On April 20, Invisible Children will hold a worldwide rally to draw attention to murderous Ugandan Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) founder Joseph Kony. The event is called “Cover the Night,” but when one looks a bit closer at the shady right-wing extremists this group cavorts with, a more appropriate name might be “Invisible Agenda: Covering Up The Theocratic Nightmare.”
Before we go any further, I want to state that I agree with the ostensible goal of Invisible Children and their viral video “Kony 2012,” which is the incarceration or elimination of the LRA’s Kony. However, I wonder, based on their disturbing associations, if Invisible Children is truly anti-Kony or is it a propaganda campaign designed to bolster the reign of Uganda’s dictator Yoweri Museveni.
The Ugandan strongman is the point person for the American-based Fellowship (aka The Family), which is a secretive group of powerful Christian zealots who want to take over the world. This organization is largely blamed for the introduction of Uganda’s draconian Anti-Homosexuality Bill.
At least two of Invisible Children’s programs have involved collaboration with The Fellowship and its members. By 2007, Invisible Children was described by both Fellowship and Invisible Children staffers as having partially merged its developing school and mentoring programs in Uganda with The Fellowship’s Ugandan educational and leadership training system, which works to raise up a cadre of elite Jesus-centered leaders who will transform their nation along “Biblical” lines – with one apparent objective being the categorical elimination of homosexuality.
Ugandan Fellowship member Paul Lukwiya, now Education Director for The Fellowship’s Ugandan leadership training schools, has supervised the programs of both groups. In Spring 2007 – little more than a year and a half after the Invisible Children nonprofit was launched – Paul Lukwiya is reported to have traveled with IC members to the United States, where he spoke before an April 28, 2007 Invisible Children Seattle rally.
We also know that Invisible Children is funded by the U.S.-based National Christian Foundation (NCF), which has also provided significant funds to fanatical groups deeply tied to the persecution of LGBT people in Uganda.
Furthermore, at a 2005 Christian conference in San Antonio, Invisible Children’s co-founder Jason Russell called his organization a “Trojan Horse” designed to infiltrate secular institutions and surreptitiously promote his group’s version of Christian fundamentalism.
When one connects the dots, there are two looming questions that Invisible Children’s leaders have yet to answer: Why are they claiming to he humanitarians yet kissing up to the Ugandan potentate and palling around with his Fellowship enablers? Is Invisible Children a group of genuine idealists or a cabal of ideologues producing propaganda to strengthen Museveni’s rule so fundamentalist Christians can continue to lord over Uganda?
Invisible Children’s ties to Museveni are unacceptable. It is like they are hanging out with Bigfoot and then pointing to the Creature from the Black Lagoon and yelling “Monster!” Well, what about the murderous and undemocratic monster you are already with?
For example, last September Ugandan police forced 20,000 Ugandans from their homes, burning them to the ground and accidentally burning one child to death.
In some ways the attention to Kony feels like a misdirection play. In drug parlance, it is as if Museveni is the Kingpin and the cartel is The Fellowship. Except instead of drugs, Museveni is trafficking in political power and the American Evangelicals are peddling homophobic religious doctrine. In this paradigm, Kony is the violent street corner dealer who is terrorizing the neighborhood.
Yes, Kony needs to be taken off the street corner. But is it not odd that friends of the kingpin are making movies to have people focus on a thug running around the remotest areas of the bush with only 250 soldiers? To put this in perspective, there are 120,000 gang members in Los Angeles County. Sure, Kony is awful, but compared to the present day damage done at the hands of the Ugandan ruler, Kony is a mere sideshow, albeit a violent one.
To restore its waning credibility, Invisible Children should immediately cut ties with the dictator and the corrupted Fellowship. As long Invisible Children is linked to human rights violators, its claims to be humanitarian will be suspect.
Wayne Besen is a columnist and author of the book “Anything But Straight: Unmasking the Scandals and Lies Behind the Ex-Gay Myth.”