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There is Reason in stopping Joseph Kony

Invisible Children achieved an unparalleled feat with their internet sensation last month and whatever their motives may have been this fact is something that we should be encouraged by as Secularists. Why do I say so? Simple. The reaction of so many mammals across the planet to the magnification of the horrific crimes of Joseph Kony had absolutely no connection whatsoever to religion. Over a hundred million (predominantly young) people have now watched the initial video and it has been fascinating, if a little frightening, to watch the backlash that has since ensued. There seems, to me, to have formed a negative response to this entirely reasonable effort in the light of recent revelations about an alleged link between the aforesaid charity and the fundamentalist Christian Right in the United States.

I am at want at this stage to evoke the late, great, Christopher Hitchens - who visited and reported on Uganda in early 2006. He made the point in a conversation I read with Professor Richard Dawkins (Never be afraid of stridency) that religious people can do good things, even where we may be inclined to question their motives. The way I see it this is a classic case in point. Joseph Kony is on the most wanted list of the International Criminal Court (ICC) which was set up (under the Rome Statute) to protect children from war crimes and crimes against humanity. As someone who believes in the evolution of Reason over religion I feel compelled to support the ICC in protecting children, regardless of who is responsible for the recent awakening of mass mammal consciousness.

By all means we should expose links any charity has to religious groups but Bruce Wilson’s blog in The Huff & Puff Post, as well as similar reports in The Guardian here in the UK are fudging the issue by raising comparisons between Kony and the Ugandan Government, as though the record of the latter should stop us from supporting the capture of the former. I was inspired to start this discussion because I would like to hear what other freethinkers believe about the positive impact the ICC can have and how imperative it is that the stride towards equality for all is not allowed to be claimed by any religion. Sean Faircloth recently made a rousing speech about how we should take back “morality” from the Christian Right. I couldn’t agree more. Jason Russell and other may believe that the response is “God at work” but I would argue that it has been a humanist inspired response and that this is a positive step towards the light of Reason.

Martin Luther King believed he was leading the fight for equality in the States as a messenger of God. He wasn’t. It was his humanity that forced him to stand up against oppression and his fellow church leaders, who were presumably receiving conflicting messages from their own “creator” (scrap that for “conscience”). While Joseph Kony continues to threaten the children of central Africa the African Union has intervened to step up the search for him and the LRA. A world where people are engaged and energised about the exploitation of children wherever they happen to enter the cosmos, is a world where the light of Reason can begin to touch the lives of those who are currently hiding or being hidden, beneath a shadow of darkness.

Robert F Paulley Glasgow , Scotland


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