HOLY HERETIC DEVOTIONAL – JAN. 22, 2017 – SHEROES & HEROES: ARTISTS
Compiled by Mercy Junction Justice and Peace Center Assistant Director, Reiki Master, and Psychic Kali Meister
“Cruelty is all out of ignorance. If you knew what was in store for you, you wouldn’t hurt anybody, because whatever you do comes back much more forceful than you send it out.” ~ Willie Nelson
Born in Texas in 1933, country singer and songwriter Willie Nelson rose to prominence at the end of the 1960s and contributed to the “outlaw country” subgenre, which challenged the conservatism of Nashville. During his lengthy, award-winning career, he has written some of the most popular and memorable country songs of all time, many of which have been covered by a wide range of artists over the last half century. Now in his 80s, Nelson continues to record and tour, as well as devoting a considerable amount of time to various charitable and political causes.
Nelson helped organize the first Farm Aid concert. With performances by scores of music’s biggest names, it earned nearly $10 million to help family farmers keep their land, and to date, the Farm Aid organization has earned tens of millions more for its cause. In 2007, Ben & Jerry’s released “Willie Nelson’s Country Peach Cobbler Ice Cream,” with a portion of Nelson’s proceeds donated to Farm Aid. For his efforts, in 2011 Nelson was also inducted into the National Agricultural Hall of Fame.
Closer to home, in 2006 Nelson bought and continues to support the church and grocery store in Abbott, Texas, both of which were in danger of failing. Thinking more globally, Nelson has also done extensive work on behalf of the environment, promoting the alternative, cleaner-burning fuel biodiesel. In 2007, he even started marketing his own brand of green fuel, BioWillie, which is a combination of diesel and biodiesel made from soybeans. “It seems like that’s good for the whole world if we can start growing our own fuel instead of starting wars over it,” said Nelson in a 2005 interview.
But Nelson’s compassion and activist work extends into the animal kingdom as well, and over the years he has been involved with various animal-welfare groups, including the Society for Protective Animal Legislation, Best Friends Animal Society and the Animal Welfare Institute. With the latter, Nelson has become deeply involved in a campaign to save horses from slaughter. His group Willie and the Nelson Family (which features his sister, Billie) recorded the song “Wild Horses” to benefit the cause, and Nelson himself owns more than 50 of the animals, many of whom were rescues.
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