brain farts

“History, like God, is watching what we do…”

Posted on: February 9, 2006

In honor of U2’s big win at the Grammys, here are some excerpts from Bono’s speech at the National Prayer Breakfast.

“There is a continent — Africa — being consumed by flames.I truly believe that when the history books are written, our age will be remembered for three things: the war on terror, the digital revolution, and what we did — or did not do — to put the fire out in Africa.

History, like God, is watching what we do…”

“Look, whatever thoughts you have about God, who He is or if He exists, most will agree that if there is a God, He has a special place for the poor. In fact, the poor are where God lives.

Check Judaism. Check Islam. Check pretty much anyone.

I mean, God may well be with us in our mansions on the hill… I hope so. He may well be with us as in all manner of controversial stuff… maybe, maybe not… But the one thing we can all agree, all faiths and ideologies, is that God is with the vulnerable and poor.

God is in the slums, in the cardboard boxes where the poor play house… God is in the silence of a mother who has infected her child with a virus that will end both their lives… God is in the cries heard under the rubble of war… God is in the debris of wasted opportunity and lives, and God is with us if we are with them…”

“I was amazed when I first got to this country and I learned how much some churchgoers tithe. Up to ten percent of the family budget. Well, how does that compare the federal budget, the budget for the entire American family? How much of that goes to the poorest people in the world? Less than one percent.

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 one percent of the federal budget tithed to the poor.

What is one percent?

One percent is not merely a number on a balance sheet.

One percent is the girl in Africa who gets to go to school, thanks to you. One percent is the AIDS patient who gets her medicine, thanks to you. One percent is the African entrepreneur who can start a small family business thanks to you. One percent is not redecorating presidential palaces or money flowing down a rat hole. This one percent is digging waterholes to provide clean water.

One percent is a new partnership with Africa, not paternalism towards 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 one percent now. We’re asking for an extra one percent 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.

One percent 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, one percent 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…”

Read the rest here.

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: We need more Bonos in the world.

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