All right then I’ll go to hell

Wow. Desmond Tutu says – echoing Huck Finn – he would rather go to hell than to a homophobic heaven.

That’s really quite amazing (in a good way). Since he’s an archbishop, he takes those categories seriously (as Huck did). That means he would give up a lot of massively important goods for one that for him is even more important. That’s impressive.

He also says he would prefer that hell to worship of a homophobic god. That too is impressive.

(It’s unfair, in a way, that theists get credit for this when atheists don’t. But atheists aren’t giving up anything in saying that, while theists are. I find it hard not to give Tutu credit.)

Desmond Tutu has said he would rather go to hell than worship a homophobic god.

The retired archbishop was speaking at the United Nations’ launch of its gay-rights program in Cape Town, South Africa, a country where there is still much prejudice against gay people.

He said: “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.

“I would not worship a God who is homophobic and that is how deeply I feel about this.

“I am as passionate about this campaign as I ever was about apartheid. For me, it is at the same level.”



  1. MFHeadcase says

    Wow! An archbishop worth as much or maybe even more than his weight in fertilizer!

    I am surprised the church hadn’t filtered him out prior to priesthood.

  2. otrame says

    That an illiterate, abused boy living on his own without the “benefits” of genteel society could figure out that slavery was wrong and that he would no longer participate in it, even at the expense of his immortal soul (which was a very big deal for Huck) was intended to be a slap in the face of racists, especially the “genteel” type. And remember that Twain’s audience considered themselves very genteel indeed.

    And Huck came to the conclusion the way people really do, by getting to know someone and finding out that they are just people, no matter what your culture is telling you. “All right then, I’ll go to hell.” is an act of considerable bravery when you believe hell is real.

    So good for Mr. Tutu.

  3. says

    Huck didn’t actually figure out that slavery was wrong. He still thought it was right – and that he was very wicked for “stealing” Jim from the Widow Douglas. But at the same time he couldn’t bring himself to betray Jim back into slavery – so he accepted the burden of doing a wrong wicked thing.

    Along with everything else it is, it’s a really brilliant thought experiment about moral reasoning.

  4. Sili says

    Why does he think God cares what he wants?

    If it so pleases Him, He’ll take Tutu to Heaven willy-nilly.

    Short of blaspheming the Holey Spirit there isn’t a “Get out of Heaven free” card as far as I know.

  5. says

    Anyway he’s right, given the right assumptions. God is homophobic, so god sees that Tutu is not, so god sends Tutu to hell instead of heaven. Tutu even said it aloud, on the record, in public, so that there would be no mistake.

  6. says


    But then Tutu was a brave campaigner against apartheid. Evidently he believes in equality for everybody, not just himself.

    But yes, props, kudos and several internets for Desmond.

  7. says

    There is an old saying that goes something like this: “When the bishop says there is a god, that’s all in the way of business. But if he says there isn’t, you’d better listen.” This is something on that level of awesomeness! (and I’ll take any mention of Twain. You young uns’ listen’n? Read Twain!)

  8. Silentbob says

    Since he’s an archbishop, he takes those categories seriously

    It ain’t necessarily so, you know. Anglicans aren’t literalists, they tend to take it all with a grain of salt as poetic metaphor and symbolism, even if they’re shy about explicitly saying so. I remember being linked to a Dawkins video from somewhere on FTB where he repeated the joke,
    “Q: Do you believe in God? A: No, we’re Church of England.

    Not to diss Tutu. I’ve always liked him. He not only has a fierce social conscience, but a great sense of humour too. I reckon he would have loved that Rowan Atkinson Archbishop skit.

  9. CLG says

    I wonder if he believes in a literal hell and if does, I wonder if he believes that eternal torture could ever be justified. Being Tutu I suspect he doesn’t believe it can be and God would be able to see that, so presumably Tutu knows he is going to hell regardless of God’s position on gay rights 😀

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *