In a recent interview with Jim Daly, president of Focus on the Family, U2 star and activist Bono praised former President George W. Bush and evangelical Christians for their work in fighting AIDS in Africa.
According to Fox News, Bono discussed AIDS and likened it to the disease of leprosy spoken about often in the Bible.
“I am here to thank the American people for that,” Bono said. “And I also want to thank the evangelical community for that, because it wouldn’t have happened without their leadership, because they, like myself, pestered George Bush and the administration, who actually deserve praise for starting this out.”
Bono said, according to a transcript in Religion News Service, “I believe that Jesus was, you know, the Son of God. I understand that for some people and we need to…if I could be so bold, need to be really, really respectful to people who find that ridiculous.”
Daly said that, while there may be some backlash over his decision to interview the rock star, he believes this was the right thing to do because Bono is focused on his faith.
“Does he use a bad word here and there? Yeah, probably. Does he have a Guinness every now and then? Yeah, probably,” Daly said. “When you look at it before the throne of God, I think (God will) say, ‘You saved so many children.'”
Bono grew up in Ireland with a Protestant mother and a Catholic father. He has been married to his wife, Ali Hewson, for 30 years, and they have four children.
“When people say ‘Good teacher,’ ‘Prophet,’ ‘Really nice guy,’…this is not how Jesus thought of himself,” Bono said. “So, you’re left with a challenge in that, which is either Jesus was who he said he was or a complete and utter nut case.”
Speaking of the Bible, Bono said, “First of all, David’s a musician so I’m gonna like him. What’s so powerful about the Psalms are, as well as they’re being gospel and songs of praise, they are also the Blues. It’s very important for Christians to be honest with God, which often, you know, God is much more interested in who you are than who you want to be.”
Bono talked further about his views on the character of Jesus. “Politeness is, you know, is a wonderful thing. Manners are in fact, really important thing. But remember, Jesus didn’t have many manners as we now know.”
When Bono recalled Luke 9, in which Jesus told a man not to wait and bury his father but to follow him immediately, Daly commented, “Seems cold-hearted.”
“No,” Bono replied. “Seems punk rock to me. He could see right into that fellow’s heart. He knew he wasn’t coming and he was just, it was pretense. We’ve gotta be a bit more cutting edge, not look to the signs of righteousness. Look to the actions.”
Making the connection between his faith and his work with the ONE Campaign, a humanitarian organization he founded to combat poverty and disease, Bono said, “It’s very annoying following this person of Christ around, because he’s very demanding of your life. You don’t have to go to university and do a Ph.D. to understand this stuff. You just go to the person of Christ.”
Quoting C.S. Lewis, Bono said, “When a man is getting better, he understands more and more clearly the evil that’s left in him. When a man is getting worse, he understands his own badness less and less.”
“Yeah, that could turn up on the next U2 album, but I won’t give him or you any credit,” Bono chuckled.
About his work with HIV/AIDS victims, Bono said that most of the 9 million victims who were saved are alive because of treatments funded by the United States.