Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Foundation Imperialism

It seems like an extraordinary coincidence. C. Peter Wagner launched his new "philanthropic apostles" at the same time that Bill Gates, the world's richest billionaire, retired from running the Microsoft Corporation to spend his time doing philanthropy at The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

On the heels of this, Warren Buffet, the world's second richest billionaire, announced that he will give 5/6ths of his shares from his Berkshire Hathaway stock to The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

This isn't some wild-eyed conspiracy theory. The title of today's post comes from a quote yesterday in Forbes magazine, in an article entitled "Philanthropy With A Business Bent" by Paul Maidment, which explains the changing face of philanthropy:

"[Buffet's] Gates Foundation donation, marked a serious coming of age of entrepreneurial philanthropy. The skills and approaches of business are being applied to the work of doing good. A new breed of philanthropists is seeking to maximize the social impact of their actions, just as they sought to maximize shareholder value in their businesses.

"…The Gates Foundation is already moving beyond the pure medicine dimensions of health into agriculture and micro-financing. In the end, it and other foundations will inevitably find themselves in the business of promoting sound social infrastructure, open markets, the rule of law and transparent and corruption-free administration.

"Such a business-based approach to social and economic change will increasingly bring foundations into conflict with governments and special interests with their own political agendas….

"Nor will all cultures be comfortable with philanthropic foundations that promote Western values of freedom, technological progress and entrepreneurship to solve the world's underlying problems.

"That day is still a ways off, that of foundation imperialism even further."

It may be a myth -- a media reinforced myth -- that these philanthropic foundations will be promoting "Western values." In reality, these foundations are promoting a form of Western imperialism that more closely reflects the values, goals and agendas of the United Nations, especially the UN Millennium Development Goals.

Ground zero for the world's leading philanthropic efforts happens to be the continent of Africa. It is here where Bill Gates, Rick Warren, Ted Turner, Bono, Brad Pitt, the United Nations and an incredible array of multi-national corporations, think tanks, philanthropic groups, agencies, mission groups, churches, etc. have all focused their attention. The main public priority is global health issues, but underneath lurks all sorts of other agendas.

Domionism and the Great Outpouring of Wealth

Rick Warren's connection to all of this is quite significant because of his Christian dominionism -- that which he acquired from the New Apostolic Reformation (elsewhere documented in Herescope posts). The NAR leaders' "prophetic" predictions about a "great outpouring" of wealth may be connected to these recent philanthropic maneuvers. The Christian mission agencies, parachurch organizations and international groups who have been promoting NAR-style dominionism for the past two decades have positioned themselves globally to be on the receiving end of this great outpouring of philanthropic wealth.

Last November Rick Warren was invited to a Global Health Summit hosted by TIME magazine and supported by The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. At this summit he hobnobbed with over 400 leaders, including Bill Clinton (Clinton Global Initiative), Bill Gates, Condoleeza Rice, Ted Turner (who gave his fortune to the UN), Madeleine Albright, Bono, Paul Wolfowitz (World Bank), and others.

At this summit it was revealed that the World Bank was looking at "church-health facilities" to see how they could partner. Faith-based organizations took center stage as the participants were told that they "are able to reach those difficult areas that the government cannot reach." Significantly -- and perhaps an indication of future funding -- Rick Warren "noted…that many times churches are the only infrastructure in a remote village that lacks a post office, a hospital, or a school."

Following this summit, Warren traveled to speak to the Anglican Conference in Pittsburgh. At this conference he explained how churches would serve as a distribution network:

"He envisioned the church -- and here he includes non-Christian religious communities -- as a global distribution network that could deliver solutions in villages with no school, no post office, no clinic and no phone service."

An October 31, 2005 article in Fortune magazine entitled "Will Success Spoil Rick Warren?" confirmed this very point, also promising an "army of volunteers":

"PEACE stands for Partner with or Plant churches, Equip servant leaders, Assist the poor, Care for the sick, and Educate the next generation. 'We don't know how to do this,' he told the pastors in Kigali, 'but together we can figure it out. I'm going to get the best minds I can to help me.' About all he knows for sure is that the project will be driven by local pastors who will get help from churches in the developed world. 'The church has a distribution point in every community,' he says, 'and we have a massive army of volunteers that neither business nor government has.'"

The Truth:

Is the World using the Church? Or is the Church using the World?

Compromise with the spirit of the world and the spirit of the times will not produce a true love of one's neighbor. And charitable acts devoid of the Gospel of Jesus Christ is not true compassion.

"No servant can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon." (Luke 16:13)