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Bono and Helms Model Acceptance

In a June 2001 column, religion columnist Terry Mattingly writes:

As lunch ended in the ornate U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee conference room, Senator Jesse Helms struggled to stand and bid farewell to the guest of honor.
[U2 singer] Bono stayed at the conservative patriarch's right hand, doing what he could to help. For the photographers, it would have been hard to imagine a stranger image than this delicate dance between the aging senator and the rock superstar.
"You know, I love you," Helms said softly.
The singer gave the 79-year-old Helms a hug. This private session with a circle of senators during U2's recent Washington stop wasn't the first time Bono and Helms have discussed poverty, plagues, charity, and faith. Nor will it be the last. Blest be the ties that bind.
"What can I say? It's good to be loved—especially by Jesse Helms," Bono said two days later, as his campaign for Third World debt relief continued on Capitol Hill.
The key to this scene is that Bono can quote the Book of Leviticus as well as the works of John Lennon. While his star power opens doors, it is his sincere, if often unconventional, Christian faith that creates bonds with cultural conservatives—in the Vatican and inside the Beltway. Bono has shared prayers and his sunglasses with Pope John Paul II. Don't be surprised if he trades boots and Bible verses with President George W. Bush.

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