Desmond Tutu

You don’t choose your family. They are God’s gift to you, as you are to them.
– Desmond Tutu

When the white missionaries came to Africa they had the Bible, and we had the land. They
said, “Let us pray.” We closed our eyes. When we opened them, we had the Bible and they
had the land.
– Desmond Tutu

Be nice to whites, they need you to rediscover their humanity.
– Desmond Tutu

We used to say to the apartheid government, “You may have the guns, you may have all this
power, but you have already lost. Come, join the winning side.”
– Desmond Tutu

Do a little bit of good wherever you are; it’s those little bits of good put together that
overwhelm the world.
– Desmond Tutu

Religion is like a knife: You can either use it to cut bread, or stick in someone’s back.
– Desmond Tutu

We may be surprised at the people we find in heaven. God has a soft spot for sinners. His
standards are quite low.
– Desmond Tutu

South Africa, so utterly improbably, is a beacon of hope in a dark and troubled world.
– Desmond Tutu

My father always used to say, “Don’t raise your voice. Improve your argument.” Good sense
does not always lie with the loudest shouters, nor can we say that a large, unruly crowd is
always the best arbiter of what is right.
– Desmond Tutu

For goodness sake, this is God’s world! We live in a moral universe. The apartheid government
was very powerful, but today it no longer exists. Hitler, Mussolini, Stalin, Pinochet, Milosevic
and Idi Amin were all powerful, but in the end they bit the dust.
– Desmond Tutu

I am a leader by default, only because nature does not allow a vacuum.
– Desmond Tutu

I am not interested in picking up crumbs of compassion thrown from the table of someone who
considers himself my master. I want the full menu of human rights.
– Desmond Tutu

A person is a person because he recognizes others as persons.
– Desmond Tutu

Israel will never get true security and safety through oppressing another people. A true peace
can ultimately be built only on justice. We condemn the violence of suicide bombers, and we
condemn the corruption of young minds taught hatred; but we also condemn the violence of
military incursions in the occupied lands, and the inhumanity that won’t let ambulances reach
the injured.
– Desmond Tutu

I am 52 years of age. I am a bishop in the Anglican Church, and a few people might be
constrained to say that I was reasonably responsible. In the land of my birth I cannot vote,
whereas a young person of eighteen can vote. And why? Because he or she possesses that
wonderful biological attribute – a white skin.
– Desmond Tutu

Freedom and liberty lose out by default because good people are not vigilant.
– Desmond Tutu

We refuse to be treated as the doormat for the government to wipe its jackboots on.
– Desmond Tutu

You and I are created for transcendence, laughter, caring. God deliberately did not make the
world perfect, for God is looking for you and me to be fellow workers with God.
– Desmond Tutu

We struggled against apartheid in South Africa, supported by people the world over, because
black people were being blamed and made to suffer for something we could do nothing about;
our very skins. It is the same with sexual orientation. It is a given.
– Desmond Tutu

Unless we work assiduously so that all of God’s children, our brothers and sisters, members of
our one human family, all will enjoy basic human rights, the right to a fulfilled life, the right of
movement, of work, the freedom to be fully human, with a humanity measured by nothing less
than the humanity of Jesus Christ himself, then we are on the road inexorably to
– Desmond Tutu

Though wrong gratifies in the moment, good yields its gifts over a lifetime.
– Desmond Tutu

Those who invest in South Africa should not think they are doing us a favour; they are here
for what they get out of our cheap and abundant labor, and they should know that they are
buttressing one of the most vicious systems.
– Desmond Tutu

God created us for fellowship. God created us so that we should form the human family,
existing together because we were made for one another.
– Desmond Tutu

Good is stronger than evil; love is stronger than hate; light is stronger than darkness; life is
stronger than death.
– Desmond Tutu

I will never tell anyone to pick up a gun. But I will pray for the man who picks up a gun, pray
that he will be less cruel than he might otherwise have been.
– Desmond Tutu

When we see others as the enemy, we risk becoming what we hate. When we oppress
others, we end up oppressing ourselves. All of our humanity is dependent upon recognizing
the humanity in others.
– Desmond Tutu

We in South Africa had a relatively peaceful transition. If our madness could end as it did, it
must be possible to do the same everywhere else in the world. If peace could come to South
Africa, surely it can come to the Holy Land.
– Desmond Tutu

It is for real that injustice and oppression will not have the last word. There was a time when
Hitler looked like he was going to vanquish all of Europe, and where is he now?
– Desmond Tutu

You must show the world that you abhor fighting.
– Desmond Tutu

Resentment and anger are bad for your blood pressure and your digestion.
– Desmond Tutu

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.
– Desmond Tutu

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.
– Desmond Tutu

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
– Desmond Tutu

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.
– Desmond Tutu

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
– Desmond Tutu

The reprisal against the suicide bomber does not bring peace. There is a suicide bomber, a
reprisal and then a counter-reprisal. And it just goes on and on.
– Desmond Tutu

Forgiving is not forgetting; it’s actually remembering; remembering and not using your right to
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.
– Desmond Tutu

Without forgiveness there can be no future for a relationship between individuals or within
and between nations.
– Desmond Tutu

People with power have an incredible capacity for wanting to be able to retain that power and
don’t like scrutiny.
– Desmond Tutu

My humanity is bound up in yours, for we can only be human together.
– Desmond Tutu

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?”
– Desmond Tutu

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?
– Desmond Tutu

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.
– Desmond Tutu

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
– Desmond Tutu

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.
– Desmond Tutu

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.
– Desmond Tutu

What is black empowerment when it seems to benefit not the vast majority but an elite that
tends to be recycled?
– Desmond Tutu

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.
– Desmond Tutu

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.
– Desmond Tutu

Differences are not intended to separate, to alienate. We are different precisely in order to
realize our need of one another.
– Desmond Tutu

You can never win a war against terror as long as there are conditions in the world that make
people desperate -poverty, disease, ignorance, etc. I think people are beginning to realize
that you can’t have pockets of prosperity in one part of the world and huge deserts of
poverty and deprivation, and think that you can have a stable and secure world.
– Desmond Tutu