Desmond Tutu’s Still Dreaming Big
Ten years after he helped to defeat Apartheid, Nobel Peace Prize-winner Archbishop Tutu is still touring America, generating controversy, and challenging world leaders. A fervent believer that politics and religion do mix, Tutu has published his first inspirational call-to-action, GOD HAS A DREAM: A Vision of Hope for Our Time.
April 1, 2004 - KIHEI, HI/ From being fought over by television talk show hosts to receiving standing ovations from audiences of up to 8,000, Archbishop Tutu’s message that God belongs in world politics and in our lives is striking a chord. Introduced as “the foremost moral authority of our time” by UN Secretary General Kofi Anan, Tutu recently told a standing room crowd at the UN, “Arafat and Sharon, Bush and Bin Laden belong in God's family.”
Tutu went on to say, “All faiths teach us that this is a moral universe. Evil can never have the last word. The powerful, unjust will bite the dust and get their comeuppance. Those who rule must know power is for service, not for self-aggrandizement. Power is for the sake of the ruled.” At age 73, Tutu continues to challenge world leaders by:
- Calling on Bush and Blair to apologize for misleading the public and saying that as a result of the war, “the world is a great deal less safe than it was before.” He says, “President Bush and Mr. Blair would recover considerable credibility and respect if they were to say, ‘Yes, I made a mistake.’”
- Claiming President Bush was oversimplifying when he labeled Iran, Iraq and North Korea as an “axis of evil.” “People buy into that because they don't want to sit down and work out the complex nature of things,'' Tutu said.
- Visiting a death row inmate in Texas and claiming that the death penalty is “an absurdity that brutalizes society.” Death row inmate Dominique Green, Tutu says “is a remarkable advertisement for God. This is not the monster that many would wish, or think, that is on death row.”
- Proclaiming that God’s Word belongs in world politics while warning against the rise of fundamentalism and religious warfare. “Religious faith is resilient and not easily destroyed….Religion is a potent force, but it is in fact morally neutral. It is neither automatically good nor bad. It can be either depending on what it inspires its adherent to do.”
Archbishop Tutu’s message speaks personally as well as politically to these frightening and bleak times of terrorist attacks, war, and economic hardship. In GOD HAS A DREAM: A Vision of Hope for Our Time (Maui Media, $24.95, Audiobook/4 compact discs; Doubleday, $16.95, Hardcover), Archbishop Tutu reaches out to people of all religious backgrounds with his characteristic warmth and empathy and offers a message of hope.
He begins, “I write these words because we all experience sadness, we all come at times to despair, and we all lose hope that the suffering in our lives and in our world will ever end.” He recognizes the seeming darkness of our time, and he writes, “Our world is in the grips of a transformation that continues forward and backward in ways that lead to despair at times and ultimately redemption.” Throughout his voice is intimate, heartfelt, and often even humorous. He reads the audio in his own disarming and captivating voice.
Joining profound spiritual wisdom with political relevance, God Has a Dream has already been chosen as one of the Best Spiritual Books of 2004 by Spirituality and Health Magazine.
Echoing the words of Martin Luther King, Jr., Tutu writes: “God says to you, ‘I have a dream. Please help me to realize it….I have a dream that my children will know that they are members of one family, the human family, God’s family, My family.’” As daily, the casualty counts go up in Iraq, Tutu reminds us, “In war, we keep score of our casualties and their casualties to see who is winning. God only sees His dead children.”
Tutu not only draws from his strong faith but also interweaves throughout the text his own experience helping to address and rectify the injustices of Apartheid in South Africa. After he retired as the Archbishop of Cape Town in 1996, President Nelson Mandela named Tutu Chairman of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, the organization charged with bringing to light the atrocities of South African Apartheid.
Having personally witnessed evil, oppression, and enmity, Tutu writes that his message of hope is not optimistic. “Optimism relies on appearances and very quickly turns into pessimism when the appearances change. I see myself as a realist, and the vision of hope I want to offer you in this book is based on reality—the reality I have seen and lived.”
“GOD HAS A DREAM” By Desmond Tutu
*Read by Desmond Tutu*
Published as an unabridged Audiobook by Maui Media, April 1, 2004
ISBN: 097263102 / $24.95/ Audiobook / 4 CDs
Published in Hardcover by Doubleday, March 16, 2004
ISBN: 0385477848 / $16.95 / Hardcover / 144 page