Bono’s new book is more than just a rock star’s memoir. It’s also a strong tribute to America


While Bono was touring the US after the release of his fifth U2 album, he stopped by the Nashville home of country music icon Johnny Cash, whom he invited with his wife June to lunch.

Cash was a popular performer in Bono’s native Ireland, and the two singers had already formed a friendship, linking them to music and their shared faith. cash, who have Struggle with addiction On alcohol and barbiturates, it was a devout christian.

As Bono sat at the kitchen table, he listened as Cash delivered “the most poetic bliss I’ve ever heard.” Then Cash finished, “smiling faintly, as if Jun can’t hear or see,” with his grace, “You sure missed the drugs, though.”

Bono writes of lunch in his new memoir: “Despite his deep faith and belief, he cannot be the devout type, and perhaps that is why so many are drawn to him.”Surrender: 40 songs, one story. “ “Johnny didn’t sing to the damned. He sang with the damned, and sometimes I felt he might prefer their company.”

Some of this description could apply to Bono as well. Born Paul David Hewson in Dublin, Ireland, Bono is an international rock star, activist, and entrepreneur. Currently touring United States to promote his memoirs. All of these aspects are covered in an entertaining and sometimes funny 500-page book that vividly tells passages of Bono’s life that he only alludes to in his songs.

However, Bono’s book is more than just a rock star’s memoir. It is a refreshing contrast to the way many Americans today view religion and politics.

An increasing number of Americans have joined what one commentator called Torn America: They only befriend people who share their political and religious beliefs. But Bono forges close friendships and alliances with world leaders and politicians with whom he has fundamental differences.

Bono, far left, meets Pope Francis and other leaders at an event on May 19, 2022 in Vatican City.

Even his faith connects religious elements that do not usually intersect. In some passages of the book, he appears to be an evangelical Christian, showing a deep knowledge of scriptures and a reverence for Christ. However, he also says that he has never found a church that he can call home, and that “what the human soul longs for may not be surrounded by any denomination or sect.”

It’s not that some of the best people I know don’t belong to any particular religious tradition; It’s more than people who publicly profess the faith can be – how do I put this? — Such a pain in the ass,” he writes. “In a world where it is impossible to avoid advertisements, I don’t want the person next to me to so badly sell their opinion on the big questions. Live your love is the right answer.”

But Bono expresses his belief in another source. It’s what he describes as the “idea” of America.

As any regular fan of U2 knows, U2 has had a longstanding close relationship with the United States.

The group was formed in Dublin in 1978 when Bono teamed up with three of his high school classmates: Adam Clayton, Larry Mullen Jr., and Richard “The Edge” Evans. They advanced in the early 1980s with their third studio album, “War,” and became what Rolling Stone magazine once described as “unparalleled straight work.”

Decades later, a band that Bono says started with “only three chords and the truth” won 22 Grammys, More than any other duo or group.

U2 members in an undated photo from left: The Edge, Adam Clayton, Larry Mullen Jr.  and Bono.

Part of the band’s success comes from their familiarity with American songwriters. Many of their most popular songs reflect a deep knowledge of American rock, gospel, and blues. It was U2, not an American artist, who wrote a heartwarming tribute to Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr. with their song, “Pride (In The Name of Love)”.

In Surrender, Bono pays tribute to America itself. Some European bands were afraid to wander the South and Midwest, describing those regions as dull and underdeveloped. But Bono says that U2 has grown to love those parts of the United States, “feeling the common decency of people who attach great importance to conservative topics like good morals and self-reliance, even though many have very different political views than ours.”

Quotes from the Declaration of Independence, from Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s famous book 1933 inaugural speech (“The only thing we have to fear is fear itself”) He cites the poem inscribed on the Statue of Liberty: “Give me your tired, poor, huddled masses longing to breathe free, the miserable rubbish of your crowded shores.”

Bono expresses the faith and optimism of many Americans in America are no longer involved.

He says America is built on an “idea”. It is a place that “offers grace to every welcome sought” from all over the world. He has amplified this idea in his current writing tour, Saying at one stop“America is a song still being written.”

Bono speaks at the 2012 Global Social Enterprise Initiative event at Georgetown University on November 12, 2012, in Washington.

in 2012 speech At Georgetown University, Bono gave perhaps his most detailed description of what America meant to him. He said:

“Ireland is a great country, but it’s not an idea. Great Britain is a great country, it’s not an idea. That’s how we see you around the world, as one of the greatest ideas in human history – there with the Renaissance, right there with the crop rotation and the Beatles’ white album. The idea, The American idea…that you and I were created equal. And God loves you for that, because these aren’t just American ideas anymore. There’s no copyright on them. You brought them into the world…These facts, your facts, are self-evident in us.”

Bono reminds readers that America has always had a legendary hold over the Irish. Many Irish, he says, sparkled with pride when John Fitzgerald Kennedy became the country’s first Irish Catholic president, and he was amazed when the United States became the first country to put a man on the moon.

“Before the transatlantic flights, when the Irish left their homes to go to America, it was like dying,” Bono wrote. “They will never be seen again. Yet they will be reborn in this promised land.”

Many Americans now view politics as a winner-takes-all contest. There is no common ground. There is no reason to bargain.

Some of this nourishes her serious distortion of the Christian faith. A growing number of Americans — nearly half the country, according to one recent study exploratory study Suppose now that the United States was founded as a Christian country and that there should be no separation between church and state. Some even say that Violence is justified In defense of this vision of America.

Bono and U2 perform in Belfast, Ireland, 1982.

But Bono offers another example of how many Americans can practice politics and faith.

It comes from a country where thousands of people died because they could not find a middle ground in religion and politics.

He grew up in Ireland at a time when the northern part of the country was divided over whether to stay in the UK or become independent. This dispute, which heightened tensions between Protestants and Catholics, led to violence between 1968 and 1998 that left more than 3,500 people dead. Many of the victims were civilians, maimed or killed by car bombings and other forms of violence in what became known as the “unrest”.

This divided history inspired him to adopt a personal motto: “Compromise is an expensive word. No more compromise.”

Bono testifies about AIDS programs before the US Senate Appropriations Committee in May 2004 in Washington.

When Bono describes the “religious apartheid” that divided his country, it’s the only place in the book where he shows anger. It is tearing apart the paramilitary groups in Ireland that have used violence and religious grievances to harm civilians in the name of freedom. He also tells how he narrowly avoided becoming a victim of such an explosion one day.

He was raised by his father, Brendan Robert, a Catholic, and his mother, Iris, a Protestant, in an environment that despised religious intolerance. he attended One of the first non-denominational secondary schools in IrelandStudents were taught to appreciate religious diversity. It’s also where he met his wife, Allison, with whom he shares four children.

Bono and his wife Ali Hewson attend the Special Olympics Gala at the Clarence Hotel on June 21, 2003, in Dublin, Ireland.

The lessons Bono learned in school about religious intolerance carried him through his career. In July 2005, during a concert in Berlin, Bono denounced the Islamic extremists who had recently detonated bombs across London, killing 52 people and wounding hundreds.

He wore a headband bearing the word “coexistence” which included a Christian cross, a Star of David and an Islamic crescent.

“Jesus, Jew, Muhammad, that’s right. All the sons of Abraham.” exclaimed from the stagepointing to symbols to call for religious tolerance in wartime – a gesture he repeated throughout the tour.

Bono has also had a huge impact behind the scenes, through his activism. He pioneered Jubilee 2000, a successful campaign that led to the cancellation of more than $100 billion in debt owed by poor countries. Co-founded sister organizations One And the (red) To combat extreme poverty and the spread of HIV/AIDS in developing countries.

Several rock stars’ memoirs tell that they moved from run-out yards to wrecked hotel rooms. Bono describes meeting politicians and philanthropists in “a world of suits, sandwiches, and fluorescent lamps.” He thrived in that new arena because of his ability to come to terms with all kinds of leaders.

Irish rocker Bono, singer of the band U2, poses with schoolchildren in the town of Soweto outside Johannesburg, South Africa, in May 2002.

For example, Bono convinced Senator Jesse Helms, the conservative US senator who opposed making King’s birthday a national holiday and called AIDS the “gay disease,” to provide funding to fight the AIDS crisis in Africa.

How did he do that? Bono says he found common ground with Helms by citing stories about how lepers were treated in the Bible. He says the analogy has been reduced to Helms to tears.

“The search for common ground begins with the search for higher ground,” Bono wrote in the memoirs. “Even with your opponents. Especially with your opponents. A bright moment for me and a conviction that has affected my life as a fighter ever since. The simple, deep idea that you don’t have to agree to everything if the only thing you agree to is important enough.”

Bono in 2022:

U2 fans have long speculated about Bono’s spiritual beliefs. Near the end of his memoirs, he identifies himself as “a flawed but real Christ follower who can’t keep up.”

He says: “I adhere to the line attributed to Francis of Assisi, who said to his followers, ‘Go into the world to preach the Gospel, and, if necessary, use words.'”

This feeling may sound like a vulgarity from a rich rock star. But at a time when the United States has its own problems – a dangerous escalation of political and civil conflict – these words may be what many Americans need to hear.

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