Invisible Children Funded By Antigay, Creationist Christian Right
Bruce Wilson printable version print page     Bookmark and Share
Sun Mar 11, 2012 at 11:57:33 AM EST
[update: subsequent research shows that Invisible Children has extensive social and institutional ties to The Fellowship (also called "The Family"), the Washington D.C. based evangelical global network which has been credited, by the bill's co-author MP David Bahati, with inspiring and even providing "technical support" for Uganda's Anti Homosexuality Bill, often called the "kill the gays bill". See this subsequent 7,000 word report]

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 ?

990 IRS tax forms and yearly reports from Invisible Children, and 990s from its major donors, tell a story that's jarringly at odds with the secular, airbrushed, feelgood image the nonprofit has cultivated.

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 Invisible Children share in common with James Dobson's Focus on the Family, the Family Research Council (pegged by the Southern Poverty Law Center as a "hate group"), or the Fellowship Foundation --- one of the nonprofit entities of the Washington-based evangelical organization also known as "The Family" (covered in two books by journalist Jeff Sharlet) whose leader Doug Coe has been captured on video celebrating the dedication inspired by Hitler, Lenin, and Mao ?

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".

(Joining with Foster Friess, as one of the top 2 donors to Rick Santorum's Red, White, and Blue Fund Super-PAC, was Templeton Foundation head Dr. John Templeton, Jr. - who donated $35,000 to Invisible Children in 2007 according to the group's 2007 990.)

The National Christian Foundation's statement of belief is solidly fundamentalist: "We believe that the entire Bible is the inspired and inerrant Word of God; the only infallible rule of faith and practice." Also stated on NCF's website:

"Our board members know they are charged with a great responsibility. Their goal is to make certain every dollar that comes to us is ultimately distributed according to our Christian mission"

2008 wasn't the first year Invisible Children benefited from National Christian Foundation largesse - IC's 2007 990 tax form lists three grants, totaling $350,000, from NCF subsidiary the ProVision Foundation (which is also specifically thanked in IC's 2007 and 2008 annual reports).

Invisible Children's first filed 990 tax form, for the calender year running from mid 2005 to mid 2006, listed a $30,000 cash donation, IC's biggest cash gift that year, from another fundamentalist granting organization, based in Colorado Springs, called the Christian Community Foundation, Inc. (also known as "Waterstone")  

In 2009, CCF assets surpassed $138,000,000 and the foundation made over $20,000,000 in grants, including $365,000 to the Family Research Council and $297,000 to Focus on The Family, as well as small grants to Answers in Genesis and the Fellowship Foundation.

The membership of the Christian Community Foundation, Inc.'s board of directors overlaps with board membership of National Christian Foundation subsidiaries; what this suggests is that, from its first calendar year, Invisible Children had appeared on the radar screen of some of the world's largest Christian fundamentalist grant-making organizations--which apparently deemed Invisible Children to be a worthy investment that would help advance particular visions for establishing God's kingdom on Earth.

IC was also on the radar screen, judging by his $5,218 donation listed on the Invisible Children 2006 990 tax form, of Philip Anschutz - the reclusive, Colorado-based devout Christian billionaire, dubbed the "stealth media mogul", who was in 2007 worth an estimated $6.7 billion dollars.

According to journalist Bill Berkowitz, Anschutz has helped fund the Discovery Institute and supported Colorado's 1992 anti-gay marriage Amendment 2. In 2005 Anschutz co-produced, in conjunction with Walt Disney Pictures, the Christian-themed fantasy film "The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe."

Along with the pro-Proposition 8 Caster Family, another backer specifically thanked in Invisible Children's first yearly report was the Circle Family Foundation, also known as "Malachi 3", a small foundation which funds a stable of ministries including Campus Crusade For Christ, whose founder the late Bill Bright patterned his ministry along the lines of revolutionary communist cell groups.

Bright, who once declared himself to be "involved in a conspiracy with thousands of others to 'overthrow the world' ", also helped birth the dominionist "Seven Mountains" mandate, which instructs believers to take control of significant sectors of society and culture including: media, arts and entertainment, government, business and finance, the family, religion, and education.

[note: this story explores almost wholly overlooked ties between the Invisible Children nonprofit and the politicized fundamentalist right. It is not intended as a dedicated critique of Invisible Children's effort to publicize Joseph Kony and the LRA, or the nonprofit's conduct generally. Subsequent installments will address those issues. For a very different profile of American evangelical involvement in Uganda, see my 20-minute documentary video Transforming Uganda, cited in 2010 testimony before Congress.]

[update: Why does it matter, if Invisible Children was funded by controversial donors? Two reasons - one, we can assume those donors thought IC aligned with their agenda - which is antagonistic to LGBT rights. Two, it fits an emerging pattern in which Invisible Children appears selectively concerned about crimes committed by Joseph Kony but indifferent to crimes, perhaps on a bigger scale, committed by their provisional partner, the government of Uganda - whose president shot his way into power using child soldiers, before Joseph Kony began using child soldiers. While Kony was *indicted, by the International Criminal Court, in 2005 for crimes against humanity, the government of Uganda was charged that same year, in 2005, by the International Court of Justice, for human rights abuses and looting in the DRC Congo (PDF file of ICJ ruling against Uganda). Like Kony, the Ugandan army has been accused of preying upon civilians and is currently accused, by Western human rights groups, with raping and looting in the DRC Congo, where it is hunting for Kony. In the late 1990s, Uganda helped spark a conflict in DRC Congo that, by the middle of the next decade it is estimated, had killed up to 5.4 million civilians, more than any conflict since World War Two. See appended "Resource" section for more information. For a very different perspective on IC, Kony, and Northern Uganda, see this editorial by Milton Allimadi, of the NYC-based Blackstar news service]

*Note: this story originally identified the 2005 charges against the government of Uganda as coming from the International Criminal Court. That was incorrect - my thanks to Milton Allimadi, of Blackstar News, for pointing out the error. As Allimadi wrote in his March 8, 2011 Blackstar News editorial (also linked above),

"Kony is a nightmare, but Museveni has caused the deaths of millions of people in Rwanda, Uganda and Congo. In 2005 the International Court of Justice found Uganda liable for what amounts to war crimes in Congo: mass rapes of both women and men; disemboweling pregnant women; burning people inside their homes alive; massacres and; plunder of resources. Congo lost six million people after Uganda's occupation of parts of Congo. The Court awarded Congo $10 billion in reparations; not a dime has been paid. Congo then referred the same crimes to the International Criminal Court (ICC) in the Hague for war crimes charges. On June 8, 2006, The Wall Street Journal reported that Gen. Museveni personally contacted Kofi Annan, then UN Secretary General and asked him to block the criminal investigation. "
RESOURCES

http://www.friendsforpeaceinafrica.org/samuel-olara/496-accounting-for-post-war-crimes-in-northern-uganda-monitor.html  ( the best summary I've yet seen of conflict in Northern Uganda, 1986 - 2007 )

Critiques of Invisible Children

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/michael-deibert/joseph-kony-2012-children_b_1327417.html

http://visiblechildren.tumblr.com/post/18890947431/we-got-trouble

http://www.wrongingrights.com/2009/03/worst-idea-ever.html/

http://chrisblattman.com/2009/03/04/visible-children/

http://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/136673/mareike-schomerus-tim-allen-and-koen-vlassenroot/obama-takes-on-the-lra?page=show

http://www.blackstarnews.com/news/122/ARTICLE/6586/2010-06-02.html ( "How Invisible Children Falsely Marketed The LRA Disarmament and Northern Uganda Recovery Act" )

http://www.thegauntlet.com/article/1320/18249/Barry-from-Look-What-I-Did-responds-to-Invisible-Children-Organization.html  (  Invisible Children confirms pro-interventionist stance )

Alleged crimes and human rights abuses by Uganda and the Ugandan People's Defense Forces

http://www.observer.ug/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=17456:updf-in-kony-hunt-accused-of-rape-looting&catid=78:topstories&Itemid=116 ( UPDF, hunting for Kony in DRC, accused of rape, looting )

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=upITVcXw_Gk ( Yoweri Museveni, president of Uganda, shot his way into power using child soldiers )

http://www.icj-cij.org/docket/files/116/10521.pdf ( Uganda was charged, in 2005, by the International Court of Justice at the Hague, with looting in the People's Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), and with a range of human rights abuses and atrocities in the DRC. note: this story originally identified the indictment as coming from the International Criminal Court.)

Reports, from UN, on Uganda & Rwanda war crimes in DRC Congo

http://www.afrol.com/Countries/DRC/documents/un_resources_2002_rwanda.htm

http://www.afrol.com/Countries/DRC/documents/un_resources_2002_uganda.htm

http://www.afrol.com/Countries/DRC/documents/un_resources_2002_intro.htm

Wikipedia cover of DRC conflict

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Democratic_Republic_of_the_Congo#Rwandan.2FUgandan_invasions_and_civil_wars

Accusations of an Acholi Genocide

[ Yoweri Museveni has been accused of engineering a planned, slow genocide against the Acholi people of Northern Uganda  (note: Blackstar News links to web-cached versions of stories - site under heavy traffic load)]

http://www.musevenimemo.org/ ( David Todd Whitmore, of University of Notre Dame, studies traditional Acholi culture, says 1980s memo, allegedly from Yoweri Museveni, indicates plan to depopulate Acholi areas of Northern Uganda, to open up access for fertile farmland. )

http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/headlines/2007/05/secret_photos_r/ ( ABC report suggests Ugandan government coverup )

http://www.acholitimes.com/culture/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=13:genocide-in-uganda-the-african-nightmare-christopher-hitchens-missed&catid=3:genocide-in-acholi-the-conspiracy-of-silence&Itemid=23 - ( " Genocide in Uganda: The African Nightmare Christopher Hitchens Missed " )

http://www.independent.co.ug/News/news/3865-planned-massacre-of-the-acholi ( Uganda Independent covers accusations of an Acholi genocide )

http://allafrica.com/stories/201101050048.html

http://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:ntd7BPk00poJ:blackstarnews.com/news/122/ARTICLE/7028/2010-12-25.html+&cd=2&hl=en&ct=clnk&gl=us

http://www.friendsforpeaceinafrica.org/documents/20/65-structure-a-agency-in-acholi-genocide.html ( "Structure and Agency in Acholi Genocide" )

http://www.friendsforpeaceinafrica.org/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=68&Itemid=43 ( "Genocide in Comparative Perspective; the Jewish and Acholi Experience" )

http://www.friendsforpeaceinafrica.org/columnists/161-the-achol-qfinal-solutionq.html ( "The Acholi Final Solution", 2007, by Milton Allimadi, editor of NYC-based Blackstar News )

http://www.blackagendareport.com/?q=book/export/html/10361 ( "Ending Uganda's "Brilliant" Genocide", Allimadi )

http://www.km-net.org.uk/conferences/KM97/papers_htm/causes.htm

http://www.ugandagenocide.info/  ( general source for writings on Acholi conflict & Ugandan gov. )

http://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:BPk1NvWo7_cJ:www.blackstarnews.com/%3Fc%3D122%26a%3D4751+&cd=1&hl=en&ct=clnk&gl=us  ( report from Dr. Adam Branch, whose research is based in Northern Uganda )

http://www.david-kilgour.com/mp/Ugandan%20IDP%20Camps%20&%20Children.htm ( Canadian parliament member, on Acholi camps )

http://www.blackcommentator.com/93/93_otika_uganda.html  ( Ugandan student, studying in US, weighs in )




Display:
I accidentally deleted this story while updating it, and I had to wait until today to reach TTA's resident tech guru to see if he could restore the post to the original URL -- and he did!

He couldn't restore the comments I accidentally deleted along with the story, but I found them in the Google cache version. So here they are:

"yet another hyperchristian power base? (5.00 / 1)
Please tell us more, much more, about the National Christian Foundation!

by Pierce R Butler on Mon Mar 12, 2012 at 08:05:32 PM EST

    I think that Mother Jones article... (5.00 / 1)
    ...by Michael Reynolds wrapped up the issue pretty neatly.

    by Bruce Wilson on Mon Mar 12, 2012 at 10:15:14 PM EST
    [ Parent ]

A Far-Left Website... (none / 0)
...is how you've been described by some friends of mine. I should note that said friends careers are in the US Government's military and intelligence fields.
Another point that I find interesting is that some of the people that I know that are very supportive of Invisble Children and are proponents of the "something must be done" school of thought are also the same ones who condemn the US involvement in Afghanistan and Iraq.
When I pointed out the dichotomy in their thinking, I got hit with the old "well this is different" canard.

by Frank Frey on Mon Mar 12, 2012 at 10:06:36 AM EST

    This isn't about partisan politics (5.00 / 1)
    In the end, it's about Invisible Children donor information listed on 990 tax forms.  

    by Bruce Wilson on Mon Mar 12, 2012 at 10:10:46 AM EST
    [ Parent ]

        unfortunately (5.00 / 1)
        In today's political climate, it seems that any data regarding the funding of or by right-wing organizations ends up being about partisan politics. A fact-based world view is now considered "extreme left."

        by MLouise on Mon Mar 12, 2012 at 05:05:15 PM EST
        [ Parent ] "



by Bruce Wilson on Sun Mar 18, 2012 at 02:31:55 PM EST


WWW Talk To Action


Short Takes -- Taking Action Edition
Banned Books Week is being celebrated this year from Sept. 21-27.  Yes its time for the annual celebration of the Freedom to Read, sponsored......
By Frederick Clarkson (0 comments)
Archbishop Schnurr Throws Cold Water on the Ice Bucket Challenge
The Ice Bucket Challenge has been an outstanding success in raising both awareness and research money needed to find a cure for Amyotrophic lateral......
By Frank Cocozzelli (1 comment)
The Secret Antigay U.S. Money Behind The WCF and the Global Evangelical War on LGBT Rights
[note to readers: this is an excerpt from my first installment in a Twocare.org/Center Against Religious Extremism series that will examine extensive ties -......
By Bruce Wilson (0 comments)
Race as Religion
Reading Edith Beer's book, The Nazi Officer's Wife, I ran across an interesting account of her fake marriage license.  She married a Nazi officer......
By wilkyjr (2 comments)
Dark Discussions on the Christian Right
The Neo-Confederate movement has been trying to jump start itself of late.  It has been an especially heady few months for the League of......
By Frederick Clarkson (1 comment)
Oath Oaf: Religious Right Columnist Calls For Religious Tests In Military
Bryan Fischer, the director of issues analysis for the American Family Association (AFA) is like a demented, right-wing geyser: You can count on him......
By Rob Boston (1 comment)
Deeper Background on Dominionism -- Revisisted
In the Fall of 2011, there was an extraordinary -- and extraordinarily scurrilous -- wave of criticism aimed at those of us who had......
By Frederick Clarkson (0 comments)
Fall From Grace: What The Religious Right Should Learn From The McDonnell Scandal
Leaders of Religious Right groups are fond of telling us that if we elect more fundamentalist Christians to office, we'll have less corruption. Biblical......
By Rob Boston (2 comments)
A Visit To The Reality Community: Americans Have Sex. Americans Use Birth Control. Let's Move On.
Over the weekend, Americans United Senior Litigation Counsel Greg Lipper took part in a panel discussion about the Supreme Court's Hobby Lobby decision at......
By Rob Boston (3 comments)
Thomas DiLorenzo's Rebel Yelling
I have written a great deal in the past few years about the odd phenomenon of Catholic Neo-Confederatism.  Let's add one more name to......
By Frank Cocozzelli (2 comments)
Censorship Challenge: Texas Pastor Seeks Restrictions On `Dangerous' Library Books
Back in the 1990s, some Religious Right activists in Virginia got the bright idea to begin attacking America's public libraries. The idea was to......
By Rob Boston (1 comment)
Suspended St. Louis County Officer Dan Page Made Rounds on Rightwing Radio Shows
St. Louis Police Officer Dan Page drew national attention when he shoved CNN's Don Lemon during a broadcast of the protests in Ferguson, and......
By Rachel Tabachnick (1 comment)
Cop Who Shoved CNN Host Don Lemon Lassoed in Another Conspiracy Rodeo
Rachel Tabachnick broke an important story this evening showing that the rant by Officer Dan Page that got him suspended from the St.Louis County......
By Frederick Clarkson (0 comments)
Exile Excitement: Some Fundamentalists Seek Escape From Decadent Society
OK, now we've done it. Those of us who advocate things like separation of church and state, secular government, LGBT rights and self-determination when......
By Rob Boston (2 comments)
Controversy Over White Nationalist GOP Candidate Still White Hot
The 2004 Constitution Party candidate for president Michael Peroutka's current race for County Council in Maryland -- as a Republican -- it is still......
By Frederick Clarkson (0 comments)

Deconstructing the Dominionists, Part VI
This is part 6 of a series by guest front pager Mahanoy, originally dated November 15, 2007 which I had to delete and repost for technical reasons. It is referred to in this post,......
Frederick Clarkson (0 comments)
Republican infighting in Mississippi
After a bruising GOP runoff election for U.S. Senator, current MS Senator Thad Cochran has retained his position and will face Travis Childers (Democrat) in the next senate election. The MS GOP is fractured......
COinMS (2 comments)
America's Most Convenient Bank® refuses to serve Christians
Representatives of a well known faith-based charitable organization were refused a New Jersey bank’s notarization service by an atheist employee. After inquiring about the nature of the non-profit organization and the documents requiring......
Jody Lane (3 comments)
John Benefiel takes credit for GOP takeover of Oklahoma
Many of you know that Oklahoma has turned an unrecognizable shade of red in recent years.  Yesterday, one of the leading members of the New Apostolic Reformation all but declared that he was responsible......
Christian Dem in NC (2 comments)
John Benefiel thinks America is under curse because Egyptians dedicated North America to Baal
You may remember that Rick Perry put together his "Response" prayer rallies with the help of a slew of NAR figures.  One of them was John Benefiel, an Oklahoma City-based "apostle."  He heads up......
Christian Dem in NC (2 comments)
Mississippi Religious Freedom Restoration Act.
Yes, that's right. We have totally lost our religious freedom in Mississippi and it must be restored by our legislators. ......
COinMS (1 comment)
Bill Gothard accused of harassing women and failing to report child abuse
Surprised no one's mentioned this, but one of the longest-standing leaders of the religious right is in a world of trouble.  Bill Gothard has been active in the fundie movement for over half......
Christian Dem in NC (1 comment)
Eugene Delgaudio may lose his day job as Virginia county supervisor
Surprised no one's noticed this, but one of the nation's most virulent homophobes is in a fight to keep his day job.  Eugene Delgaudio is best known as the head of Public Advocate......
Christian Dem in NC (0 comments)
Starkville Becomes First City in Mississippi to Pass Resolution Recognizing LGBT Residents
This caught me by surprise. I guess times are a changin in Dixieland. ------------------------------------- Cross posted from the HRC blog. Starkville Becomes First City in Mississippi to Pass Resolution Recognizing LGBT Residents January 21,......
COinMS (0 comments)
Robert Knight: Running against evolution could potentially be a winner for the GOP
In one of the starkest instances yet of how far gone the religious right is, one of its leading activists thinks that he's found another potential wedge issue that could drive more people into......
Christian Dem in NC (2 comments)
First Catholic official convicted in child sex abuse scandal has conviction overturned
Last year, Monsignor William Lynn, the Archdiocese of Philadelphia's secretary for clergy, was convicted of reassigning a priest whom he knew had molested a young boy to a parish that had a school attached......
Christian Dem in NC (0 comments)
Quotes From Sarah Palin 'War on Christmas" Book v. Quotes From 1920s Anti-Jewish Propaganda
The point of this comparison is not to cast Sarah Palin as a Nazi. Rather, my intent is to underline uncomfortable similarities between contemporary "war on Christmas" talking points propagated by elements of the......
Bruce Wilson (0 comments)
Francis sets up commission on how to deal with pedophile priests
Late yesterday Pope Francis announced--apparently after some prodding--that he will set up a panel to advise him on how to deal with child abuse by priests. The announcement was a forthright acknowledgment by the......
Christian Dem in NC (0 comments)
John Hagee: Jews will make deal with Antichrist before End Times
When John Hagee opens his mouth, you expect to hear lunacy.  An appearance earlier this month on TBN was no different.  On Friday, People for the American Way stumbled on a special prophecy-focused edition......
Christian Dem in NC (0 comments)
Doug Phillips Resigns From Vision Forum over "Inappropriate Relationship"
Doug Phillips resigned as president of Vision Forum earlier this week, citing an "inappropriate relationship."   Phillips posted an announcement on the Vision Forum website, stating, There has been serious sin in my life......
Rachel Tabachnick (2 comments)

More Diaries...




All trademarks and copyrights on this page are owned by their respective companies. Comments, posts, stories, and all other content are owned by the authors. Everything else 2005 Talk to Action, LLC.