60 Minutes & U2
Check out the title to Sunday night’s 60 Minutes piece on U2 (as seen on the CBS website): Bono And The Christian Right.
I’m a fan of U2, I’ve been to a couple of their shows, purchased many of their CDs, and have listened to their music since 1980. I’ve never met the band; however, I have often read about their faith (excepting Adam Clayton) and how it influences their lyrics and their activism; it is no secret. Bono consistently emphasizes Christian imagery in U2’s lyrics. While strictly non-denominational, and particularly distrusting of organized religion, he is unmistakably and unabashedly Christian.
Yet the headline of the website piece attempts to present a contradiction between the group and Conservative Christians. The subtitle should have been: Can you imagine that? The largest rock band in the world hanging out with Jesse Helms and Rick Santorum.
Not once in the 15-20 minute piece does Ed Bradley relay Bono’s Christian faith to the viewer. We see one scene where Bono informs Bradley that he went to the Christian right for help:
“It was probably that it would be really wrong beating a sort of left-wing drum, taking the usual bleeding-heart-liberal line,” says Bono.
Instead, he enlisted the ruling right of American politics. “Particularly conservative Christians, I was very angry that they were not involved more in the AIDS emergency. I was saying, ‘this is the leprosy that we read about in the New Testament, you know. Christ hung out with the lepers. But you're ignoring the AIDS emergency,” says Bono. “How can you? And, you know, they said, ‘Well, you're right, actually. We have been. And we're sorry. We'll get involved.’ And they did.”
But because we are never introduced to the band’s (and Bono’s in particular) faith, this portion of the piece makes it seem as if Bono is merely attempting to shame them into action when in fact, his own faith is on display. He truly believes his cause is Jesus’s cause—and should be their cause. Later, he was thankful, crediting America with saving 200,000 lives in Africa.
I can’t believe there wasn’t one person at CBS who reviewed this piece who said: "Has anyone here ever listened to the religious overtones in their lyrics? Or maybe done some research on these guys? Did anyone Google Bono/Faith/Religion?"
Creating conflict and whitewashing a person's faith is at the very least disingenous. Bono will not care about CBS’s sins of comission and omission; as he said in the interview, he’s about “cashing checks” because that is what saves lives (and for the record, I understand that the best way to save lives re: AIDS is abstinence; Bono's concern in the piece is the medicine to treat those who already have the virus).
There's a lot more to this story, but the Bottom line: CBS never ceases to amaze me.