Tutu’s hell of a heaven
From Mr Alexander Boot:
Archbishop Tutu is the last of the great theologians, putting St Augustine to shame.
You see, Augustine’s notions of heaven and hell were too complex, too replete with nuances to satisfy the modern mind.
The Archbishop’s interpretation, on the other hand, is as simple as truth itself. As far as he’s concerned, heaven and hell are separated strictly along sexual or, to be more precise, homosexual lines.
Speaking at the launch of the UN’s global campaign to promote ‘gay rights’, the Archbishop said, “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.”
The other place is hell, in case you’re interested. Now one wonders how the good prelate visualises a homophobic heaven.
Does the picture he sees in his mind’s eye feature St Peter vetting the sexuality of all entrants at the pearly gate? “Sorry, sir, you can’t come in. Your moustache is too neatly trimmed.”
Conversely, does he think that hell resembles a fancy-dress party at Caligula’s court? If so, it must be a lot of fun – at least in the mature judgment of the Anglican prelate.
How anyone capable of such utter, unmitigated vulgarity could be ordained, never mind elevated to a high clerical rank, is beyond me. But then life is full of surprises.
Such as a supposedly educated man using the word ‘homophobic’ at all. Etymologically the word means fear of homosexuals, which, if it exists at all, can’t be very widespread.
One finds it hard to imagine too many mothers traumatising their naughty boys for life by telling them that, if they misbehave, the Big Bad Homosexual will get them.
But these days we can’t be sticklers for etymological precision. After all, we don’t expect the Liberal Democratic party to have much to do with either liberalism or democracy.
In colloquial parlance ‘homophobe’ is used to denote someone who either hates homosexuals or thinks homosexuality is wrong. This ought to put the word beyond bounds for a Christian: using the same word for both is a sure sign of a weak grasp of Christian doctrine.
The same St Augustine, whose notion of heaven Archbishop Tutu has invalidated, wrote, “Cum dilectione hominum et odio vitiorum.” The phrase is usually and somewhat loosely translated as 'hate the sin, love the sinner', and it encapsulates the quintessential Christian attitude to such matters.
To put it in the simple words favoured by Desmond Tutu, homosexuals must be loved because they too are God’s children. At the same time, homosexuality must be hated because it’s a mortal sin. Not being able to differentiate between the two is intellectual vulgarity at its most soaring.
Alas, this is precisely what the Archbishop displays when saying, “I would not worship a God who is homophobic and that is how deeply I feel about this.” One wishes his depth of feeling were matched by some depth of thought.
For God who is love can’t by definition hate sinners – it is to save them that Christ came into the world as an incarnated man. On the other hand, God is unequivocal on defining homosexuality as a mortal sin.
Archbishop Tutu can satisfy himself on that score by glancing at a few scriptural verses, such as Genesis 19:1-11; Leviticus 18:22; Leviticus 20:13; Judges 19:16-24; 1 Kings 14:24; 1 Kings 15:12; 2 Kings 23:7; Romans 1:18-32; 1 Corinthians 6:9-11; 1 Timothy 1:8-10; Jude 7.
Clearly, God didn’t regard homosexuality as merely an alternative lifestyle. As a minimum, He taught that homosexuals couldn’t enter the kingdom of heaven. Does this make Him a homophobe in Desmond Tutu’s book?
“I am as passionate about this campaign as I ever was about apartheid,” continued the Archbishop, showing that he’s as weak on secular nuances as he is on theological ones.
As apartheid was a nasty state policy, campaigning against it was perfectly legitimate and commendable. On the other hand ‘homophobia’, however defined, isn’t part of South African law. It goes without saying that attacks on homosexuals, like any other assaults, must be dealt with resolutely and severely – and the country’s criminal code is clear on this.
How then does the Archbishop see the campaign? Telling the police to be quicker in their response to GBH? Asking the courts to pass stiffer sentences on thugs?
Contextually he goes much further than that. Archbishop Tutu clearly disagrees with God’s view of homosexuality as a sin.
God therefore is a homophobe and not someone in whom Archbishop Tutu self-admittedly can believe. The feeling must be mutual: I doubt God believes in Archbishop Tutu either – and He certainly doesn’t countenance politically motivated, intellectually feeble effluvia.
Alexander Boot is a writer on political, cultural and religious themes