Desmond Tutu – Christianity

What religion was desmond tutu

desmond tutu was born in 1931 and died in december 2021.

was the archbishop emeritus of cape town and a renowned anglican theologian and human rights activist who played a central role in the campaign against apartheid in south africa. he was the first black african to hold the offices of bishop of johannesburg and archbishop of cape town. after nelson mandela was released from prison in 1990, the two men led negotiations to create a multiracial and democratic south africa. tutu chaired the truth and reconciliation commission that investigated human rights abuses on both sides during the apartheid era. he also spoke out on gay rights, the iraq war and the political situation in israel and the palestinian territories. but his socialist political stance made him a divisive figure: he remained very popular with many black South Africans and some white liberals. but the more radical black activists and white conservatives looked at him with suspicion.

early years and trainingarchbishop desmond was born in october 1931 in klerksdorp, in northwestern south africa. His family background was a mix of Xhosa and Motswana heritage. His father was the principal of a Methodist elementary school. he suffered from polio as a child, which left his right hand permanently damaged. His family was Christian and he was baptized in the Methodist tradition when he was a child, but the family later moved to the Anglican tradition. at age 12 he was confirmed, publicly declaring his Christian faith. While at school in Johannesburg, he was strongly influenced by his church minister, Bishop Trevor Huddleston, an active anti-apartheid activist. Archbishop Desmond completed his education when the South African authorities began to introduce apartheid policies to separate South Africans by colour. he trained as a teacher in pretoria and began teaching in 1954 when the government introduced the bantu education law which imposed racial segregation in education. he married in 1955 and in 1958 he gave up teaching to train as an Anglican priest. ordination and early career in 1960 he was ordained a deacon in a context of growing racial tension: that year 69 black south africans were killed by police during a demonstration in sharpeville. the same year the government banned the african national congress (anc). archbishop desmond became a priest in 1961. the following year he traveled to the uk to study theology at kings college london. He returned to southern Africa in 1966, where he taught at the Federal Theological Seminary and then at the University of Botswana, Lesotho and Swaziland. he was a supporter of the black consciousness movement, which campaigned against apartheid. he returned to the uk in 1972 to become director for africa of the theological education fund of the world council of churches. he was drawn to the ideas of African theology and black theology. the latter reminded black South Africans that god was on the side of the oppressed. archbishop desmond felt that black theology would restore the dignity of black south africans and compared his experience to that of the jewish people in the old testament part of the bible. he wrote, god ‘…stands on the side of the poor, the hungry, the oppressed, the victims of injustice…’. he felt that Christians needed to speak up for the poor and weak and change the society around them.

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rising profile under apartheidarchbishop desmond returned to south africa in 1975 to become dean of johannesburg. in 1976 he wrote to prime minister bj vorster warning him of growing anger among black south africans and urging him to end apartheid. that year violence broke out in the township of soweto. hundreds were killed. Archbishop Desmond became an increasingly vocal and high-profile critic of apartheid and white minority rule. but he continued to insist on the need for nonviolent protest. he called on other countries to put economic pressure on the South African government to end apartheid and give black South Africans the right to vote. in august 1976 he was consecrated bishop of lesotho. two years later he returned to johannesburg when he was elected general secretary of the south africa council of churches, becoming its first black leader. his campaign continued; he spoke in europe and north america and met with political and religious leaders. but the South African government looked at him with suspicion and twice confiscated his passport to prevent him from traveling and tried to tarnish his reputation. despite this, his influence grew. In 1984 he addressed the United Nations Security Council and received the Nobel Peace Prize.

He became Bishop of Johannesburg in 1985. That year, the South African government declared a partial state of emergency as race riots grew. the following year he urged the international community to impose sanctions on south africa. months later he was installed as archbishop of cape town, becoming the leader of the anglican church in south africa. His leadership style was to build consensus rather than impose decisions. he oversaw the introduction of women priests, a radical movement at the time. beyond the church he was involved in mediating between black protesters and security rolesafter ANC leader nelson mandela was released from prison in 1990, he and Archbishop Desmond led the negotiations to end apartheid and introduce a multiracial democracy. Mandela called him “the archbishop of the people.” he acted as a mediator between the rival black factions now jockeying for position. when mandela became president after the first fully democratic elections, archbishop desmond led the inauguration prayers for him. he was later appointed to chair the truth and reconciliation commission. the archbishop suggested that this process should have three elements: confession, forgiveness and restitution. witnesses testified, some of them publicly; the perpetrators could apply for an amnesty. the goal was not to prosecute. the hearings were held between 1996 and 1998. many were broadcast by national media. Archbishop Desmond believed that the process, while not perfect, would help with long-term reconciliation and healing. The Archbishop popularized the term “Rainbow Nation” to symbolize post-apartheid South Africa. he resigned as archbishop in 1996 and became archbishop emeritus. but he continued to campaign for various causes at home and abroad. he publicly criticized mandela and two of his successors, presidents mbeki and zuma, and the regimes of other african leaders. He opposed the war in Iraq, condemned Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians, and called for action to combat HIV/AIDS. He also championed gay rights, blessing the marriage of his mpho’s daughter to another woman, comparing discrimination against gays to discrimination against women and blacks. he continued to travel and lecture before retiring from public life in 2010.

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