Bill Gates, who rarely speaks of faith, says his foundation is doing “God’s work.”
In an interview with UK newspaper The Telegraph, he discussed The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation’s work eradicating polio in Nigeria, Pakistan and Afghanistan.
In Pakistan, some health workers have paid with their lives for distributing the vaccine, because Islamist groups have spread a belief that the vaccine is a Western evil.
“It’s not going to stop us succeeding,” Gates says. “It does force us to sit down with the Pakistan government to renew their commitments, see what they’re going to do in security and make changes to protect the women who are doing God’s work and getting out to these children and delivering the vaccine.”
While Gates hasn’t mentioned “God” before in interviews, he has said he believes in the values derived from religion, though not religious rituals.
In a Time Magazine interview a decade ago he was quoted as saying organized religion is a waste of time.
“Just in terms of allocation of time resources, religion is not very efficient. There’s a lot more I could be doing on a Sunday morning,” he said.
While Melinda Gates is Catholic, Bill says his views don’t “relate to any particular religion; it’s about human dignity and equality.”
“The golden rule that all lives have equal value and we should treat people as we would like to be treated,” he says.
Later this month Gates will be back in London to deliver a lecture with the theme “the value of the young human being.”
By LINDA THOMAS