Bible in Pop Culture Week 4: In El Salvador, “Jacob wrestled the angel / And the angel was overcome”



The track “Bullet the Blue Sky” by U2 was released in 1987 on the album “The Joshua Tree.” The lyrics of the song were inspired by a trip that Bono took to Central America in 1985 with Amnesty International. On the trip, he stayed in the mountains in the north of the country with a group of guerilla fighters. While he was in the hills, he witnessed Salvadorean planes firebombing villages nearby in an attempt to kill guerilla fighters. Officially, the U.S. was acting in an advisory role in El Salvadore to strengthen the military dictatorship running the country as a bulwark against Communism. What this meant in practical terms was that the U.S. government was supplying arms, munitions, tactical advice and often manpower that led directly the tens of thousands of civilian deaths.

Bono, who described himself as a person who regularly read Scripture, was upset that Christians in America were supporting a proxy war that resulted in the devastation he was witnessing, so he penned the lyrics for “Bullet the Blue Sky” using Biblical references. A section of the lyrics reads as follows:

“In the howling wind comes a stinging rain / See it driving nails / Into the souls in the tree of pain / From a firefly, a red orange glow / See the face of fear / Running scared on the valley below / Bullet the blue sky / In the locust wind comes a rattle and hum / Jacob wrestled the angel / And the angel was overcome.”

The lyrics describe strafing runs and the dropping of napalm, as well as an interpretation of Jacob’s wrestling with an angel that seems to present the good, innocent villagers as the angel being overcome by man’s evil.

Sources: & the above video.

Communists at CCNY Protesting President Obama and US Action in Libya

Communist students at City College of New York protesting Obama and US action in Libya.

This was one of those moments where I stopped and did a double-take.  I mean, you read about Communists in the US, but the ‘evilness’ of Communism is so deeply ingrained in American society that you never really expect to see people putting their faces on the name.  This table was set up on the second floor of the North Academic Center building, by the library.  I didn’t stop to ask them questions, and I didn’t pick up their newspaper, but thinking about it later, I realized a college campus is not really that unusual a place to see this sort of thing.

Communist students at City College of New York protesting Obama and US action in Libya.

I wonder how this whole thing with Libya is going to play out?  I overheard something about impeachment on the news a day or two ago, but isn’t committing troops for up to 60 days the President’s prerogative?