A few thoughts about the Invisible Children, KONY 2012 campaign.
I am encouraged by the popularity of the video, the diversity of people who have shared the video, and the outpouring of passion that has come to fruition in the last week. However, do we really need a flashy, entertaining, and emotional video to mobilize our passion to serve the poor and needy? In Matthew 22, God calls us to “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind… and to love your neighbor as yourself.” I contented that loving our neighbor is not posting a video on you facebook or twitter, it is not buying a t-shirt, and it is not slapping a sticker on a light post. Loving your neighbor means entering into meaningful relationship, submitting to community, and sacrificing for the betterment of others. Loving your neighbor is not easy. Especially in today’s world. The term ‘neighbor’ no longer implies proximity. Everyday we go home, drive our car into our garage, walk into our house, and then communicate with anyone and everyone via phone, email, texting, facebook, and twitter. We ignore our neighbors of proximity and engage with our neighbors who may be anywhere in the world. However we often only think of neighbors of proximity when reading ‘the second greatest commandment’. Loving your neighbor is not easy, but did anyone say it was going to be?Joseph Kony is a terrible person, who has done many horrible things. I agree wholeheartedly that justice needs to be done, and that it needs to be done quickly. However is fighting this injustice and violence with more violence and military aid the best way to go about this? Even in the video, the fact came across that Kony is no longer opperating in Uganda. Then why are we supporting the increased military action of the Ugandan army? Are we asking them to cross boarders and perpetuate more violence? Violence in other countries? It sounds like we are supporting and advocating the beginning of a war, not the end of a war.
Sending our military into Uganda, even if it is simply for advising purposes, seems a bit contentious to me. It seems backwards to bring peace to a region by sending military troops. However good intended this may be, we have to realize what will happen if the Ugandan army attacks Kony. We must understand the costs involved. Kony’s army is an army of children. The ensuing conflict will be a fully grown and trained army fighting against an army of hungry children. Many innocent children will die. The very children that have been followed around with a camera. Whose lives have been edited and compressed into a heart wrenching hour of eye opening documentary. These children will die, and it will be at the hands of the American military or the Ugandan military trained and equipped by the American military. Ask yourself, is this something you want to support?
As Christians should we be motivated by love or hate? Joseph Kony is a “bad guy” just like the cute little kid said in the video. But isn’t it the kids who we should be interesed in? The kids are the ones who have mobilized passion in young people, celebrities, and policy makers. We need to focus on the kids not Kony. We need to set up programs to give the kids education. We need to help kids escape the grip of Kony. We need to support programs and people that will be on the ground in Central Africa. We need to share the peace and love of Christ with peace and love, not with violence and military action. We need to work with the various countries and people of Central Africa to set up a sustainable structures for these children to grow and learn now, and far into the future. We need to work ourselves out of a job in Central Africa. Not perpetuate neocolonialism.
Now, if you have watched the Kony 2012 video and have found passion, GREAT! Do not lose this passion. This passion is good, it is God inspired, and Biblically rooted. Just make sure you do your homework. Because if there is anything that Invisible Children and this video have proven, it is that what you do matters. And what you do is what you believe. So go, study, and learn about the situation in Central Africa. Dedicate your life to loving these people. And when it is time for you to move on, find the next place on earth where God’s heart breaks and allow your heart to break where God’s breaks.