Archbishop Desmond Tutu to Apologize for Anti-gay Persecution

Archbishop Desmond Tutu, who has been vocal of late in his criticism of the Anglican church and its homophobic policies towards gays, told BBC Radio Manchester’s Gay Hour that he’s sorry for the way that the church has treated gay people in the past.

TutuSaid Tutu: “I want to apologise to you and to all those who we in the church have persecuted. I’m sorry that we have been part of the persecution of a particular group. For me that is quite un-Christ like and, for that reason, it is unacceptable. May be even as a retired Archbishop I probably have, to some extent, a kind of authority but apart from anything let me say for myself and anyone who might want to align themselves with me, I’m sorry. I’m sorry for the hurt, for the rejection, for the anguish that we have caused to such as yourselves.”

Tutu recently called the church “extraordinarily homophobic” and “obsessed with questions of human sexuality” and continues to blast it over its rift with the Episcopal branch.


  1. Butter says

    This seems strangely worded to me. How about saying something about the way that the church treats gay people in the present? Is he trying to somehow imply that nowadays “GAY is OK” for the church? Last time I checked there wasn’t a whole lot of them performing gay marriages yet…

  2. KJ says

    Not too little and not too late and not at all gross. Tutu has been a longtime advocate. The majority of the Episcopal church is in full agreement with Tutu, as is much of the Anglican (dis)union. The detractors have gotten more press, given that it’s a better story, but the archbishop helps to get the word out.

  3. CK says

    Instead of writing Tutu off, he should be acknowledged and his views embraced, because he is a friend, past AND present to gay people. He actively works to change the stances, attitudes and ways of the church. I do not align myself with the church at all, but really give respect to Tutu for actively working to change the church’s homophobic ways.

  4. Anon says

    Tutu really gets it. I feel the reason why the Muslim world might “win” is because the western world is trying so hard to revert back to dark times and sponsor homophobia and sexism. Pretty soon people won’t see (much) difference between the two worlds, and will inevitably rally with the ‘little’ guy.

    That’s why Hillary Clinton needs to be president. We can’t fight the war against Islamic fundamentalism with just war, it should include changing hearts too..

  5. Mark says

    Archbishop Tutu said some remarkabke things in the 20-plus minute interview. He has been consistent over many years on the “gay question”, which he likens to apartheid in his South African homeland of a few years ago. Listen to the entire interview (direct url is )rather than judge the interview from a couple of pre-broadcast sound bites. And yes, he does advocate same sex civil marriage. He’s hardlu “gross”.

  6. Deschanel says

    What an amazing person. I think the naysayers above have no idea how brave such supportive statements are in Africa.

    We’re talking about a place where in some countries, they’re killing and driving away young children for being “witches”.

    I appreciate Tutu’s statements, I haven’t heard anything as inclusive from any US politician lately.

  7. says

    “That’s why Hillary Clinton needs to be president. We can’t fight the war against Islamic fundamentalism with just war, it should include changing hearts too..”

    Anon, you boggle my mind. ROFL. Seriously, if you only realized how much that would read like parody.

    As far as Tutu is concerned – good on him, good for him and let’s all hope his message gets out there and people listen.

  8. JLS says

    “Islamic fundamentalists” is just a Bushism. “Moderate” Islam is pretty non-existent and the hadith is quite clear and militant about the enemies of Islam.

  9. Mustysinkwhole says

    Desmond Tutu is, and you can quote me on this, a living saint. I’ve had the good fortune to hear him speak in person, I’ve had the good fortune to hear him speak on religion, and I’ve had the good fortune to understand what godliness is, because this guy is the most humble, thoughtful, and caring human being I’ve ever met.

    And I (unlike some here) have actually gotten out and been in the world. If you don’t believe me, you need to read this man’s history. You need to just see how he held his country (South Africa) together after the fall of Apartheid. How he stopped himself from crying as he listened to the horrors he was presented with, because it took the focus off those horrors and put it onto him. (He would cry for hours after the cameras were off.)

    Would be that we could all be so selfless and courageous.

  10. someonewhoknows says

    Desmond Tutu is in the league that Nelson Mandela belongs to. Rather than write him off, find out for yourself who he is and his legacy… what have you done for mankind?

  11. KJ says

    Nanoo, you’re joking, right? Sarcasm is some times difficult to detect in blogs. I’ll just assume it is sarcasm and not insult anyone’s intelligence in regards to apartheid in South Africa.

  12. RJ says

    Greg, try reading the other links provided in the above article. Archbishop Tutu is apologizing for the church’s past actions as well as criticizing its current policies. So how exactly is he NOT telling it like it really is?

  13. says

    Hi all,

    I am the presenter who secured the interview with Desmond Tutu and just so you know, the interview now has a permanent home under the news section of Go to the news icon and on the drop down menu you will find ‘Canal Street Radio’ under that you will find BBC Archive and the Desmond Tutu interview will remain there.

    In the meantime should anyone want to get in touch with the programme (the only one on the entire BBC that covers exclusively LGBT issues) please don’t hesitate to e-mail me at or to listen every Monday evening from 8-9pm (UK Time)at or via the listen again LGBT Citizen Manchester icon for up to a week after the programme is broadcast. We’re off for Christmas but will return on January 7th 2008.

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