Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, R-Miami, told Florida students Friday she is “very proud to be associated with Invisible Children,” the organization that earlier this year launched the widely disseminated social media campaign to capture Uganda’s Joseph Kony, wanted for war crimes.
Since its “Kony 2012″ video became a viral sensation, Invisible Children has seen its funding come under scrutiny due to the organization’s links to “antigay, creationist donors.”
The BBC reported ealier this month that Kony’s “Lord’s Resistance Army movement has been fighting to install a government in Uganda based on the Biblical 10 Commandments,” and that “his rebels now terrorise large swathes of the Democratic Republic of Congo, South Sudan and the Central African Republic, and he is wanted for war crimes by the International Criminal Court (ICC).”
AlterNet’s B.E. Wilson reported in early March that ”among the tens of millions of people who have watched Invisible Children’s KONY 2012 viral video, including Oprah Winfrey – a dedicated supporter of LGBT rights who also has given $2 million dollars to Invisible Children, how many were aware of IC’s extensive financial ties to far-right fundamentalism, including major funders of the mounting global war on gay rights ? IC doesn’t go out of its way to advertise these things.”
AlterNet’s story added that Invisible Children, along with the Discovery Institute, Focus on the Family and the Family Research Council, has received funds from the “biggest funder of the hard, antigay, creationist Christian right: the National Christian Foundation.”
Ros-Lehtinen is a supporter of gay rights, a rare position in the Republican Party. In September 2011, she co-sponsored the Respect for Marriage Act, which would repeal the Defense of Marriage Act, a decision that prompted organizations like the Christian Family Coalition and the National Organization for Marriage to attack the Florida congresswoman.
Alex Cruz, a spokesman for Ros-Lehtinen’s office, tells The Florida Independent that the congresswoman supports “the cause of bringing Kony to justice,” not the Invisible Children organization itself.
Speaking to students in Miami, Ros-Lehtinen said she was inspired by the students’ “activism” and “involvement in this cause,” adding that “collective responses to injustices that are going on throughout the world is so important.”
Ros-Lehtinen also reminded the students that April 20 is the day Kony 2012 supporters will “blanket the city” with campaign posters: