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Honoring his father

"Honoring his father" Continued...

Issue: "Biblical callings," Dec. 4, 2010

The Foundation maintains Sir John's "core funding areas." The lead one, "Science & the Big Questions," includes questions about evolution. Other Templeton core areas are Character Development ("We can determine how to be the masters of our habits"), Exceptional Cognitive Talent & Genius (humans can be "helpers in the acceleration of divine creativity"), and Genetics (the Foundation is not yet accepting unsolicited proposals in that area). Jack Templeton would not discuss any differences from Sir John in those areas: His calling is to do the will of his father.

The son clearly sees things the same way as his father in one other Core Area, Freedom & Free Enterprise. Jack recalls how Sir John "often spoke, year after year about 'people's capitalism' and what it would mean if the overwhelming majority of people in any country were shareholders themselves with the result that they would be much less likely to be envious and instead would focus much more persistently on 'the good of the whole.'"

I made one last try to understand the tension that might affect the son in doing the will of the father: I asked how Jack Templeton's personal giving differed from Templeton Foundation philanthropy. He responded by emphasizing how his life's work as a doctor influenced his charity: "A good part of my giving has had something of a 'therapeutic nature' to it." He has given to trauma prevention programs and to attempts to reduce youth substance abuse-"especially since there is a growing level of evidence that abused substances from alcohol to legal and illegal drugs clearly create variable and visible damages to the brain."

He also has supported "education and empowerment of Third World women (especially mothers and home leaders) who are trapped in a deeply entrenched culture of the mental and the material reality of poverty." Yet he is not striving to change the Foundation's giving pattern, even if he could, and he speaks of "specificity in the intent, the purpose, goals and vision of the John Templeton Foundation with which I also strongly resonate."

This may seem strange to some, and I don't like Templeton support for evolution-but in a foundation world where sons regularly disregard and even despise the intent of their fathers, Jack sees himself called to honor Sir John.

Marvin Olasky
Marvin Olasky

Marvin is editor in chief of WORLD News Group and the author of more than 20 books, including The Tragedy of American Compassion. Follow Marvin on Twitter @MarvinOlasky.

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