Desmond Tutu quotes

  • 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

    #Bullying #Peace #Elephants

  • It isn't that it's questionable when you speak up for the right of people with different sexual orientation. People took some part of us and used it to discriminate against us. In our case, it was our ethnicity; it's precisely the same thing for sexual orientation. People are killed because they're gay.
    -- Desmond Tutu

    #Gay #Ethnicity #People

  • If you want peace, you don't talk to your friends. You talk to your enemies.
    -- Desmond Tutu

    #Life #Friendship #Peace

  • When you go to the Holy Land and see what's being done to the Palestinians at checkpoints, for us, it's the kind of thing we experienced in South Africa. Whether you want to say Israel practices apartheid is immaterial. They are doing things, given their history, you think, "Do you remember what happened to you?" Then they clobber you and say, "You are anti-Semitic."
    -- Desmond Tutu

    #Thinking #Israel #Land

  • Forgiveness says you are given another chance to make a new beginning.
    -- Desmond Tutu

    #Inspiring #Forgiveness #New Beginnings

  • He's a tremendous breath of fresh air. The things he [Pope Francis] has done in a short period of time: the fact that he does not live in a huge papal mansion and just dropped by in the dining room where ordinary people have meals. You think of his background, where he didn't use limousines in South America, that he used public transport. I'm so, so thrilled that he is there at this crucial moment in the history of our world.
    -- Desmond Tutu

    #Thinking #America #Our World

  • I can't for the life of me imagine that God would say, 'I will punish you because you are black; you should have been white. I will punish you because you are a woman; you should have been a man. I punish you because you are homosexual; you ought to have been heterosexual. I can't, I can't for the life of me believe that that is how God sees things.
    -- Desmond Tutu

    #Believe #Men #White

  • We can be human only together. A person is a person to other persons. We so desperately long for all of us to learn that we are meant for one another. We are meant for complementarity.
    -- Desmond Tutu

    #Long #Together #Humans

  • We are each made for goodness, love and compassion. Our lives are transformed as much as the world is when we live with these truths.
    -- Desmond Tutu

    #Compassion #World #Goodness

  • We are all connected. What unites us is our common humanity. I don't want to oversimplify things - but the suffering of a mother who has lost her child is not dependent on her nationality, ethnicity or religion. White, black, rich, poor, Christian, Muslim or Jew - pain is pain - joy is joy.
    -- Desmond Tutu

    #Christian #Mother #Children

  • If we are going to see real development in the world then our best investment is WOMEN!
    -- Desmond Tutu

    #Real #Development #World

  • I don't often want to speak. I try to be a reasonable person and to be diplomatic, but you go to that place and you see the settlements, you see what has happened to the land that was owned by the Palestinians. I have often said to my Jewish friends: "Please just remember where you come from. Remember Yahweh, who said to the Israelites, 'Treat the alien well with justice.'"
    -- Desmond Tutu

    #Land #Justice #Trying

  • We need other human beings in order to be human.
    -- Desmond Tutu

    #Order #Needs #Humans

  • I regard Abraham as my ancestor. Some of the greatest inspiration I have got has come from what we call the Old Testament prophets and what Jews would say "our prophets."
    -- Desmond Tutu

    #Inspiration #Old Testament #Prophet

  • Is Zionism racism? I would say yes. It's a policy that to me looks like it has very many parallels with racism. The effect is the same. Whether you call it that or not is in a sense irrelevant.
    -- Desmond Tutu

    #Israel #Racism #Looks

  • Love is universal. You don't have to tell somebody that loving is better than hating. You don't have to believe in God to know that stealing is bad. All of God's children and their different faiths help to realize the immensity of God. No faith contains the whole truth about God. And certainly Christians don't have a corner on God. All of us belong to God.
    -- Desmond Tutu

    #Christian #Children #Hate

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

    #Inspiring #God #Freedom

  • There is no religion in fact that I know that encourages or propagates violence in that its adherents should carry out.
    -- Desmond Tutu

    #Violence #Facts #Should

  • You don't choose your family. They are God's gift to you, as you are to them.
    -- Desmond Tutu

    #Inspirational #Family #Cute Relationship

  • Without forgiveness, there is no future. Forgiveness is not nebulous, impractical and idealistic. It's thoroughly realistic. It's real political in the long run.
    -- Desmond Tutu

    #Running #Real #Long

  • When the 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

    #Eye #Biblical #Land

  • Suffering is part and parcel of the human condition, but suffering can either embitter or ennoble us. It can ennoble us and become a spirituality of transformation when we find meaning in it.
    -- Desmond Tutu

    #Suffering #Spirituality #Transformation

  • I'm absolutely, utterly, and completely certain that God wouldn't be homophobic. I'd much rather go to hell - I really would much rather go to hell - than go to a homophobic heaven.
    -- Desmond Tutu

    #Leadership #Wisdom #Class

  • If we are to say that religion cannot be concerned with politics then we are really saying that there is a substantial part of human life in which God's writ does not run. If it is not God's, then whose is it? Who is in charge if not the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.
    -- Desmond Tutu

    #Running #Jesus #Father

  • The heart of the Christian Gospel is precisely that God is the all holy One; the all powerful One is also the One full of mercy and compassion. He is not a neutral God inhabiting some inaccessible Mount Olympus. He is a God who cares about His children and cares enormously for the weak, the poor, the naked, the downtrodden, the despised. He takes their side not because they are good, since many of them are demonstrably not so. He takes their side because He is that kind of God, and they have no one else to champion them.
    -- Desmond Tutu

    #Christian #Children #Powerful

  • All of us experience fear, but when we confront and acknowledge it, we are able to turn it into courage. Being courageous does not mean never being scared; it means acting as you know you must even though you are undeniably afraid.
    -- Desmond Tutu

    #Fear #Mean #Acting

  • There are very good Christians who are compassionate and caring. And there are very bad Christians. You can say that about Islam, about Hinduism, about any faith. That is why I was saying that it was not the faith per se but the adherent. People will use their religion to justify virtually anything.
    -- Desmond Tutu

    #Christian #Caring #People

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

    #Order #Differences #Different

  • Every situation of justice is an occasion where someone is being humiliated and they want to restore their dignity. They think, "I am a human being and I may not be able to defeat these people or destroy them, but I will hit out at them, because I am not a thing, I am human."
    -- Desmond Tutu

    #Thinking #People #Justice

  • This is a moral universe, which means that despite all the evidence that seems to be to the contrary, there is no way that evil and injustice and oppression and lies can have the last word. . . that is what has upheld the morale of our people, to know that in the end good will prevail.
    -- Desmond Tutu

    #Lying #Mean #People

  • Most of the leading figures of the Old Testament were polygamists. Abraham had several wives and concubines. If they wanted, they could say this was approved in the Bible.
    -- Desmond Tutu

    #Wife #Old Testament #Figures

  • Children learn about the nature of the world from their family. They learn about power and about justice, about peace and about compassion within the family. Whether we oppress or liberate our children in our relationships with them will determine whether they grow up to oppress and be oppressed or to liberate and be liberated.
    -- Desmond Tutu

    #Children #Growing Up #Compassion

  • Some people are able to use Bible as a means of opposing injustice, whereas others are able to find justification.
    -- Desmond Tutu

    #Mean #People #Use

  • Hope is being able to see that there is light despite all of the darkness.
    -- Desmond Tutu

    #Light #Darkness #Able

  • People are able to justify immense cruelty and say that it is something that is sanctioned by their faith.
    -- Desmond Tutu

    #People #Able #Cruelty

  • For Christians, who believe they are created in the image of God, it is the Godhead, diversity in unity and the three-in-oneness of God, which we and all creation reflect.
    -- Desmond Tutu

    #Christian #Believe #Oneness

  • We have a planet that is at risk, where resources don't have a permanent life. We are going to have to make the decision: are we going to survive or are we waiting for our extinction? One day we will wake up and find people are fighting not for oil but water.
    -- Desmond Tutu

    #Fighting #Oil #People

  • God places us in the world as his fellow workers-agents of transfiguration. We work with God so that injustice is transfigured into justice, so there will be more compassion and caring, that there will be more laughter and joy, that there will be more togetherness in God's world.
    -- Desmond Tutu

    #Faith #Laughter #Caring

  • A leader is someone you are not disappointed in placing trust in. When that person makes suggestions, you are inclined to trust [them]. Often it is people who have been there [in a similar situation to the people he or she is leading]. They would generally be people who are ready to take the risks themselves. Most leaders would be people who don't ever give commands and remain at home and let the foot soldiers be the ones who bear the brunt.
    -- Desmond Tutu

    #Home #Feet #People

  • The God who existed before any religion counts on you to make the oneness of the human family known and celebrated.
    -- Desmond Tutu

    #Family #Oneness #Humans

  • If you are going to be a leader, you must have a record where people saw you are standing up against injustice at a risk. Then that builds up your stock of credibility so that, when you speak on another occasion about a different thing, people will pay attention.
    -- Desmond Tutu

    #People #Leader #Risk

  • 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 bread.
    -- Desmond Tutu

    #Jesus #People #Political

  • Look at Nelson Mandela. Why did people want to follow him? He's a lousy speaker. If he hadn't got all the other things, you wouldn't spend time listening to him. But people actually don't listen to what he's saying, in a way. They are listening to him because he has communicated that he is ready to put his life on the line.
    -- Desmond Tutu

    #People #Listening #Way

  • Out of the cacophony of random suffering and chaos that can mark human life, the life artist sees or creates a symphony of meaning and order. A life of wholeness does not depend on what we experience. Wholeness depends on how we experience our lives.
    -- Desmond Tutu

    #Life #Artist #Order

  • One of the things that people sense is that you are not doing this for self-glorification, you are doing it for the sake of others. The Dalai Lama has been in exile for so many years, yet the Chinese are running scared of him.
    -- Desmond Tutu

    #Running #Self #Years

  • I have been to the Occupied Palestinian Territory, and I have witnessed the racially segregated roads and housing that reminded me so much of the conditions we experienced in South Africa under the racist system of Apartheid.
    -- Desmond Tutu

    #Racist #Territory #Apartheid

  • Too many people think that reconciliation means you soft-pedal differences.
    -- Desmond Tutu

    #Mean #Thinking #Differences

  • In the Bible, we first encounter God when he sides with a bunch of slaves against a powerful Pharaoh, an act of grace freely given.
    -- Desmond Tutu

    #Powerful #Grace #Encounters

  • When we look at a conflict, it is so often rooted in injustice, prejudice, competition for resources, poverty, poor governance and corruption.
    -- Desmond Tutu

    #Competition #Prejudice #Looks

  • A person with ubuntu is open and available to others, affirming of others, does not feel threatened that others are able and good, for he or she has a proper self-assurance that comes from knowing that he or she belongs in a greater whole and is diminished when others are humiliated or diminished, when others are tortured or oppressed.
    -- Desmond Tutu

    #Knowing #Ubuntu #Self

  • One of the sayings in our country is Ubuntu - the essence of being human. Ubuntu speaks particularly about the fact that you can't exist as a human being in isolation. It speaks about our interconnectedness. You can't be human all by yourself, and when you have this quality - Ubuntu - you are known for your generosity. We think of ourselves far too frequently as just individuals, separated from one another, whereas you are connected and what you do affects the whole World. When you do well, it spreads out; it is for the whole of humanity.
    -- Desmond Tutu

    #Country #Thinking #Ubuntu

  • Poverty - the greatest cause of human suffering on the planet - is itself exacerbated by conflict, competition for resources, injustice, even the global downturn and climate change. Diseases like AIDS, TB and malaria cannot be tackled without adequate resources. So you see everything is connected. In order to address any major cause of human suffering, we have to work together across many fronts.
    -- Desmond Tutu

    #Order #Competition #Suffering

  • 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

    #Beautiful #Gay #Yellow

  • I certainly don't think we [The Elders organization] are oracles but I would hope that over our lifetimes we have accumulated some useful experience and perhaps even a modicum of wisdom! We don't have all the answers.
    -- Desmond Tutu

    #Thinking #Organization #Oracles

  • If we could but recognize our common humanity, that we do belong together, that our destinies are bound up in one another's, that we can be free only together, that we can be human only together, then a glorious world would come into being where all of us lived harmoniously together as members of one family, the human family.
    -- Desmond Tutu

    #Destiny #Oneness #Humanity

  • It may seem daunting, but I am a prisoner of hope. We are more connected than ever before, we have more knowledge, and there are solutions if we work together. Today's technology is a great asset in encouraging global cooperation and understanding.
    -- Desmond Tutu

    #Technology #Understanding #Working Together

  • God's love is too great to be confined to any one side of a conflict or to any one religion.
    -- Desmond Tutu

    #Love Is #Sides #Conflict

  • What we try to do as Elders is help those who are trying to change their own societies and communities for the better. We hope that by supporting the good work that is being done, especially at the grass roots, we can help to alleviate the suffering of human beings. That is our core mission - to draw attention to the impact that conflict, injustice and poverty have on ordinary people.
    -- Desmond Tutu

    #Impact #Roots #People

  • 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

    #God #Squash #People

  • I think we need to grow in our self-assurance that is not scared of being challenged, that the truth we uphold can stand up to the closest possible scrutiny.
    -- Desmond Tutu

    #Thinking #Self #Needs

  • I have seen firsthand how injustice gets overlooked when the victims are powerless or vulnerable, when they have no one to speak up for them and no means of representing themselves to a higher authority. Animals are in precisely that position. Unless we are mindful of their interests and speak out loudly on their behalf, abuse and cruelty go unchallenged.
    -- Desmond Tutu

    #Mean #Animal #Abuse

  • I'm so thankful a significant majority of Americans are saying no to military intervention. We've got to find a solution that will in the end be one that makes Syria a better country, a better people. We can be human only together.
    -- Desmond Tutu

    #Country #Military #People

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

    #Individual

  • It is quite exhilarating to speak about a God who has an incredible bias, a notorious bias in favor of the downtrodden. You look at Exodus and the Israelites' escape from a bottomless pit. God is not evenhanded. God is biased up to his eyebrows.
    -- Desmond Tutu

    #Eyebrows #Looks #Pits

  • Frequently people think compassion and love are merely sentimental. No! They are very demanding. If you are going to be compassionate, be prepared for action.
    -- Desmond Tutu

    #Thinking #Compassion #People

  • Give young people a greater voice. They are the future and they are much wiser than we give them credit for.
    -- Desmond Tutu

    #Voice #People #Giving

  • I would refuse to go to a homophobic heaven. No, I would say sorry, I mean I would much rather go to the other place.
    -- Desmond Tutu

    #Sorry #Mean #Heaven

  • Laugh more. Don't forget to enjoy the blessings that God bestows on this beautiful planet.
    -- Desmond Tutu

    #Beautiful #Blessing #Laughing

  • 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 rights.
    -- Desmond Tutu

    #Compassion #Rights #Tables

  • It always comes back to our insecurities, as we say, "Oh, I'm not as good as you." So instead of accepting that perhaps I am not as good as someone else in some ways and being comfortable with who I am as I am, I spend all my time denigrating you, trying to cut you down to my self-perceived size. The sad problem is that we see ourselves as being quite terribly small. Instead of spending my time being envious, I need to celebrate your and my different gifts, even if mine are perhaps less spectacular than yours.
    -- Desmond Tutu

    #Cutting #Self #Who I Am

  • Nothing is too much trouble for Love.
    -- Desmond Tutu

    #Too Much #Trouble

  • Give a man a fish and feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and feed him for a lifetime. Teach a man to cycle and he will realize fishing is stupid and boring.
    -- Desmond Tutu

    #Stupid #Men #Cycling

  • Love is much more demanding than law.
    -- Desmond Tutu

    #Love #Marriage #Love Is

  • Universal education is not only a moral imperative but an economic necessity, to pave the way toward making many more nations self-sufficient and self-sustaining.
    -- Desmond Tutu

    #Self #Way #Moral

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

    #Yield #Moments #Lifetime

  • We must not allow ourselves to become like the system we oppose. We cannot afford to use methods of which we will be ashamed when we look back, when we say, '...we shouldn't have done that.' We must remember, my friends, that we have been given a wonderful cause. The cause of freedom! And you and I must be those who will walk with heads held high. We will say, 'We used methods that can stand the harsh scrutiny of history.'
    -- Desmond Tutu

    #Freedom #Looks #Use

  • If we succeed in empowering girls, we'll succeed in everything else.
    -- Desmond Tutu

    #Girl #Empowering #Succeed

  • No future without forgiveness.
    -- Desmond Tutu

    #Justice #Racial Justice

  • Men and boys, we show our manhood through the way we treat our women. Our wives, our sisters, our mothers.
    -- Desmond Tutu

    #Mother #Boys #Men

  • Every praying person, every person who has an encounter with God, must have a passionate concern for his or her brother and sister, his or her neighbor. To treat any of these as if he were less than the child of God is to deny the validity of one's spiritual existence.
    -- Desmond Tutu

    #Spiritual #Brother #Children

  • As much as the world has an instinct for evil and is a breeding ground for genocide, holocaust, slavery, racism, war, oppression, and injustice, the world has an even greateer instinct for goodness, rebirth, mercy, beauty, truth, freedom and love.
    -- Desmond Tutu

    #Dance #War #Racism

  • There comes a point where we need to stop just pulling people out of the river. We need to go upstream and find out why they're falling in.
    -- Desmond Tutu

    #Fall #Rivers #People

  • Be nice to the whites, they need you to rediscover their humanity.
    -- Desmond Tutu

    #Nice #Humanity #Needs

  • I would refuse to go to a homophobic heaven.
    -- Desmond Tutu

    #Heaven #Homophobic #Refuse

  • Exclusion is never the way forward on our shared paths to freedom and justice.
    -- Desmond Tutu

    #Justice #Way #Path

  • The abolition of the death penalty is making us a civilized society. It shows we actually do mean business when we say we have reverence for life.
    -- Desmond Tutu

    #Mean #Death Penalty #Life Death

  • Your ordinary acts of love and hope point to the extraordinary promise that every human life is of inestimable value.
    -- Desmond Tutu

    #Inspirational #Peace #Promise

  • A person is a person through other persons. None of us comes into the world fully formed. We would not know how to think, or walk, or speak, or behave as human beings unless we learned it from other human beings. We need other human beings in order to be human. I am because other people are. A person is entitled to a stable community life, and the first of these communities is the family.
    -- Desmond Tutu

    #Thinking #Order #People

  • We inhabit a universe that is characterized by diversity.
    -- Desmond Tutu

    #Diversity #Universe

  • My father always used to say, "Don't raise your voice. Improve your argument."
    -- Desmond Tutu

    #Morning #Father #Voice

  • It is our moral obligation to give every child the very best education possible.
    -- Desmond Tutu

    #Children #Giving #Moral

  • There will be no future without forgiveness. Any process of peace is bound to collapse if this is missing. There is no way peace and stability can come through the gun of vengeance.
    -- Desmond Tutu

    #Peace #Gun #Missing

  • To take a life when a life has been lost is revenge, not justice.
    -- Desmond Tutu

    #Revenge #Justice #Death Penalty

  • Stability and peace in our land will not come from the barrel of a gun, because peace without justice is an impossibility.
    -- Desmond Tutu

    #Peace #War #Gun

  • 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

    #Father #Lying #Voice

  • I want my commitment to ending girl marriage to be equal to my commitment to ending apartheid.
    -- Desmond Tutu

    #Girl #Commitment #Want

  • To treat anyone as if they were less than human, less than a brother or a sister, no matter what they have done, is to contravene the very laws of our humanity.
    -- Desmond Tutu

    #Brother #Law #Humanity

  • Without forgiveness, there's no future.
    -- Desmond Tutu

    #Inspirational #Inspiring #Forgiveness

  • The fundamental law of human beings is interdependence. A person is a person through other persons.
    -- Desmond Tutu

    #Law #Collaboration #Fundamentals

  • 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

    #Hands #People #Injustice And Oppression

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