There is no question U2 is one of the most talented bands in our time. They also have done some great work in terms of social justice.
Their work has included relief efforts for HIV-positive people in Africa. (RED) was created by Bono and Bobby Shriver in 2006 to fight to end AIDS in Africa.
U2 is currently campaigning for global women’s rights such as an estimated 130 million girls who are not getting to attend school.
I applaud them for that work.
Then there is the right to life — but U2 is not campaigning for people’s rights to live, but rather, for women to have the right to murder their babies.
— Neon Heart (@ClosertoOne) May 27, 2018
On Friday, the people of Ireland voted to legalize abortion. The nation’s Eighth Amendment had protected preborn babies since 1983. Five previous votes on the repeal had failed.
Earlier in May, U2 stepped into the debate by tweeting their support of ending the protection of preborn babies.
Breitbart reports, “After U2 tweeted a photo endorsing the ‘Repeal the 8th; campaign… fans erupted with a barrage of more than 800 overwhelmingly negative replies, with many voicing their decision to stop supporting the band or attending its concerts.”
The band’s longtime voicing of their Christian faith makes the abortion stance puzzling and disappointing, even though the band is far from conservative.
And the band brought its brand of activism to Nashville on Memorial Day weekend. On Saturday, the day after Ireland’s shameful vote, U2 performed their Innocence + Experience Tour at Bridgestone Arena.
I took my wife because U2 is her favorite band. I did not know much about U2, but the concert was eye-opening.
I had not been aware of U2’s stance on abortion. I am now, after researching the band for this column.
While waiting for the concert, I was struck by the display of slogans with graphics on the video monitors. Some of it was innocent enough, such as calls for equal rights. Then there was this: “#enoughisenough.”
That phrase sounded familiar, so I pulled out my phone and was disgusted to realize the Irish band was using its concert platform — for which customers paid good money — to push for gun control in America. The phrase is being used by people vehemently fighting to abolish gun rights.
And here I thought I was taking my wife to see her favorite band perform, only the third time in her life she has had the experience. It felt like a political rally.
It’s appropriate this took place in Bridgestone Arena, home of the Predators. The team’s President/CEO Sean Henry endorsed David Briley for Nashville mayor and supported the transit initiative.
This being my first U2 experience, I will give the band its due for being good entertainers. They have a sense for the dramatic and have a good instinct for putting on a show.
This great atmosphere was spoiled, at least for me, when the band played footage from the Charlottesville “Unite the Right” racist rally, including a nice closeup of a racist flipping the bird. I appreciate the effort to denounce racism, but I don’t believe a musical concert is the time or place. It made for a jarring, unpleasant experience.
Then there was Bono’s verbal salute to celebrity guest Oprah Winfrey and former politicians Al Gore Jr. and Bill Frist, all of whom he has worked with in charitable work. I was concerned Bono would start pulling them on stage and taking time from the concert, but thankfully that did not happen. (Frist, by the way, stays active in politics; last month he endorsed the $9 billion transit plan.)
I bit my tongue and did not say anything to my wife about my unease; this was her night. I will not attend another U2 concert, however. I am not alone; a friend of a friend, who was upset about the politics, walked out on the concert. He and I are only two out of millions in the grand scheme of U2’s potential customers, but after U2’s abortion stance, I have the feeling we will not be alone.