Mounting suspicions about the evangelical nature of the Invisible Children nonprofit, which released the blockbuster KONY 2012 viral video hit in early March, have now been confirmed. As reported by the LGBT rights nonprofit Truth Wins Out, in 2007 Invisible Children officially applied to become one of the elite Christian ministries supported by the politically right-wing, evangelical Christian nonprofit the Barnabas Group -- which accepted IC's application. Wrote TWO Executive Director Wayne Besen,
In May 2007, Invisible Children's CEO Ben Keesey, and IC's Development Director Chris Sarette, submitted an application, which identified Invisible Children as a "ministry", asking for support from the Barnabas Group -- a politically far right-wing Christian nonprofit which helps cutting edge stealth ministry evangelizing efforts that target Jews and Muslims, youth, Hollywood, and even apartment dwellers around the globe.
The Barnabas Group, which takes on only a small number of elite applicants per year from the Christian ministries that seek its support, accepted Invisible Children's application. The Group assists such evangelizing efforts by networking them with Christian business leaders and entrepreneurs, and with Christian foundations.
In 2006, a post on the Invisible Children website declared that IC "is not a religious organization, meaning we are not affiliated with a certain church or ministry" and according to Josh Kron of The Atlantic, on March 18th of this year a statement on Invisible Children's website read, "Invisible Children is not affiliated with any religious organization."
Judging by its stable of ministries - which, along with Invisible Children, also includes the Family Research Council, identified by the Southern Poverty Law Center as a hate group, the Barnabas Group is dedicated to evangelizing, fighting LGBT rights, and advancing Christian supremacy worldwide.
Leading up to this point, there has been considerable evidence of Invisible Children's stealth ministry nature: a 2005 declaration from IC co-founder Jason Russell that Invisible Children functions as a "Trojan Horse" and 2011 statements made by Russell at evangelical Christian Liberty University; Invisible Children's funding from major right-wing evangelical financing entities; and the organization's extensive social and institutional ties to the Washington D.C. based global evangelical network known as The Fellowship (also known as "The Family".)
In sum, that evidence is compelling. But Invisible Children's membership in the Barnabas Group is unambiguous. The Barnabas Group only accepts applications from Christian ministry efforts.
The Barnabas Group serves as a feeder system for the behemoth National Christian Foundation, which has been a major source of funding for Invisible Children as well as hard-right evangelical ministries such as Focus on the Family, the Family Research Council, Lou Engle's The Call, Ed Silvoso's Harvest Evangelism ministry, and the Fellowship Foundation -- one of the central nonprofits of the Washington D.C. based evangelical network known as The Family (or The Fellowship) which has been credited both with inspiring and also providing "technical support" for Uganda's internationally denounced Anti Homosexuality Bill that has loomed before Uganda's parliament since late 2009.
Truth Wins Out's revelation comes amidst other disturbing news, confirmation that Invisible Children has served as an intelligence asset for the government of Uganda. As originally reported by Milton Allimadi of the New York City based Blackstar News Service, now confirmed by the Invisible Children nonprofit according to the Raw Story news service, in 2009 Invisible Children provided intelligence to the Ugandan government that led to the arrest of a political opponent of Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni.
This is part of a wider pattern. As Joshua Keating, writing for Foreign Policy magazine observed,
Invisible Children has been criticized by a number of observers in the United States and Uganda for working with the Ugandan government -- which has itself been implicated in a number of human rights abuses -- as part of its campaign to apprehend Kony. The group responded to this critique last month on its website, noting that it "does not defend any of the human rights abuses perpetrated by the Ugandan government" and "none of the money donated through Invisible Children has ever gone to support the government of Uganda," but that nonetheless, "The Ugandan military (UPDF) is a necessary piece in counter-LRA activities.
Ugandan People's Defense Force troops hunting for Joseph Kony in the DRC Congo have been accused by Western human right groups of raping and looting, and recent Ugandan government human rights abuses also include large-scale eviction of Ugandan citizens from their traditional lands.
Late last year, even as Invisible Children was organizing its young partisans who were to play a major role in the online launch of Invisible Children's breakthrough KONY 2012 video, by promoting the video on social media websites such as Reddit.com, Ugandan government troops and police were evicting some 20,000 Northern Ugandans from their farmlands and burning their houses -- as the New York Times, the Guardian, and OXFAM reported in September 2011. The Ugandan citizens were evicted so that a British company could start a tree farming operation.