I guess I’m surprised first at the explicitness of the religious praise. I’ve known for years that U2 has something of a Christian background, but this regular, full-throated God praise still stands out as highly unusual in the media marketplace.
I’m also surprised at the non-reaction, even acceptance, such music gets in mainstream media. People stand up and dance regardless of what the song is about. Would people act differently if U2 said this is a song praising God we’re going to play for you?
Rachel and I were in the audience Wednesday night at the Ed Sullivan Theater to hear U2 perform “I’ll Go Crazy If I Don’t Go Crazy Tonight.” While not as much a psalm as Magnificent, this song deals honestly with life in a way that connects with people of faith as well as those without.
While I agree that U2’s praise of God is “hghly unusual in the media marketplace,” it is clear that U2 has earned the right to be heard. There are plenty of arguments about whether or not the band, or its members, are christian. I don’t think there can be any doubt that the message conveyed in their music, their lyrics, and their work over the past couple of decades has been to further many causes which Jesus would (and did) further.
Perhaps a better question than “is U2 a christian band,” or, “how does U2 get to sing things like that on shows like Letterman,” is “how do people who follow Jesus earn the right to be heard by people who have no desire (and too many for good reason) to hear more God-talk from self-professed Christians?