Take pro-gay stand or else, Tutu warns

Published April 1, 1998

Cape Town

The World Council of Churches must take a positive stand on homosexuality at its next assembly in the Zimbabwean capital, Harare, if it wants to remain credible, according to Archbishop Desmond Tutu.

Archbishop Tutu told ENI in an exclusive interview in Cape Town that since the WCC was not boycotting Harare following “reprehensible” anti-gay statements by the Zimbabwean president, Robert Mug-abe, the organization had to take a stand on the issue.

Archbishop Tutu is a Nobel Peace Prize laureate, the former leader of South Africa’s Anglicans and now chairman of the South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission. He is also the former president of the All Africa Conference of Churches, the continent’s principal ecumenical organization.

Over the past four years, President Mugabe has virulently denounced homosexuality, calling homosexuals “pigs” and “perverts”, and describing homosexuality as a “Western perversion” unknown in African culture. He has made it clear gay men and lesbians are not welcome in Zimbabwe.

The WCC’s assembly, which takes place every seven years, will be held on the campus of the University of Zimbabwe in Harare from Dec. 3 to 14 this year. The choice of venue has proved controversial because of President Mugabe’s remarks, and one Dutch Protestant church has announced it will not attend because of this.


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