At a Senate hearing on Wednesday on funding global health programs, including those to fight HIV/AIDS, pop icon Sir Elton John and celebrity Pastor Rick Warren joined hands and smiled as the cameras clicked and a packed crowd in the room looked on.
After taking their seats at the witness table, the pair laughed and smiled as they held hands, with Warren saying “Amen” and cautioning John that if they kissed it would be “the kiss heard ‘round the world.”
Video reporters and photographers, who are allowed to film and photograph witnesses until the hearing is called to order, caught the moment on camera.
John is the founder of the Elton John AIDS Foundation, which raises money to help people living with HIV/AIDS.
Warren, the founder of Saddleback Church in California and whose group Global P.E.A.C.E. plan has sent teams to serve the poor and sick in 197 countries, said the fight against HIV/AIDS would require a partnership between the public and private sectors and the faith community.
Through fiscal year 2014, the U.S. government has pledged $59 billion to fund the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief or PEPFAR. That funding is also used to fight other diseases, including tuberculosis and malaria.