Bono's faith in Christianity drives his humanitarian work

Timothy Fowler

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Wednesday, June 26 2013

Bono (2nd R), Padma Lakshmi (L), Ali Hewson (2nd L) and Alicia Keys (R) clown around with children before the Keep A Child Alive benefit in New York October 25, 2007.Photo:Reuters / Jeff Zelevansky

Irish musician and humanitarian Bono believes that Jesus is the Son of God and that his work is motivated by his desire to be in alignment with the purposes of God.

Bono, singer and lyricist for the band U2, made his remarks during a radio interview Tuesday with Jim Daly, president of the U.S.-based Focus on the Family.

Daly said to Bono, "So often those who struggle with accepting Jesus Christ as their Savior - it's the idea that he is the Messiah. In fact, you were asked about that by a journalist. How did you respond to that?"

Bono, whose real name is Paul Hewson, replied, "Jesus doesn't let you off the hook. The Scriptures don't let you off the hook so easily."

He noted that Jesus had a sign affixed to his cross which said he was King of the Jews and that "when people say 'good teacher', 'prophet,' ''really nice guy' - I mean, this is not how Jesus thought of himself.

"So you are left with a challenge with that, which is either Jesus was who he said he was, or a complete and utter nut case," said Bono. "You have to make a choice on that.

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"And I believe that Jesus was the Son of God."

Bono is the co-founder of The ONE Campaign, an advocacy organization which fights extreme poverty and preventable diseases.

He is especially known for his humanitarian work in sub-Saharan Africa.

The rock star told Daly that his Christian faith informs his outreach.

"It's very annoying following this person of Christ around because He's very demanding of your life," said Bono.

"We have a pastor who said to us, 'Stop asking God to bless what you are doing Bono,' which by the way I constantly do. He said, 'Find out what God is doing because it is already blessed'."

Bono said, "When you align yourself with God's purpose, as described in the Scriptures, something special happens to your life."

Throughout the interview, Bono referenced Bible passages when discussing his inspiration for helping the less fortunate.

Jesus begins his ministry, said Bono, by quoting a passage from talks about "that the blind may see, set the captives free."

He also said, apart from personal redemption, which he called "the key,"that "the second most important drive of the entire New Testament is against injustice and where we see it in little or large ways."

Bono has been particularly involved in the battle against AIDS.

He thanked his American audience, and especially evangelicals, for their leadership in fighting the disease, noting that two-thirds of the funding comes from the United States.

The social impact of the HIV and AIDS epidemic can be compared to the disease of leprosy, prevalent during biblical times, according to Bono.

"There couldn't be a better analog to leprosy than AIDS. And the fact that it is difficult and awkward doesn't mean that we can walk away from it," he said.

Bono said the New Testament parable Jesus told about a Jew who helped a socially despised Samaritan relates to today's struggle against AIDS.

"It's the story of the Pharisee and the Samaritan. People don't understand in that Scripture that the Samaritan was at odds with the ideology of the person who stopped in the road.

"This is why we call it the One Campaign. This is the one thing we can agree on. As a result of that 'oneness' if you like, the world has changed shape for nine million lives."

Daly commented on his interview with Bono on his blog.

"To be sure, Bono is a unique rock star, as well-known for his activism in helping the people society often overlooks - the poorest of the poor, and those living with HIV and other diseases- as he is for his music," he said.

"What sometimes gets lost in the mix, however, is the motivation behind Bono's work. It's his very real Christian faith."

"As Bono spoke, the phrase from the Bible that ran through my mind was from the Epistle of James: 'faith without works is dead'."

During the interview, Daly told Bono that the evangelicals who make up his audience may view an emphasis on social justice over evangelism as unorthodox.

Daly on his blog responded to this thinking by writing, "Yes, Bono may at times be a bit unorthodox in his approach, but he is quite orthodox in the areas that matter most - loving God and loving people."

Focus on the Family was founded by psychologist James Dobson., who was known for his emphasis on political issues.

Daly took over as president in 2005 and has sought to lead the organization from divisive stances.

Copyright © 2013 Ecumenical News

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