Thursday, August 28, 2014

My unsolicited advice to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation

Council of Clermont 1095 AD
"[Y]our brethren who live in the east are in urgent need of your help"

Bill Gates, the Microsoft founder and very very rich man ($80 billion dollars, give or take), married a Catholic woman, is raising his kids Catholic, and attends a Catholic church.   Mr. Gates and his wife established a charitable foundation called the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (Mrs. Gates name is Melinda, in case you were wondering) which does some helpful things but mainly cheerleads for and underwrites abortion and birth control, especially amongst the world's poorest.  A search for "family planning" on the Foundation's "Awarded Grants" page returns 307 results.

It's nice that Mr. and Mrs. Gates want to give away their money, but there are lots of needy organizations which pursue goals more consistent with Catholic belief than the Clinton Health Access Initiative Inc (yes, those Clintons, who got a $4 million grant) or the Swedish Association for Sex Education (which got $1.3 million).

Here's a suggestion for a use of his wealth which may appeal to the entrepreneurial Mr. Gates.  Christians are under attack in Iraq, Syria, Egypt, Central African Republic and other places.  Why not raise an international army to defend them?  Not only is this project highly worthwhile, and a fitting challenge for Mr. Gates' executive talents, but circumstances are currently highly favorable to such an undertaking.

Raising the manpower shouldn't be a problem.  The Pentagon is laying off thousands of mid-career officers, so highly trained fighters have suddenly become idle and presumably are available.  In addition, there are 2.4 million American veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, some of whom will be interested in helping.  Britain has a lot of Iraq/Afghanistan veterans, too, and many will be interested in putting their military experience at the service of a good cause.  Of course, all trained fighters who want to protect Christians will be welcome to sign up.

It might cost surprisingly little to equip this army.  The Pentagon gave away a half billion dollars of military equipment last year alone; shouldn't be hard to persuade them to give that much equipment to a volunteer Christian-protecting army instead, especially since this army would be relieving the Pentagon of a great headache.

The Gates Foundation would not have to bear the cost all by itself.  Two of the other top five wealthiest people in the world are also Catholic (Carlos Slim, worth $82.5 billion, is a Maronite Catholic, and Amancio Ortega, worth $62.3 billion is a plain Roman Catholic).  Those guys might throw in some cash.  Plus, Rupert Murdoch, whose net worth is estimated at $13.4 billion, was made a Knight of the Order of Saint Gregory the Great by Pope St. John Paul, and might be counted on to contribute a few shekels.  

Non-rich Catholics would undoubtedly contribute, too.  Even the Inigo Hicks Foundation, which is among the most non-rich foundations in the world, is sure to make a suitable donation.

The biggest threat to Christians at the moment is ISIL, which is undeniably brutal: today they executed 250 Syrian Army POWs.   But ISIL only has about 4000 fighters; if ISIL were a country they would rank #106 in the world for total military strength, about half the size of Slovenia's military, which is #105.  It may not be easy to neutralize ISIL, but it's not super-daunting either.    

We are in a religious war.  Our opponents are motivated by religion, and have targeted Christians on account of their religion.   To win, we must of course first re-dedicate ourselves to holiness.  Next we must consider whether, in picking up the sword to protect the defenseless, we are acting justly.  According to the Catechism of the Catholic Church, these are the criteria to be weighed in determining whether a war is just:

  • the damage inflicted by the aggressor on the nation or community of nations must be lasting, grave, and certain;
  • all other means of putting an end to it must have been shown to be impractical or ineffective;
  • there must be serious prospects of success;
  • the use of arms must not produce evils and disorders graver than the evil to be eliminated.
My analysis may be summarized as follows: check, check, check, and check. 

For those who are still unsure whether picking up the sword to defend Christian populations against an organized and deadly threat is just, St. Augustine of Hippo, whose feast day is today, assures us:

"They who have waged war in obedience to the divine command, or in conformity with His laws, have represented in their persons the public justice or the wisdom of government, and in this capacity have put to death wicked men; such persons have by no means violated the commandment, "Thou shalt not kill."'

Deus vult.

RELATED: Christian soldiers much rarer now than in the ancient days of WWII.
RELATED: Looks like the Christians who need protection may be us.

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