Desmond Tutu quotes
Resentment and anger are bad for your blood pressure and your digestion.
If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor. If an
elephant has its foot on the tail of a mouse and you say that you are neutral, the mouse will
not appreciate your neutrality.
When a pile of cups is tottering on the edge of the table and you warn that they will crash to
the ground, in South Africa you are blamed when that happens.
I don't preach a social gospel; I preach the Gospel, period. The gospel of our Lord Jesus
Christ is concerned for the whole person. When people were hungry, Jesus didn't say, "Now is
that political or social?" He said, "I feed you." Because the good news to a hungry person is
For goodness sake, will they hear, will white people hear what we are trying to say? Please,
all we are asking you to do is recognise that we are humans too.
I give great thanks to God that he has created a Dalai Lama. Do you really think, as some
have argued, that God will be saying: You know, that guy, the Dalai Lama, is not bad. What a
pity he's not a Christian? I don't think that is the case - because, you see, God is not a
The reprisal against the suicide bomber does not bring peace. There is a suicide bomber,
reprisal and then a counter-reprisal. And it just goes on and on.
Forgiving is not forgetting; it's actually remembering; remembering and not using your right
hit back. It's a second chance for a new beginning. And the remembering part is particularly
important. Especially if you dont want to repeat what happened.
Without forgiveness there can be no future for a relationship between individuals or within
and between nations.
People with power have an incredible capacity for wanting to be able to retain that power and
don't like scrutiny.
My humanity is bound up in yours, for we can only be human together.
Sometimes you want to whisper in God's ear, "God, we know you are in charge, but why don't
you make it slightly more obvious?"
When will we learn that human beings are of infinite value because they have been created in
the image of God, and that it is a blasphemy to treat them as if they were less than this and
to do so ultimately recoils on those who do this?
If you want to keep people subjugated, the last thing you place in their hands is a Bible.
There's nothing more radical, nothing more revolutionary, nothing more subversive against
injustice and oppression than the Bible.
At home in South Africa I have sometimes said in big meetings where you have black and
white together: "Raise your hands!" Then I have said, "Move your hands," and I've said, "Look
at your hands - different colours representing different people. You are the Rainbow People of
We are made for goodness. We are made for love. We are made for friendliness. We are made
for togetherness. We are made for all of the beautiful things that you and I know. We are made
to tell the world that there are no outsiders. All are welcome: Black, white, red, yellow, rich,
poor, educated, not educated, male, female, gay, straight, all, all, all. We all belong to this
family, this human family, God's family.
Children are a wonderful gift. They have an extraordinary capacity to see into the heart of
things and to expose sham and humbug for what they are.
What is black empowerment when it seems to benefit not the vast majority but an elite that
tends to be recycled?
People who call pacifists weak, that's not the case. Actually you go into confrontation. You
confront violent people without weapons and your confrontation draws out their violence as
it did in Birmingham with the dogs as it did in South Africa with the dogs. And that worked
beautifully in Capetown in those few months. It was called the Defiance Campaign. The police
violence, which was normally confined to black townships, was exported into the city. There
was a particular evening, in which the Anglican Cathedral went to a judge to seek an order to
stop the police from beating people up indiscriminately on the streets. Well, the police lawyer
had considerable difficulty persuading the judge not to grant the order when the judge's own
clerk had been beaten up on the way to court to hear the case that evening.
I hope we can accept a wonderful truth: We are family.We are family. If we could get to
believe this we would realize that to care about the other is not being altruistic. It is the best
form of self-interest.
Differences are not intended to separate, to alienate. We are different precisely in order to
realize our need of one another.