FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: John Becker
Creators of ‘Kony 2012’ Viral Video Tied to Religious Right
BURLINGTON, Vt – Truth Wins Out expressed concern today about new revelations that Invisible Children, a San Diego-based charity that created the ‘Kony 2012’ viral video, receives major funding from far-right, anti-gay fundamentalist donors and organizations. The video, which has received nearly 74 million views and captured the attention of celebrities like Oprah Winfrey, Stephen Colbert, and Rihanna, calls for the apprehension and prosecution of former Ugandan warlord Joseph Kony and his Lord’s Resistance Army. However, according to researcher Bruce Wilson and the charity’s IRS 990 forms, 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, including that nation’s infamous “Kill the Gays” bill.
“Stopping a brutal warlord is an admirable and important goal, but it should not be done at the expense of LGBT Ugandans,” said Wayne Besen, executive director of Truth Wins Out. “Invisible Children needs to account for the very disconcerting ties between their organization and the religious right, and ultimately decide whether they’re going to be idealists or ideologues.”
According to Wilson’s report, the NCF has emerged as the biggest funder of the anti-gay, dominionist Christian right over the last ten years. Groups receiving NCF grants include Focus on the Family; the Family Research Council, a Southern Poverty Law Center-certified anti-gay hate group; the Fellowship Foundation, a nonprofit arm of the subversive D.C.-based fundamentalist shadow organization known as “The Family;” and Harvest Evangelism, a California-based ministry whose founder, Ed Silvoso, has worked with Julius Oyet, a leading promoter of Uganda’s Anti-Homosexuality Bill.
NCF also funds The Call, led by Lou Engle, a notorious anti-LGBT extremist who frequently uses violent imagery in his tirades against homosexuality. In 2010, Engle brought The Call to Uganda, where the legislature was already considering the infamous “Kill the Gays Bill” – authored and sponsored by MP David Bahati, a member of The Family. Engle’s rally, which Bahati attended, stoked the fires of homophobic hatred and helped to create an even more frenzied climate of intolerance in that country.
“American anti-gay groups like The Family, The Call, and Harvest Evangelism are waging a global war on LGBT people, exporting their hateful bile abroad even as the tide turns against their dangerous views at home,” said John Becker, TWO’s Director of Communications and Development. “It is irresponsible for organizations that seek to do good, including Invisible Children, to be affiliated the funders of this fanaticism.”
In 2010, Truth Wins Out organized the American Prayer Hour to draw national attention to Uganda’s “Kill the Gays” bill. The multi-city event provided an alternative to the National Prayer Breakfast, an annual event hosted in Washington by The Family, a group with disturbing ties to Bahati, Ugandan president Yoweri Museveni, and the Anti-Homosexuality Bill. The APH helped lead Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and President Barack Obama to speak out against the bill.
Invisible Children has also received contributions from Californians Terry and Barbara Caster and their foundation. The Caster family contributed heavily to the successful push for the passage of Proposition 8, California’s constitutional marriage discrimination amendment, in 2008.
Truth Wins Out is a non-profit organization that fights anti-LGBT religious extremism. TWO specializes in turning information into action by organizing, advocating and fighting for LGBT equality.
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