Later this month the people of Ireland will vote on the future of their constitution’s Eighth Amendment, which currently recognises the equal right to life of a pregnant mother and her unborn child. As it stands, the Eighth Amendment is a good law. It’s grounded in reason and science, it supports human rights, and it serves to protect the most vulnerable in society. But just last week Ireland’s most famous rock band, U2, posted the following message on Twitter: “Vote on May 25th” along with an image of a big red heart and “Repeal the 8th” written in cartoon letters within it.
I’ve been listening to U2 for most of my life and just last summer saw them play at a sold-out stadium in Cleveland during their Joshua Tree anniversary tour.
Bono, The Edge, Adam Clayton and Larry Mullen Jr have been playing together for more than 40 years without any substance abuse issues, sexual scandals or break-ups, which is most impressive for a rock band. They are seasoned musicians, inimitable songwriters, legendary performers, and until recently they have been heroes to me in regard to their work for human rights, particularly in bringing attention and aid to our needy brothers and sisters in Africa, El Salvador, and New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina.
St John Paul II and Bono were good friends who worked together during the Jubilee year of 2000 on a project to cancel the debts of the poorest nations in the world. There’s a beautiful picture of John Paul II wearing Bono’s sunglasses from one of their meetings, which was only released by the Vatican after the Holy Father’s death in 2005.
I like Bono, and I still think U2 is one of the best rock bands of all time, but I am very disappointed in their decision to support the repeal of the Eighth Amendment. Why? Because their many of the songs – including Yahweh, 40 and All Because of You – are rooted in the Bible and U2 have historically been on the side of the most vulnerable in society. Bono specifically, channeling the spirit and memory of Martin Luther King, has inspired me (and millions of U2 fans, I imagine) to consider the evils of racism and inequality and to stand up and speak up for justice, the common good and the dignity of every human life.
I understand that the abortion debate is complex, but what isn’t complex is that abortion is the direct killing of an innocent life. Without the fundamental right to life, all other human rights that are grounded in that right are threatened.
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