Archbishop Desmond Tutu

South Africa now 20 years after Apartheit had adopted the most humain of all constitutions and truly inclusive of all its citizens. We know that if one group is excluded from receiving AIDS treatment everyone is affected. South African Peace Nobel Price Winner Archbishop Desmond Tutu's speach is worth reprinting. Desmond Tutu, emeritus Archbishop of Cape Town, issued a strong protest against African politicians and clerics who are persecuting LGBT people throughout the African continent:

Hate has no place in the house of God. No one should be excluded from our love,

our compassion or our concern because of race or gender, faith or ethnicity --

or because of their sexual orientation. Nor should anyone be excluded from

health care on any of these grounds. In my country of South Africa, we struggled

for years against the evil system of apartheid that divided human beings,

children of the same God, by racial classification and then denied many of them
fundamental human rights. We knew this was wrong. Thankfully, the world

supported us in our struggle for freedom and dignity.

It is time to stand up against another wrong.

Gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered (LGBT) people are part of so many
families. They are part of the human family. They are part of God's family. And
of course they are part of the African family. But a wave of hate is spreading
across my beloved continent. People are again being denied their fundamental
rights and freedoms. Men have been falsely charged and imprisoned in Senegal,
and health services for these men and their community have suffered. In Malawi,
men have been jailed and humiliated for expressing their partnerships with other
men. Just this month, mobs in Mtwapa Township, Kenya, attacked men they
suspected of being gay. Kenyan religious leaders, I am ashamed to say,
threatened an HIV clinic there for providing counselling services to all members
of that community, because the clerics wanted gay men excluded.

Uganda's parliament is debating legislation that would make homosexuality
punishable by life imprisonment, and more discriminatory legislation has been
debated in Rwanda and Burundi. These are terrible backward steps for human
rights in Africa.

Our lesbian and gay brothers and sisters across Africa are living in fear.

And they are living in hiding -- away from care, away from the protection the
state should offer to every citizen and away from health care in the AIDS era,
when all of us, especially Africans, need access to essential HIV services. That
this pandering to intolerance is being done by politicians looking for
scapegoats for their failures is not surprising. But it is a great wrong. An
even larger offense is that it is being done in the name of God. 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.

"But they are sinners," I can hear the preachers and politicians say. "They are
choosing a life of sin for which they must be punished." My scientist and
medical friends have shared with me a reality that so many gay people have
confirmed, I now know it in my heart to be true. No one chooses to be gay.
Sexual orientation, like skin colour, is another feature of our diversity as a
human family. 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?

The wave of hate must stop. Politicians who profit from exploiting this hate,
from fanning it, must not be tempted by this easy way to profit from fear and
misunderstanding. And my fellow clerics, of all faiths, must stand up for the
principles of universal dignity and fellowship. Exclusion is never the way
forward on our shared paths to freedom and justice.

The writer is Desmond Tutu, emeritus archbishop of Cape Town, South Africa. He
won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1984

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