I’m not 100% sure what to think of Bono’s take on this (I think for one he is overly optimistic about Bush.), but I do think in part he is on to something. The “Christian Right” (I use that term reservedly, because it is such a broad concept, and it is awfully hard to lump together folks who really are pretty diverse in one pot) can be reasoned with, and liberals can appeal to points of commonality to get good done. Here’s one part from the CBS story that highlights this…
This was one mission that Bono decided wasnâ€™t going to get done by â€œtaking the usual bleeding heart liberal line,â€ he tells Bradley. So the guy on the left approached the right, â€œparticularly conservative Christians,â€ he says.
â€œI was very angry that they were not involved more in the AIDS emergency. I was saying, â€˜This is the leprosy that we read about in the New Testamentâ€¦Christ hung out with the lepers,â€™â€ Bono recalls saying, â€œâ€˜But youâ€™re ignoring the AIDS emergency.â€™â€
It worked. â€œAnd you know, they said, â€˜Well, youâ€™re right, actuallyâ€¦and weâ€™re sorry. Weâ€™ll get involved.â€™ And they did,â€ Bono recalls. â€œPeople openly laughed in my face when I said this administration would distribute antiretroviral drugs to Africaâ€¦. Thereâ€™s 200,000 Africans now who owe their lives to America.â€
I think Bono successed (in part, I say this because much of what Bush promised hasn’t come through yet) is because he appealed to the common ground that he and the conservatives shared, a belief that Jesus sets an example for us to follow. He also did not assume that conservatives wouldn’t respond to his call, but instead dared to believe that they could change their mind on this issue (and if you believe that this has changed, believe me it has. 5 years ago, definitely 10 years ago, a good number of conservative Christians wouldn’t have favored funding for the “gay disease” or the “disease you get because you sleep around.” Now, except for a few whacked out holdouts, Christians on the right are addressing this.) Of course many conservatives aren’t in favor of Bono’s approach (of using the government to meet the need), but they are concerned and many of their ministries are working to stop and treat aids. This is a big deal.
Anyway I think there’s a lot more potential here. (I’m speaking to myself here really. I am too quick to assume things about people, particularly conservatives) I also though see a lot of danger here as well (as illustrated by Bono’s seeming willingness to ignore the lack of action by Bush on this issue) of getting too cozy with those in power. A Christian prophetic voice must be independent and must be willing to speak truth to power.