Like a lot of generation Xers, I’m a huge U2 fan. They’re the closest thing my generation has to The Beatles. That’s why I was tremendously disappointed to see the popular band, which has Christian roots and whose lead singer even appeared on “Focus on the Family” a few years ago to share his faith, come out and urge voters in their native Ireland to repeal the nation’s pro-life law.
For a band that has been open about Christianity in song and deed, fighting for the downtrodden worldwide in numerous causes while infusing song lyrics with Christian themes and imagery over the years, it’s inexcusable for the band to urge Ireland to reject basic human rights for the most vulnerable among us — unborn children in the womb.
One of the band’s first hit songs, “Pride (In the Name of Love),” refers to Jesus Christ being “betrayed with a kiss.” Now the band has betrayed innocent children from their native country with a tweet in support of state-sponsored ritualistic killing. This has prompted some swift and harsh responses by their legions of pro-life fans who feel the band betrayed them as well.
Daniel Darling of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission for the Southern Baptist Convention put it this way: “After having poured out his voice for the vulnerable, [U2 frontman Bono] is turning his back on those precious souls who have no voice.”
Lest anyone think my associating the band with Christianity is another example of believers desperate for mainstream cultural acceptance so that they glom onto any celebrity who says something spiritual once, one website cited 79 specific Biblical/religious references in the band’s music catalogue. U2 also isn’t a case of some up-and-coming band whom people pinned some subtle religious hopes upon; the group just wrapped up the 30th anniversary tour of perhaps their greatest album, “The Joshua Tree,” in 2017.
Two of that album’s most famous songs are titled “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For” and “Where the Streets Have No Name.” They have lyrics with explicit Scripture references like “I have spoken with the tongues of angels” (1 Corinthians 13:1) and been “beaten and blown by the wind” (James 1:6).
So this is not a band ignorant of the Word of God. Far from it. Given U2’s immense popularity as one of the most successful bands of all time, it could be argued the group has dropped more Bible verses than anyone not an explicit evangelist worldwide over the years. Therefore, I don’t think we should treat them as just another rock band that signs up for total depravity. We should treat them as Christ commands us to treat the brethren who have lost their way. I pray there is someone in their inner circle who can go to them. If not, perhaps clergy they hold themselves accountable to who will confront them.
I certainly haven’t wholly agreed with the band’s politics over the years, but this is an example of directly contradicting the Word of God they have used to inspire much of their best and most profitable music for decades. And since long before I became a believer, they shared the Scripture with me when I first fell in love with “The Joshua Tree” when I was 14 years old, now, as a believer, allow me to return the favor to them:
There are six things that the Lord hates, seven that are an abomination to him: haughty eyes, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked plans, feet that make haste to run to evil, a false witness who breathes out lies, and one who sows discord among brothers. ~Proverbs 6:16-19