Belief Beat

Check out Bono’s op-ed piece in Sunday’s New York Times, about the “extraordinary” apology offered last week by British Prime Minister David Cameron for the 1972 “Bloody Sunday” shootings of 14 unarmed demonstrators in Northern Ireland.

While the U2 frontman’s activism has sometimes come across as random celebrity do-gooding, it’s well worth reading his thoughts on this issue — he was raised in an interfaith Catholic-Protestant Irish household, and his band’s famous “Sunday Bloody Sunday” song pleads for peace, despite misinterpretations of it as a rebel anthem.

It wasn’t so long ago that an official “Bloody Sunday” apology seemed a pipe dream, along with peace between Ireland’s Catholics and Protestants. (Even in the United States, Catholics and Protestants are relatively recent allies, politically.) And now they even have the same sports hero: the 2010 U.S. Open champion Graeme McDowell, an Ulster Protestant, who upset Tiger Woods and other higher-ranked golfers to clinch the tournament on Father’s Day.

Does this give you hope for the Middle East, or are religious conflicts involving different faiths entirely — Jews vs. Muslims vs. Christians — harder to untangle than troubles between Christian denominations? (On a related note: The NYT notes some parallels between Northern Ireland and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and how they relate to the investigation of the flotilla violence.)

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