Belief Beat

It seems that Paul the Octopus might be omniscient after all — the eight-legged oracle correctly predicted Spain would beat Germany in today’s FIFA World Cup semifinal, to advance to Sunday’s final against the Netherlands. (No word yet on whether any religious groups object to the potential for sea creature idolatry here; then again, sports-related worship seems acceptable to the masses at the moment. See also: James, LeBron.)

For more conventional religion news about the World Cup, check out Religion & Ethics Newsweekly’s recent interview with soccer fan Archbishop Desmond Tutu, retired head of the Anglican Church of Southern Africa. Some excerpts:

FRED DE SAM LAZARO, correspondent: South Africa has spent six billion dollars just on stadiums–money that could have gone to many pressing needs in a poor country. But that debate has been set aside for the celebrations these days. No one, it seems, has escaped World Cup fever–not even Archbishop Desmond Tutu, who came to our interview wearing soccer vestments.

ARCHBISHOP DESMOND TUTU: Many of those who are celebrating are the very ones that you would have thought wouldn’t because they are poor. But the scriptures long ago reminded us that human beings don’t subsist only on bread. You need things that lift your spirit.


DE SAM LAZARO: South Africans of all races complain about corruption, about high crime rates, about an education system in decline. Amid all this–amid political scandal surrounding the extramarital affairs of current president, Jacob Zuma, the ANC has continued to win elections, still trading, experts say, on its reputation as the party of Mandela. Archbishop Tutu says it will soon have to respond to growing discontent among voters. He’s urged the government to harness what he calls unprecedented national unity leading up to the World Cup.

TUTU: I haven’t seen so many people displaying our flag on their cars and every conceivable place. It’s just a fantastic thing, and we’re enormously grateful that it is there.

Click here for footage from the extended interview with Tutu.

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