Archbishop Desmund Tutu
Before one word was spoken, the audience rose for a standing ovation.
Archbishop Desmond Tutu, 1984 Nobel Peace Prize recipient, was greeted at Mount Union's Schooler Lecture with applause and cheers from the more than 3000 in attendance. In a soft-spoken manner, Tutu talked about how freedom was attained in South Africa and what lessons can be applicable to other situations of conflict.
He pointed out that after the events of Sept. 11 security must be tightened, but not at the expense of civil liberties. He believes that ordinary rules can be suspended, but only when the situation is desperate, and the stipulations would have to be specific and limited. He also warned us not to demonize our enemy. "Our enemy has the capacity to change."
Tutu went onto speak about apartheid, and that believes it was resolved through the piecing together of leadership, forgiveness, support and faith. After a tinny applause from the crowd, who Tutu asked to thank themselves for giving him his right to vote while he was in his sixties, Tutu waved a magic wand over the crowd and transformed them into grateful South Africans. The applause was greater, and Tutu said, "You clearly have never been un-free."
He noted that the seemingly ordinary people were actually the extraordinary ones; the ones who could forgive years of atrocities that "knocked the stuffing out of people."
He also said that women and students played a crucial role in ending the repression that so many suffered. "Without them, we'd be telling a different story in our country," Tutu said.
Tutu said that he cannot understand how South Africa has become a "beacon of hope" when the people that live there are not virtuous and cannot even be considered smart. "Don't you think God has an extraordinary sense of humor?"
Tutu further discussed religion and God in response to a question about the role religion has played in politics throughout history, including the fighting in Northern Ireland and conflicts in the Middle East. "God doesn't care that Ghandi wasn't a Christian."
He continued by saying, "No religion can actually claim a corner of God. God is not a Christian? God embraces all."