By Arturo R. García
As the debate continues regarding Invisible Children’s campaign calling for the capture and arrest of Joseph Kony, the matter of faith has been making its way to the forefront, on both sides.
Religion, of course, has been at the center of Kony’s mission with his terrorist group, the Lord’s Resistance Army, as detailed by sources including U.S. military reports and by J. Carter Johnson in Christianity Today six years ago:
Kony, 41, envisions an Acholiland ruled by a warped interpretation of the Ten Commandments. He uses passages from the Pentateuch to justify mutilation and murder. He promotes a demonic spirituality crafted from an eclectic mix of Christianity, Islam, and African witchcraft.
Any resemblance to these religions is superficial: While the army observes rituals such as praying the rosary and bowing toward Mecca, there is no prescribed theology in the conventional sense. Kony’s beliefs are a haphazard mix from the Bible and the Qur’an, tailored around his wishful thinking, personal desires, and practical needs of the moment. Jesus is the Son of God. But instead of saving the world from sin through his sacrificial love on the Cross, he is a source of power employed for killing those who oppose Kony. The Holy Spirit is not the Divine Comforter, but one who directs Kony’s tactical military decisions.
Despite dabbling in the Bible and the Qur’an, Kony’s real spiritual obsession is witchcraft. He burns toy military vehicles and figurines to predict the course of battles from their burn patterns. He uses reptiles in magic rituals to sicken those who anger him or to detect traitors in his midst. He claims to receive military direction from spirits of dead men from different countries, including Americans. He teaches that an impending apocalypse will usher in “The Silent World,” where only primitive weapons, such as machetes and clubs, will bring victory.
But while Kony’s self-aggrandizing beliefs have been on record, if not the public eye, for years–earning him a dubious endorsement from Rush Limbaugh, as it turns out–the religious leanings of some of Invisible Children’s chosen allies started coming to light last week.