U-2 lead singer, Bono, recently addressed the National Prayer Breakfast where President Bush and other national and international leaders gathered in Washington, DC. I am not much of a rock fan, but I find his remarks refreshing, authentic and a real call to action. Of course I did not agree with everything he said, but a lot of it is really great stuff. Here were some of my favorite bits:
Yes, itâ€™s odd, having a rock star hereâ€”but maybe itâ€™s odder for me than for you. You see, I avoided religious people most of my life. Maybe it had something to do with having a father who was Protestant and a mother who was Catholic in a country where the line between the two was, quite literally, a battle line… One of the things that I picked up from my father and my mother was the sense that religion often gets in the way of God.
For me, at least, it got in the way. Seeing what religious people, in the name of God, did to my native landâ€¦ and in this country, seeing Godâ€™s second-hand car salesmen on the cable TV channels, offering indulgences for cashâ€¦ in fact, all over the world, seeing the self-righteousness roll down like a mighty stream from certain corners of the religious establishmentâ€¦ I must confess, I changed the channel
Look, whatever thoughts you have about God, who He is or if He exists, most will agree that if there is a God, He has a special place for the poor. In fact, the poor are where God lives… I mean, God may well be with us in our mansions on the hillâ€¦ I hope so. He may well be with us as in all manner of controversial stuffâ€¦ maybe, maybe notâ€¦ But the one thing we can all agree, all faiths and ideologies, is that God is with the vulnerable and poor. God is in the slums, in the cardboard boxes where the poor play houseâ€¦ God is in the silence of a mother who has infected her child with a virus that will end both their livesâ€¦ God is in the cries heard under the rubble of warâ€¦ God is in the debris of wasted opportunity and lives, and God is with us if we are with them.
There is a continentâ€”Africaâ€”being consumed by flames. I truly believe that when the history books are written, our age will be remembered for three things: the war on terror, the digital revolution, and what we didâ€”or did not toâ€”to put the fire out in Africa.
If you’d like to read the entire transcript you will find it here.