While in Washington to drum up political support for aid to Africa, U2 singer Bono made a clear confession before about three dozen evangelicals. "He said, 'I'm a believer and I have faith in Christ,' " recalls Richard Cizik, vice president for governmental affairs for the National Association of Evangelicals, who attended the March meeting on Capitol Hill. "You can't argue with that kind of a personal testimony as a way of opening doors."
Bono, one of the world's most celebrated pop stars, has become an international advocate for AIDS programs, forgiving Third World debt, and increasing trade. He urged evangelicals to take the lead in fighting AIDS and poverty, which have ravaged the African continent.
"A third of the Earth's population is incarcerated by poverty," Bono said in a post-meeting interview with Christianity Today. "It is, as they say, the drive of the Scriptures. Why isn't it the drive of the churches?"
A 2001 Barna Research Group poll commissioned by World Vision revealed that evangelical Christians are significantly less likely than are non-Christians to give money for AIDS education and prevention programs worldwide. Only 3 percent of evangelicals say they plan to help with AIDS internationally, compared with 8 percent of non-Christians and 8 percent of self-described born-again Christians. Evangelicals were also the least likely to support children orphaned by AIDS.
Bono's meeting occurred less than a month after Franklin Graham called on Christians attending the Prescription for Hope Conference in Washington to offer AIDS patients love and compassion "rather than condemnation." At the event, organized by Graham's organization Samaritan's Purse, retiring Sen. Jesse Helms (R-N.C.) said he was ashamed for not ...1