Un-dead-ing a beaten horse? Bono at the Nat'l Prayer Breakfast
by KevinH, Thu Feb 16, 2006 at 12:07:46 PM EST
Profuse apologies if this was already blogged here (or at dKos' religion thingy, which I don't really keep track of); I did a quick search and didn't find anything, but searching non-legal databases is not my expertise.
I have no desire to beat a dead horse. I actually think the constant, perennial cries for "values talk" and "the Left learning how to talk about Religion." I think that Liberation Theology is a better guide, not framing politics in religion, but vice versa (not in a blasphemous way, though Pope Benedict apparently believes Liberation Theology is a bit blasphemous, but in the way that as a philosophy, religion IS political).
In fact, I'm not even "religious," whatever that means. But enough disclaimers from me. I came across Bono's speech at the Nat'l Prayer Breakfast (here: http://www.sojo.net/index.cfm?action=soj omail.display&issue=060203&cooki es_enabled=false#3) that took place earlier this month. It was really good.
But here's the bad news. From charity to justice, the good news is yet to come. There is much more to do. There's a gigantic chasm between the scale of the emergency and the scale of the response.
And finally, it's not about charity after all, is it? It's about justice.
Let me repeat that: It's not about charity, it's about justice.
And that's too bad.
Because you're good at charity. Americans, like the Irish, are good at it. We like to give, and we give a lot, even those who can't afford it.
But justice is a higher standard. Africa makes a fool of our idea of justice; it makes a farce of our idea of equality. It mocks our pieties, it doubts our concern, it questions our commitment.
Sixty-five hundred Africans are still dying every day of a preventable, treatable disease, for lack of drugs we can buy at any drug store. This is not about charity, this is about justice and equality.
Because there's no way we can look at what's happening in Africa and, if we're honest, conclude that deep down, we really accept that Africans are equal to us. Anywhere else in the world, we wouldn't accept it. Look at what happened in South East Asia with the tsunami. 150,000 lives lost to that misnomer of all misnomers, "mother nature." In Africa, 150,000 lives are lost every month. A tsunami every month. And it's a completely avoidable catastrophe.
I was amazed when I first got to this country and I learned how much some churchgoers tithe. Up to 10% of the family budget. Well, how does that compare with the federal budget, the budget for the entire American family? How much of that goes to the poorest people in the world? Less than 1%.
Mr. President, Congress, people of faith, people of America:
I want to suggest to you today that you see the flow of effective foreign assistance as tithing.... Which, to be truly meaningful, will mean an additional 1% of the federal budget tithed to the poor.
What is 1%?
1% is not merely a number on a balance sheet.
1% is the girl in Africa who gets to go to school, thanks to you. 1% is the AIDS patient who gets her medicine, thanks to you. 1% is the African entrepreneur who can start a small family business thanks to you. 1% is not redecorating presidential palaces or money flowing down a rat hole. This 1% is digging waterholes to provide clean water.
1% is a new partnership with Africa, not paternalism toward Africa, where increased assistance flows toward improved governance and initiatives with proven track records and away from boondoggles and white elephants of every description.
America gives less than 1% now. We're asking for an extra 1% to change the world. to transform millions of lives - but not just that and I say this to the military men now - to transform the way that they see us.
1% is national security, enlightened economic self-interest, and a better, safer world rolled into one. Sounds to me that in this town of deals and compromises, 1% is the best bargain around.
These goals - clean water for all; school for every child; medicine for the afflicted, an end to extreme and senseless poverty - these are not just any goals; they are the Millennium Development goals, which this country supports. And they are more than that. They are the Beatitudes for a globalised world.
Speaking religion, faith, values, whatever you want to call it, isn't like writing a resume; it's not talking about how you go to church or stopping certain medical procedures or saving Terri Schiavo from the evil liberals. It's about policy. Religion is political, not cultural. Religion is practical, not rhetorical.