Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Focus on the Family "Scared" by Buffett's Philanthropy

So remember when I wrote about how the two largest philanthropists in history will soon be atheists? (Note: I was wrong; they are more likely agnostics.) I'd hoped (not really) that this fact would help rectify the misguided opinion among theists that atheists are... well, evil.

Apparently, I was wrong.

Tara C. Smith over at Aetiology:

It was difficult for me to imagine that anyone could possibly be upset about the announcement that billionaire Warren Buffet had decided to team up with Bill Gates and donate billions of dollars to improve global health. Silly, naive little me; nothing should surprise me anymore, but this is really beyond the pale.

Via Moment of Science, I found someone who does, indeed, gripe about the donation: none other than (cue menacing music) Focus on the Family:

She goes on to quote from the original article. I'll expand her quote a bit:

Billionaire financier Warren Buffett announced this week he is going to leave 80 percent of his estate — more than $35 billion — to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

It's a donation that is troubling to the pro-life community, according to Joseph D'Agostino of the Population Research Institute.

"It's very scary," D'Agostino told CitizenLink. "The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has very close ties and gives a lot of money to pro-abortion groups, such as Planned Parenthood, and for population control around the world."

Judie Brown, president of the American Life League, said the Gates Foundation is heavily involved in bankrolling "women's health" initiatives in Third World nations.

"Most of those reflect or are directly a result of the efforts of the International Planned Parenthood Federation," Brown said. "We are extremely concerned that millions and millions of dollars are going to go to the ultimate goal of ending the lives of millions of preborn babies — and jeopardizing the health of millions of women and men."

The Gates Foundation has to date given more than $20 million to the International Planned Parenthood Federation — largely to promote abortion and condom education in Third World countries. It also has given more than $12 million to the Planned Parenthood Federation of America, one of the nation's largest abortion providers.

Buffett, the world's second-richest man behind Gates, has already spent millions of his own money on population-control efforts.

"It's especially scary from a population-control perspective, because birth rates have been dropping dramatically in the Third World over the last few decades and continue to go down," D'Agostino said. "The last thing the Third World needs is more population control, because their populations are already facing dramatic aging, but they don't have anything like the financial resources we do to take care of all these older people."

Right. Because what the Third World needs most are more babies and fewer condoms. (Condoms are what Focus on the Family apparently call "population control," as opposed to, for example, "HIV/AIDS control.") Why didn't someone convert Gates and Buffett before they they wrought this horrible tragedy?


CyberKitten said...

Had to happen didn't it?

Also the first time I've seen the phrase "preborn babies". Does that mean like... fertilised eggs.. or maybe even potentially fertilised eggs..?

Juggling Mother said...

Well, that article just made me like Bill gates a little bit more!

The third worlds population is aging & decreasing? really? where on earth did that statistic come from?

The US natioanl statistics shows that ALL the countires with the lowest life expectancy rates are in Africa, most barely making it to 50, and many lucky if they reach 40 years of age.

As GWB has systematically withdrawn any funding for aid agencies that promote or even advise about contraception & abortion, and considering the strong fundemental christianity practised in much of Africa, combined with lack of any education, it's not surprising the babies just keep on coming either!

Anonymous said...

The article doesn't say the population in the third world is decreasing.

asher said...

Why not focus on how much estate tax Warren Buffet is cheating the US government out of by giving all this away to charity? What a move. Think of all the great things this government could do with the billions of taxes paid on his estate when he finally kicks the bucket.
No wonder he's all for estate tax; his estate won't pay any.

Leigh-Ann said...

Asher, are you being ironic or serious with your comment, Think of all the great things this government could do with the billions of taxes paid on his estate when he finally kicks the bucket.? I ask because when Buffett made the announcement of his donation, I was happy the government wasn't going to get their mitts on that money -- they'd just waste it. So, I'm not sure if you're agreeing with me or disagreeing. although I tend to think that anyone who says the government would do "great things" with money is tongue-in-cheek.

CyberKitten said...

asher said: Think of all the great things this government could do with the billions of taxes paid on his estate when he finally kicks the bucket.

Indeed. Another war maybe? Stealth bombers? Tax cuts for the rich? Lots of 'great things' could be done!

Laura said...

"Right. Because what the Third World needs most are more babies and fewer condoms."

No. Apparently what they need is a heapin' helpin' of Jesus.

asher said...

Well folks you can't have it both ways: either you want the government to get more taxes or you want private charities to get more which is it going to be? The government can have more programs getting folks out of poverty: food stamps, welfare, SSI, WIC, job training, housing developments. Or do you want some private enterprise to provide soup kitchens, day care, after school programs, or, (horrors) some relgious tainted drug rehabilitation program.
See how well method #1 worked in Europe.

dbackdad said...

Mother Teresa ... what a tool. By caring for the poor, she was just trying to get good press. :-)

I'm sick of these people that would find fault with Buffet's (or Gates') philanthropy. These are people who have the means and are seeking to make meaningful and lasting improvements to the world. Critics accuse them of having an "agenda". Yeah, their agenda is making the place a better place to live. If you have a problem with that, then get to work, make gobs of money, donate it and then push your own agenda. Otherwise, shut the hell up.

Half Sigma said...

I have a problem with the fact that Bill Gates never had to pay income tax on his fortune. That's billions of dollars of lost government revenue.

Juggling Mother said...

Asher - personally I have found it to work quite well in europe. Well, certainly in the UK, where I live, where the welfare state was invented, and where we have a lower infant mortality rate, higher life expectancy and better lifestyle than Americans.

jewish philosopher said...

The fact is that once someone has over $100 million, he really cannot spend that money on himself anyway. So giving away the excess is no sacrafice. If an atheist would have let's say $10 million and give away five, that would be something. But has that happened?