Desmond Tutu has passed away.
A sort of global figure whose death brought tributes from all over the world, this Anglican archbishop was known for his anti-apartheid activism in his home country of South Africa, a sort of religious Nelson Mandela.
He also has a faithful Muslim public following, appreciating his stance on Palestine and the 2003 Iraq war.
Al Jazeera reports in its obituary:
Desmond Tutu rose to prominence as a churchman who berated minority white rule in South Africa and did not spare criticism for the post-apartheid African National Congress (ANC) rulers for failing to deliver for poor Black people.
He chided Israeli treatment of Palestinians, the United States-led war in Iraq and hardliners within his own church. The pursuit of peace took him to Cyprus, Northern Ireland and Kenya.
But is Palestinian activism enough to make this dead clergyman a role model for Muslims?
Homophobia Is… Blasphemy
Trevor Huddleston, an Anglican clergyman as well, was the first to use “heresy” to describe South Africa’s apartheid, describing this unjust system of institutional racial oppression as “blasphemy” as early as in his 1956 book Naught for Your Comfort.
Tutu would popularize this term in the 80s during his own more pro-active, anti-apartheid fight.
But, in the 90s, he began to weaponize it for another cause: support for the LGBTQ+ movement. A book dedicated to his thought notes:
Tutu uses the strongest possible theological terminology to reject homophobia and heterosexism.
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What are some of the quotes the same book provides? Get ready for the cringe.
The church has joined the world in committing what I consider to be the ultimate blasphemy – making the children of God doubt that they are the children of God. Lesbians and gays have been made to reject God and, in their rejection of the church, they have been made to question why God created them as they were.
It’s not a blasphemy. It’s the ultimate blasphemy!
The authors give another memorable quote:
If the church, after the victory over apartheid, is looking for a worthy moral crusade, then this is it: the fight against homophobia and heterosexism. I pray that we will engage it with the same dedication and fervor which we showed against the injustice of racism, so that we may rehabilitate the gospel of Jesus Christ in the eyes of many who have been deeply hurt.
So, Tutu asks to basically fight the “ultimate blasphemy” that is homophobia with the same spirit as apartheid was fought… all of that with a pseudo-religious terminology (“moral crusade” to “rehabilitate the gospel of Jesus”).
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In 2013, the BBC, which described him as “a long-standing campaigner for gay rights,” also transcribed the following words from the former anti-apartheid activist:
“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,” Archbishop Tutu said at the launch of the Free and Equal campaign in Cape Town.
“I would not worship a God who is homophobic and that is how deeply I feel about this.”
Archbishop Tutu said the campaign against homophobia was similar to the campaign waged against racism in South Africa.
Tutu refuses to worship a “homophobic God.” Isn’t that kind of statement the actual blasphemy?
Is this the kind of “allies” some Muslims seek?
 Adriaan van Klinken and Ezra Chitando, “Race and Sexuality in Desmond Tutu’s theology of Ubuntu” in Ecumenical Encounters with Desmond Mpilo Tutu: Visions for Justice, Dignity and Peace, African Sun Media, 2021, p. 103.
Some people may apply the “take the good and leave the bad” argument to say that is not a role model in terms of his shirck religious beliefs and LGBT, but he is a role model in terms of other things like anti-racism and anti-Apartheid.