Archbishop Desmond Tutu sat for an interview with Sarah Pulliam Bailey of Religion News Service on the occasion of the announcement that Butler University and its neighbor the Christian Theological Seminary in Indianapolis were founding a center named in his honor. Tutu spoke about Pope Francis, among other things. An excerpt:
Q: Pope Francis recently said of those who are gay, “Who am I to judge?” What do you make of the pope so far?
A: He’s taken a selfie! (cackling) He’s a tremendous breath of fresh air. The things he 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’ve got to say to you that I’m so, so thrilled that he is there at this crucial moment in the history of our world.
I say somewhat facetiously, “I’m so glad I’m not God.” Can you imagine being God and looking at Syria and saying: “These are my children. Look at what they’re doing to each other.” God looks at the Middle East, looks at Palestine. 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.”