Wednesday, March 14, 2012

KONY 2012 " Invisible Children " Reputable Charity or Front For The Radical Evangelical Religious Right?

Note: to be updated later today

First here's an indication of the growing interest in the KONY2012 campaign of the NGO "Invisible Children".This is a letter to the editor in our local newspaper today March 14, 2012. The writer argues though some may not care for the NGO Invisible Children the cause itself is in itself worthwhile you decide.
Below this article I offer up some allegations and criticisms of Invisible Children -
a mere distraction
 facile analysis
connections to Radical Religious Right
creating more conflict

Campaign about making Kony infamous

As of Tuesday, the “Kony2012” video had more than 75 million views.

Over the past five years, I have become involved in numerous non-governmental organizations, including World Vision and Save the Children. Invisible Children was no exception when I was introduced to it in 2008.

When I saw the Kony2012 video, I was thrilled. However, many people began criticizing the cause and the campaign.

In 2011, Invisible Children spent 37.14 per cent of its revenue on programs in Africa. Many people feel this percentage is too low for Invisible Children to be considered credible.

Invisible Children is not a traditional NGO, nor does it try to be. It focuses on movies, mission and movement, and allocates a third of its revenue to each.

I am not trying to sway your opinion. I understand that not everyone is for Invisible Children. But I would like to focus on the Kony 2012 campaign.

You do not have to support Invisible Children to support this campaign.

The point of the campaign is to raise awareness about Joseph Kony, the leader of the Ugandan guerrilla group Lord’s Resistance Army, who has abducted children for more than 26 years. He turns these children into sex slaves and soldiers.

The point is to make this despicable man infamous and show that the entire world cares about what happens to these children and their families.

Some people do not support Invisible Children or the Kony 2012 campaign, and I respect their opinion. Many do support the campaign. While we share the video, the posters and create awareness, I ask that you respect our opinion.

Katie Perro

Georges River

   In the last post we were looking at the Social Media phenomena known as hashtag #KONY2012 which was launched by the apparently non-profit independent organization Invisible Children which ostensibly is concerned with providing information on the outlaw rebel leader Kony of Lord's Resistance Army who is operating out of Uganda. Kony claims he is some sort of Messiah on a mission from God. He has over the years abducted some 30,000 children to be his personal army of child soldiers.Kony is no doubt a dispicable character committing acts of terror including abductions,kidnapping, rape ,mutilations ,murder and destroying peoples homes and even whole villages. So if Invisible Children's main purpose is to educate people in the West about Kony in order pressure politicians and governments to go after him this would seem lauditory.

But Invisible Children in its campaign is seen by other human rights groups and aid organizations working in Central Africa as distracting from the underlying ongoing systemic and cultural problems in this region which have fueled conflicts which have led to the deaths of over 5 million people. Invisible Children is also criticized for opening the door in its appeal for outside intervention especially from America and other Western nations as an invitation for military interventions which may exasperate the situation in the region and fuel a widening of the conflicts now taking place. And of course the USA and other nations may just see this as a means to accomplish their own self-interests, goals and agendas and a renewal of Western Colonialism with little concern for the needs, desires,or the rights of the indigenous peoples .

But another criticism of the organization Invisible Children has been raised about its alleged connections with the Radical Evangelical Religious Right in the United States. These connections have been noted mainly through donations made by a number of these Radical Religious Right organizations to the Invisible Children .

The Invisible Children has connections with a number of radical religious right organization which are part of the Fundamentalist Christian Dominionist movement from Bill Bright's Campus Crusade For Christ to C. Peter Wagner's the Seven Mountains Prophecy movement which includes Cindy Jacobs et al to James Dobson's Focus on the Family, The Christian Community Foundation, National Christian Foundation, The Fellowship Foundation, the anti-gay ministry of lou Engle's The Call,The Family research Council,ProVision Foundation, Ed Silvoso's Harvest Evangelism, The Discovery Institute which promotes Intelligent Design and so forth. These organizations represent most of the major issues which the Religious Right is involved. Their overall concern is with what they refer to as the liberal or Secular Humanists agenda which they see as an all encompassing conspiracy to undermine Western Judeo-Christian Civilization and its values. The Religious Right believe that this " Secular Humanist " conspiracy has been on-going for over a century and can be traced back as far as the Enlightenment.

Some may shrug this all off as a lot of radical rhetoric and religious fervor but these organizations are politically pro-active as we have seen in their attacks on same sex marriage and on Gay rights in the US and their attempts to undermine the Separation of Church and State to make the State reflect the moral values and civil law as found in the Bible ie making homosexuality and other forms of in their view deviant sexuality illegal and punishable by prison or even execution.
As we see with the GOP that is the Republican Party and the current slate of presidential candidates that such extremist views and theology have become mainstream.

So we have evidence of donations but also liaisons to these various Radical Religious organizations and individuals such as Rick perry, Rick Santorum, Michelle Bachmann, Sarah Palin and Newt Gingrich and various wealthy contributors .
We also have at least some disturbing or at least intriguing circumstantial evidence for instance the influence of some of these Religious Organizations such as Lou Engle's The Call on the passage of the so called Kill the Gay Bill" in Uganda.
If Invisible Children is truly independent as they claim then they should refuse substantial donations from such organizations which have for instance an anti-Gay agenda or other extremist agendas such as anti-Islam .

There are other new trends that have developed in these Central African countries in their paranoia concerning witches and that of "Demonic Possessions" which has resulted in the last few years of mainly women but also men and entire families being shunned or kicked out of their villages or even killed by stoning or burning. This would seem possible especially if these people are influenced by or are converting to these more Radical Christian Evangelical Religious groups. Many of these Radical Christian groups such as The Dominionists or The New Apostolic Reformation Movement which also goes under the Seven Mountains Movement preach that there are Demons among us and that there are also Demonic Forces connected to specific geographical areas while other Demons possess people and must be exorcised . While they also believe there are those people among us who summon Demons to give them power over others and these people are practicing witchcraft and are therefore evil and must be executed as the Bible commands.

Invisible Children Funded By Antigay, Creationist Christian Right by B.E. Wilson at, March 11, 2012

What does Invisible Children share in common with the Discovery Institute, the leading organization promoting “Intelligent Design”, a pseudo-scientific theory created to insinuate creationist ideas into public schools — or with The Call, whose leader Lou Engle claims homosexuals are possessed by demons, calls God an “avenger of blood” and a “terrorist”, and in May 2010 staged a rally in Kampala, Uganda, at which Engle warned of a gay menace to society and shared a stage with one of the authors of Uganda’s notorious Anti Homosexuality Bill ?

...Among the tens of millions of people who have watched Invisible Children’s KONY 2012 viral video, including Oprah Winfrey – a dedicated supporter of LGBT rights who also has given $2 million dollars to Invisible Children, how many were aware of IC’s extensive financial ties to far-right fundamentalism, including major funders of the mounting global war on gay rights ? IC doesn’t go out of its way to advertise these things.

But Invisible Children’s first yearly report, from 2006, gives “special thanks” to the “Caster Family Foundation” and IC’s 2007 report is more specific, thanking Terry and Barbara Caster. In the lead up to the 2008 election, the California-based Caster family was identified as one of the biggest financial backers of the push for California’s anti-same sex marriage Proposition 8.

Capping the pro-Prop 8 push was a November 1, 2008 San Diego stadium rally held by The Call, whose leader Lou Engle warned that same sex marriage could unleash a “sexual insanity” that would be “more demonic than Islam” and suggested believers should carry out acts of martyrdom to stop gay marriage and legal abortion, which Engle predicts will lead to a second American civil war.

One of The Call’s major donors in 2008 also gave, that same year, over 400,000 dollars to Invisible Children. These links weren’t anomalies. They were part of a pattern.

...What does IC have in common with the ministry of California evangelist Ed Silvoso, who works directly with leading Ugandan author and promoter of the Anti Homosexuality Bill (also called the “kill the gays bill”) Julius Oyet — who claims that “even animals are wiser than homosexuals”?

The answer? — all of these ministries – the Discovery Institute, Focus on the Family, the Family Research Council, The Fellowship Foundation, The Call, Ed Silvoso’s Harvest Evangelism, and Invisible Children – received at least $100,000 in 2008 from what has emerged in the last decade as the biggest funder of the hard, antigay, creationist Christian right: the National Christian Foundation.

               2008 grants from National Christian Foundation, and subsidiaries

Focus on The Family: $4,268,000

Family Research Council: $2,387,000

The Fellowship Foundation (AKA “The Family” or the “International Foundation”): $515,000

Lou Engle’s The Call: $166,000

Ed Silvoso’s Harvest Evangelism: $817,000

The Discovery Institute: $702,000*

Invisible Children: $414,000*

*NCF’s 2008 990 lists $139,000 to IC; NCF subsidiary ProVision Foundation’s 2008 990 lists a $150,000 grant to IC; NCF subsidiary ProVision Trust’s 2008 990 lists a $125,000 grant to IC.

*Answers in Genesis, which directly promotes “Young Earth” creationism,received over $35,000 from the NCF in 2008.

Since it came into existence in 1982, cooked up by canny tax lawyers, the National Christian Foundation–covered in a story by journalist Michael Reynolds published in the December 2005 issue of Mother Jones (extended version of story available here)– has swollen into a financial behemoth that disperses over 1/2 a billion dollars a year to Christian charities. But not just any Christian charities.

The NCF, which counts billionaire, controversial Rick Santorum-backer Foster Friess among its donors, funds nonprofits that advance its agenda which, as stated on the NCF website, is to “enable followers of Christ to give wisely to advance His Kingdom”.

also see : Kony 2012's Visible Funding: Invisible Children's anti-gay, creationist, Christian right donors by Xeni Jardin at boingboing, march 12, 2012

In an article at B. E. Wilson traces the funding connections between Invisible Children and major radical Fundamentalist Christain Right leaders and organization in America. These radical evangelical Christian groups are theologically part of the Dominionists and the Seven Mountains Prophecy and The New Apostolic movements

KONY2012 Promotes More Conflict in Region by Mahmood Mamdani,March 13,2012

Now Invisible Children has joined the ranks of those calling for the US to press for a military solution – presumably supported by a mostly children’s army of over 70 million viewers of its video, Kony 2012! What is the LRA that it should merit the attention of an audience ranging from Hollywood celebrities to "humanitarian interventionists" to AFRICOM to children of America?

The LRA is a raggedy bunch of a few hundred at most, poorly equipped, poorly armed, and poorly trained. Their ranks mainly comprise those kidnapped as children and then turned into tormentors. It is a story not very different from that of abused children who in time turn into abusive adults. In short, the LRA is no military power.

Addressing the problem called the LRA does not call for a military operation. And yet, the LRA is given as the reason why there must be a constant military mobilization, at first in northern Uganda, and now in the entire region, why the military budget must have priority and, now, why the US must sent soldiers and weaponry, including drones, to the region. Rather than the reason for accelerated military mobilization in the region, the LRA is the excuse for it.

The reason why the LRA continues is that its victims – the civilian population of the area – trust neither the LRA nor government forces. Sandwiched between the two, civilians need to be rescued from an ongoing military mobilization and offered the hope of a political process.

Alas, this message has no room in the Invisible Children video that ends with a call to arms. Thus one must ask: Will this mobilization of millions be subverted into yet another weapon in the hands of those who want to militarize the region further? If so, this well-intentioned but unsuspecting army of children will be responsible for magnifying the very crisis to which they claim to be the solution.

The 70 million plus who have watched the Invisible Children video need to realize that the LRA – both the leaders and the children pressed into their service – are not an alien force but sons and daughters of the soil. The solution is not to eliminate them physically, but to find ways of integrating them into --Ugandan-- society.

Those in the Ugandan and the US governments – and now apparently the owners of Invisible Children – must bear responsibility for regionalizing the problem as the LRA and, in its toe, the Ugandan army and US advisors crisscross the region, from Uganda to DRC to CAR. Yet, at its core the LRA remains a Ugandan problem calling for a Ugandan political solution.

Mahmood Mamdani is Professor and Director of Makerere Institute of Social Research in Kampala and Herbert Lehman Professor of Government at Columbia University, New York City. The Column first appeared in Uganda's The Daily Monitor

Who are the Apostles? What is the New Apostolic Reformation? Seven Mountains Campaign?
Rachel Tabachnick at, March 30, 2011

The New Apostolic Reformation can now be defined as a distinct movement with a unique ideology. The leaders of the movement, called apostles and prophets, claim that this is the most significant change in Protestantism since Martin Luther and the Reformation. The stated goal of the NAR is to eradicate denominations and form a unified church that will be victorious against evil in the end times. Like many American fundamentalists, the apostles teach that the events of the end times are imminent, but unlike fundamentalists, the apostles see this as a time of great victory for the church.

Instead of escaping the earth (in the Rapture)* prior to the turmoil of the end times, they teach that believers will defeat evil by taking dominion, or control, over all sectors of society and government, resulting in mass conversions to their brand of Charismatic evangelicalism and a Christian utopia or "Kingdom" on earth. The Transformations movies, Transformation organizations worldwide, and the Seven Mountains campaign are promotional tools to market their methodology for taking Christian dominion over: arts; business; education; family; government; media; and religion. The apostles who lead in areas outside church are called Workplace or Marketplace Apostles.

The apostles teach that the obstacles to their envisioned Kingdom on earth are literal demonic beings who hold control over geographic territory and specific "people groups." They claim this demonic control is the reason why people of other religions refuse to become evangelized and that the demons are also the source of crime, corruption, illness, poverty, and homosexuality. Purging of the demons results in mass evangelization and eradication of social ills, as claimed in the Transformations, media. The apostles teach that their followers are currently receiving an outpouring of supernatural powers to help them fight these demons through what they call Strategic Level Spiritual Warfare (SLSW)

and concludes that:

The movement has had a widespread impact, spreading ideology to other Charismatics inside Mainline Protestant denominations and Roman Catholicism, although non-Charismatic Roman Catholicism is viewed as controlled by a powerful demon named "The Queen of Heaven." The political potential of the movement is now being tapped by politicians including Sarah Palin, Newt Gingrich, Sam Brownback, Mike Huckabee, and others, as well as large numbers of local and state politicians. Over the last few years, the apostles have taken visible leadership roles in the Religious Right in the United States and numerous nations in Africa, Asia, and South America and claim Uganda as their greatest "Transformations" success story and prototype.

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