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The Church of U2

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Photograph by Clemens Rikken/Hollandse-Hoogte/Redux

by Joshua Rothman, The New Yorker

A few years ago, I was caught up in a big research project about contemporary hymns (or "hymnody," as they say in the trade). I listened to hundreds of hymns on Spotify; I interviewed a bunch of hymn experts. What, I asked them, was the most successful contemporary hymn--the modern successor to "Morning Has Broken" or "Amazing Grace"? Some cited recently written traditional church hymns; others mentioned songs by popular Christian musicians. But one scholar pointed in a different direction: "If you're willing to construe the term 'hymn' liberally, then the most heard, most successful hymn of the last few decades could be 'I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For,' by U2."

Most people think of U2 as a wildly popular rock band. Actually, they're a wildly popular, semi-secretly Christian rock band. In some ways, this seems obvious: a song on one recent album was called "Yahweh," and where else would the streets have no name? But even critics and fans who say that they know about U2's Christianity often underestimate how important it is to the band's music, and to the U2 phenomenon. The result has been a divide that's unusual in pop culture. While secular listeners tend to think of U2's religiosity as preachy window dressing, religious listeners see faith as central to the band's identity. To some people, Bono's lyrics are treacly platitudes, verging on nonsense; to others, they're thoughtful, searching, and profound meditations on faith.

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By Jessica Chasmar, The Washington Times
(Originally posted June 18, 2013)

First Lady Michelle Obama and her daughters Sasha and Malia dined with U2 singer Bono and his family in Dublin this afternoon after visiting Glendalough, Irish media reported.

Finnegans pub has hosted its share of famous visitors, including Salman Rushdie, Mel Gibson and Penelope Cruz. About 60 invited guests were inside before the first family arrived, the Irish Times reported.

"I thought this was a secret," Bono said to the crowd waiting outside, an Irish news website reported.

Fish and chips, cottage pies, smoked bacon and cabbage and chicken with mozarella were said to have been on the menu, Independent.ie reported.

Bush: Bono 'Became a Pal'

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By Dan Weil, Newsmax

When he was in the White House, George W. Bush and rock star Bono worked together to eradicate AIDS in Africa -- to the point that the U2 leader became the president's buddy, Bush tells Fox News.

"He was skeptical of me, and frankly I was skeptical of him," Bush said. "And we became pals because we shared a common desire to help others on the continent of Africa.

"Bono's the real deal," Bush added in an interview with his former press secretary Dana Perino.

Assessing his presidency, Bush said, "I know I gave it my all. I know I didn't sell my soul. I know we dealt with some pretty tough problems. . . . I know our White House was a joyful place."

Bono talks at World Bank Headquarters

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As written in the Wall Street Journal's blog from November 14, "even Bono is worried about the fiscal cliff."

As taken from their website:

The lead singer of Irish band U2 says spending cuts that hit in January would devastate programs to help the world's poor, leading to more than 60,000 deaths.

"There's real jeopardy," Bono said Wednesday at a discussion at the World Bank with bank President Jim Yong Kim. "I'm still terrified of people wrestling the wheel of this mad lorry that they're driving off the cliff."

Sequestration -- a package of automatic spending cuts set in motion last year -- would slash funding for U.S. programs grouped in the federal budget as "international affairs" by 8.2%, or $4.7 billion, in the current fiscal year. Bono said that includes about $2 billion from anti-poverty programs, such as treatment for HIV/AIDS, on which he focuses at his anti-poverty advocacy group, ONE.

"We know there's going to be cuts," he said. "We understand that. But not cuts that cost lives."

You can watch the full 55 minute video of Bono above.

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by Independent.ie

BONO stunned housemates on the African version of Big Brother - when he appeared on video screen to address them.

The legendary rocker was beamed to the house live from Dublin, which contains housemates from 14 different African nations.

"This is your Irish rock star fan, Bono. You are my big brothers and little sisters", he said.

The U2 front man spoke to the housemates about the garden which they have to cultivate over the course of the series, as part of the new campaign being run by his ONE charity.

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By David MacDougall and Shawn Pogatchnik, Associated Press

OSLO (AP) -- Aung SanSuu Kyi and Bono joined forces Monday as the Myanmar democracy activist's European tour moved from the home of the Nobel Peace Prize to the land of U2.

The pair spent more than an hour answering questions at an Oslo conference of peace mediators at the end of Mrs. Suu Kyi's four-day visit to Norway. Then they jetted together to the Irish capital, Dublin, for an evening concert in her honor.

Bono, who wrote the 2000 hit "Walk On" in praise of Mrs. Suu Kyi's long exile from her family and dedicated U2's 2009 world tour to her, had never met her before. He admitted he found her a wee bit intimidating.

Cuban dissident Oscar Elias Biscet says the praise from Bono at a Miami South Florida concert was for the Cuban people overall.

By Juan O. Tamayo, The Miami Herald

Cuba's leading dissident, Oscar Elias Biscet, said he "was shaking with happiness" as he learned Thursday that rock star and social activist Bono had sung his praises during a jam-packed U2 concert in Miami.

The 73,000-strong audience at the Sun Life stadium roared with delight Wednesday when Bono urged support for the 49-year-old Biscet and declared that "some day soon Cuba will be free."

"As you read me what he said, I was shaking with happiness because it showed it's good when one is chosen as a symbol of his people," Biscet told El Nuevo Herald, which first told him of Bono's comments.

The threatened protests over U2's alleged tax avoidance prove that Glastonbury's founding spirit has been rekindled

Ros Wynne-Jones, The Guardian

'Did I disappoint you, or leave a bad taste in your mouth?" At Glastonbury this month, U2's headline set is more than likely to include One, the band's enduring hit - and the name of lead singer Bono's advocacy organisation for the world's poorest people. Originally released as a benefit single for Aids research, the song's lyrics carry an unintentional pertinence for the protesters threatening to use the festival to highlight the band's alleged tax avoidance.

The martyring of Saint Bono will take place courtesy of Art Uncut, a subsidiary of the tax avoidance campaign UK Uncut. It plans a series of actions over the Glastonbury weekend, stopping short of disrupting U2's set but an acute embarrassment to a band that has at times foregrounded morality over music.

Brian Boyd, The Irish Times

U2 WILL be making a long-awaited first appearance at the Glastonbury festival on Friday, June 24th, but lobby group Art Uncut will not be cheering them on.

Members of the organisation say they will be staging a "highly visible" protest from the audience to draw attention to what they claim is the band's tax avoidance.

U2 singer commends Zuma's Aids drive

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By Michelle Jones, Independent Online

PRESIDENT Jacob Zuma proudly holds up a tiny, red object and the assembled group of journalists strain to see what is in his hand.

The iPod was a gift from U2 singer Bono, Zuma explained.

Bono said it was an iPod nano from his own Product Red brand created to raise awareness and funds to combat HIV/Aids in Africa.

The statesman and frontman met yesterday morning in Cape Town at Genadendal, the president's official residence.

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