Sunday, June 09, 2019

Love Lifted Me-linda

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I've written before about the remarkable work of the Gates Foundation and the decision of Bill and Melinda Gates to give away billions of dollars of their personal wealth to causes intended to lift people out of poverty. Gates is a devout Roman Catholic and sees this as the obligation and privilege of her faith.

I heard her recently in a CBC The Current interview in which she conceded that while the Foundation doesn't fund abortions she has broken from the teaching of the RC church on birth control, convinced that this will simple option will change the lives of millions of women.

I also came upon an interview in Christianity Today, an evangelical magazine in the States. You can read the interview in its entirety by clicking on the link but these were a couple of her responses that I found particularly worthwhile.

You have said that the Gates Foundation catchphrase, “All lives have equal value,” comes from your childhood. Where were you first exposed to this idea?

I went to a Catholic school from K to 12th grade and attended church with my family every Sunday during that time. The New Testament speaks to me. Jesus was always reaching out to the poor, always trying to get people to not see the poor as different from other people. That was ingrained early for me. Ursuline nuns let us question church teachings in class and guided those discussions. The nuns taught us to go out in the community and serve, and that serving one person could make a difference. I served in the local elementary school, the Dallas County courthouse, and the hospital.
How do you see your mission at the foundation in biblical terms?
For me, faith is about faith in action. With this deep-seated belief, Bill and I believe that all lives have equal value. We try to live that out in what we do as a foundation. I cannot explain how it is that I, a young girl from Dallas, fell in love with Bill, and we sit at the cornerstone of the wealth from Microsoft and Berkshire Hathaway. We, and later Warren Buffett, decided this money should go back to society. I do feel called by it.
I am deeply impressed by Melinda Gates and that she has the courage of her Christian convictions. The love of money may be the root of all evil in that it can deprive others of meaningful lives and be misused for power. It's good to know that there are wealthy people whose desire is to make a difference in the world.
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Judy said...

One of the projects that the Gates have supported is Rotary International's Polio Plus campaign...polio has been almost completely eradicated in many countries, thanks to Bill and Melinda Gates and Rotary.

David Mundy said...

Thanks for your comments Judy. They are a reminder that while important work is done by the "superstar" philanthropists, there are millions of organizational and individual contributions of both time and money made by ordinary folk who are really quite extraordinary. These include individuals of faith and communities of faith.