Rock Singer Urges US-President to Spend More on Development Aid
Washington, February 3 (idea) – Bono, lead singer of the Irish rock group U2, has urged international leaders to increase their efforts to reduce hunger, HIV/AIDS and debt. In his keynote address at the National Prayer Breakfast in Washington, February 2, Bono challenged US-President George W. Bush, who attended the meeting, to raise government spending for the poor of the world to one percent of the budget.
As Marcus Mockler of the German evangelical news agency “idea” reports from the prayer breakfast, Bono reminded the 3,400 participants from 160 countries that many Christians tithe. It would also be desirable for a nation to give ten percent of its income for the underprivileged. To combat poverty is not a matter of charity but of justice, said Bono.
The United States should regard expenditure for the developing world also as a contribution to national security and investment into its economic future. The rock musician paid tribute to the fact that the US has doubled its financial aid to Africa since 9/11 and has made affordable medicine available to victims of HIV/AIDS.
The number of Africans dying of curable and avoidable diseases in only one month equals the total tsunami death toll, said Bono. The Bible teaches that God is with the weak and persecuted. Bono: “God is with us when we are with them”.
In his response President Bush paid tribute to the rock singer’s efforts to reduce hunger and poverty worldwide. In Bush’s words Bono is not just preaching but also actively helping to improve the situation.
In his address Bush concentrated on the importance of prayer. America, he said, is a nation of prayer. The American people open themselves to God’s charge to feed the hungry and reach out to the poor.
The President also stressed the importance of religious freedom for all - Christians, Jews Muslims and those who choose not to have faith. Bush: “In America, we do not prescribe prayer. We welcome all prayer.”
Among speakers and participants of the prayer breakfast were leaders from around the world, for example King Abdullah of Jordan, the former prime minister of Pakistan, Benazir Bhutto, and the former Norwegian Prime Minister Kjell Magne Bondevik.
Evangelical news agency idea. Wolfgang Polzer
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