discussing the range of problems that have arisen following Bishop Robinson's consecration. It ended with prayer.
[Also on Ekklesia: news about Bishop Gene Robinson]