Shawshank Redemption

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"If I had been a cardinal and had the right to vote I would not have given my vote to the new pope," Tutu told journalists in Cape Town. He said before Tuesday's announcement he had expressed the hope that the new pope would be someone, if not from Africa, then certainly from the developing world. "I believed that it was likely that a candidate from those parts would have placed on the agenda of the world, of the church, issues that are burning issues in Africa, in Asia, in Latin America - issues such as poverty, in order to question seriously the skewed international economic order which disadvantage the poor," the archbishop said.
Those were the words of Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu yesterday, seemingly not convinced at the election of Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger. But this is not a post about Pope Benedict XVI. This is an exploration of the reasons I feel like hiding under a rock every time I hear Desmond Tutu quoted. This is not a 27yr old man you see before you, rather a 17yr old boy, who is eager for the weekend to arrive. It's his first 'youth leadership' retreat, he's a recently appointed member of a team responsible for the teaching and guiding of 9 to 13yr old kids from his church. Finally, the weekend arrives and he's joking around with the others on the beach, only a few feet from the Reverend's holiday house (although quite how the Rev can afford a holiday house in Hermanus has not yet occurred to him). After the afternoon's 'freetime', the group settle in the lounge, comforted by the knowledge that many hours of discussion and teachings from scripture are about to commence. So the Youth Pastor decides to play them a tape of one of the other ministers in a radio interview with the Archbishop Tutu. The topic happens to be homosexuality, and they all laugh and murmur approval as their minister makes Tutu bob and weave under a barrage of questions and 'biblical' facts. Tutu, you see, has made the fatal error of wondering what the big deal is. Why sexual preference must be defended by us heteros to the death. Why the discrimination. Why the constant "you're damned to hell for your unnatural fornication' barrage. Big mistake. Their minister runs rings around Tutu, and the fact that Tutu remains at all times a patient, passive and conciliatory figure just makes going for the jugular that much easier. It's ten years later. And in those ten years I've seen Archbishop Tutu continue to perform 'heretical acts', as these two article excerpts will show.
1. Zimbabwe's ruling Zanu-PF called South African cleric Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu a "sellout" on Tuesday, for saying that Zimbabwe made a mockery of African democracy. 2.Archbishop emeritus Desmond Tutu has issued a stern warning that black economic empowerment is benefiting only a small elite while South Africa is "sitting on a powder keg" of poverty. He has also spoken out strongly against those who failed to openly debate and challenge President Thabo Mbeki's controversial views on HIV and Aids, arguing that South Africa is "a democracy and not a dictatorship".
I feel like a shower. I feel like washing the filth of those grossly delusional years off. I feel violated. I feel ashamed. But I also feel free. Free to be thankful that people like Archbishop Tutu exist. People who refuse to tow the line, people who put integrity before loyalty, people who understand that compassion is not owned by any dogma, creed or faith. People who call a spade a spade. "There's not a day goes by I don't feel regret. Not because I'm in here, or because you think I should. I look back on the way I was then, a young, stupid kid who committed that terrible crime. I want to talk to him. I want to try and talk some sense to him, tell him the way things are. But I can't. That kid's long gone and this old man is all that's left. I got to live with that. Rehabilitated? It's just a bullshit word. So you go on and stamp your form, sonny, and stop wasting my time. Because to tell you the truth, I don't give a shit." (You can read the article about Tutu's response to the new Pope here)

8 Responses to “Shawshank Redemption”

  1. Anonymous Fence 

    that quote's from The Shawshank right? Morgan Freeman's character. Great film

    Not a fan of the new pope, but then I wasn't a fan of the old one either. There is a lot of talk that the cardinals did a deal and that he'll be gone in 2 years. Whats strange is that he keeps getting described as an arch-conservative, yet most of his politics seem to be very similar to JP's, who just had so much praise heaped on him.

    But you weren't talking about the pope were you...

  2. Blogger anne 

    You're a good man, mister.

  3. Blogger LiVEwiRe 

    One of my favorite movies ever. And after he speaks those words, his release from prison is granted. It is granted once he speaks his true feelings, not the scripted speeches he thinks he has to recite.

    I can see a similarity in Tutu's words in that they are true and pure. That has such power. A power that can't be taken away and that hopefully, will spread to others... it is liberation at it's finest: the liberation of a mind.

  4. Blogger JP 

    That's sad. I used to hear a lot about/by Tutu back in the 80s, less and less since. Looks like any voice of reason is doomed to be marginalised?

  5. Blogger banzai cat 

    Hmmm... any chance Tutu could ever be raised to Cardinal-status?

  6. Blogger Prone Ranger 

    I have met some great men in my time, and Desmond Tutu is one of the greatest. I was privileged to share a not-so-private tea party with him at his home. I remember in the bad/good old days how the privileged and franchised prayed for the right man to be elevated to the position of Archbishop, and when Desmond was the man they all moaned and complained! I have heard stories in Australia, repeated 4th hand from fleeing South Africans, about this terrorist in the clergy, and I was told of his evils in the brainwash of the army.

    What a pity many didn't do what I did - yes, I pat myself on the back - and simply go and read the transcripts of his sermons.

    Even the smallest mind would recognise the stature of this man!

    I was saddened yesterday to hear someone, again, slate him for voicing his opinion. No man, not even the pope (or especially)is infallible. But when the Arch Tutu speaks, it is well worth a listen!(by the way, I am not being disrespectful, I am parodying his own speech).

  7. Blogger sojourning crow 

    You are way to intellectual to read at 7:10 in the morning. I'll come back...
    thanks for stoppin' by.

  8. Blogger mysfit 

    That will always be one of my favorite movies:
    "I have to remind myself that some birds aren't meant to be caged. Their feathers are just too bright. And when they fly away, the part of you that knows it was a sin to lock them up DOES rejoice. Still, the place you live in is that much more drab and empty that they're gone. I guess I just miss my friend."

    It's nice to know that people like Arch Tutu exist in the Chruch - reminds me that religion can be a good thing, sometimes it's hard to remember that. Unfortunately, men like Tutu will always be marginalized, slandered and defamed for their views and men like JP will always be praised.

    It's not that I think JP was a bad man, I just didn't agree with most of his policies. The catholic church has a long history of trying to make the world the way they want it to be instead of facing it the way it is. The new Pope seems like he will just follow along with what JP did and let the world adjust.

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