30% to services on the ground in Uganda figure for "Kony 2012" & Invisible Children, Inc., may be too high

Invisible Children's 990 (filing with the US IRS: Internal Revenue Service) for 2010 (the latest available reporting-year):

Total receipts: $13,765,180
Total expenses: $ 8,894,632

Of that $8,894,632, reportedly, $2,810,681 was for services, which were in the form of an educational grant to Sub-Sahara Africa in the form of wire transfers to Invisible Children Limited (the charity gave money to itself). One assumes some of the $2,810,681 went directly into constructing the schools in Uganda mentioned in the Kony 2012 video. One would have to examine the financials for Invisible Children Limited before coming to any conclusions as to how much of the $2,810,681 was use for overhead rather than direct services in the form of school buildings, etc.

Data source: GuideStar (pdf; requires login)

Invisible Children, as a charity, has been primarily spending money on making anti-Kony propaganda films and on Invisible Children's executive salaries. If you feel that your donations are best used producing primarily anti-Kony propaganda films, then that's your choice. Non-profit film making to raise awareness of war crimes and human-rights abuses and such are certainly not illegitimate, per se. The question then would be whether or not the particular films produced by Invisible Children are particularly meritorious. There has been a great deal of negative criticism about the "Kony 2012" film. I find much of that criticism to be well-founded.

In case you are wondering why people have been reporting that only some 30% of Invisible Children's expenditures went to services on the ground in Uganda, $2,810,681 is 31.6% of $8,894,632. Of course, as I pointed out, the 990 doesn't explain how much of the $2,810,681 went to overhead in Uganda. Perhaps none of it did; but regardless, 31.6% is very, very low if one is placing the emphasis upon services on the ground as opposed to creating anti-Kony propaganda films.

The film-making talents of the Invisible Children team could have been better channeled into more timely, accurate, and non-violent solutions. Had that been the case, I doubt that, that 31.6% would have even become an issue. Please also note that the 31.6 represents a percentage of expenditures and not total revenue. I prefer to also view these things in terms of total revenue (donations, etc.).

The 30% to services on the ground in Uganda figure for "Kony 2012" & Invisible Children, Inc., may be too high even when only the $8,894,632 figure is used rather than the $13,765,180 figure. However, when $13,765,180 is used, the percentage drops to only 20.4%. Of course, there's nothing wrong with a charity saving up. That's what the Christian Commons would be doing more of if people would see the light rather than falsely imagining that selfish capitalism is at all the righteous way. We say what our reason is for saving: Land and Building Fund to bring forth the Commons; translate the mammon into a system where mammon isn't required. Oh, the banksters hate that idea more than any other!

The next step would be to look at the financials of Invisible Children Limited (not "Inc."), as opposed to just Invisible Children, Inc. If anyone knows of where that next step has been taken, please supply the link in the comments section below.

Thank you.

Additional internal links:
Kony 2012: Going a bit deeper

Update:

Noah Anthony Russell

Your first post I agree with:]

The market stuff is definitely something that is happening. Are you saying that the invisible children are connected with the U.S government in this? or just that what they are doing is just helping the government do that?

"Even if you were correct, and I say you are not but rather being naive about US imperialist/colonialist intentions and the true nature of the current government there, we would not be doing our Christian part in doing that, Noah. You cannot be violent and be Christian at the same time. You cannot support militarism and be a Christian at the same time. Jesus did not support militarism but rather spoke clearly and often against all violence."

But what about defense I ask? are we to let a person rape out children? is that christlike? If you had a 6 year old girl in front of you and she was being raped. What would you do? And how would that be christlike?

And I do agree with you about attacking, and violence in general, with capital punishment and all, but when it comes to defense of our family and and innocents and others I'm still unsure if I agree on your views. I could not let a small 6 year old child just be raped. I would get the rapist away even if it meant throwing a punch or two. God kills justly. Why can't humans do the same in certain situations?

For me this is a hard issue because I since a small child in a big family always had a "justice complex" of sorts. I knew what i thought was fair and I wanted it to be that way.

My reply:

The degree to which Invisible Children is working with or for the US government is largely a matter of semantics. I am not saying that they are or are not on the government's payroll though. Many people down through the decades since the founding of the CIA have been on its payroll and where the people never even suspected it. CIA agents are taught to lie about being CIA agents. Some arrangements via the US government are quite elaborately disguised even to the point where an independent operator is unaware of how he is being used. Therefore, I don't rule in or out anything along those lines as concerns Invisible Children.

Your other question though is quite possibly the most salient question concerning Jesus and non-violence.

Look, you posed a hypothetical, which is a fair thing to do. So, continue with that same method but turn it around to ask why God doesn't stop all rapes right this moment and from here on out? Why didn't Jesus raise a defensive army or police force and go about eliminating all rapists and other offenders? During his ministry, did he not witness even one offensive act taking place where, if we use your hypothetical, we wouldn't want to step in between the offender and his victim? How do you reconcile Jesus's anti-violence with violence even in self-defense and/or the defense of one's family? Are you saying that the Amish, who had, what was it, 5 or 6 of their school girls murdered in a school house, were wrong not to use violence to stop the murderer? What they ended up doing after he committed the murders and was taken by police was pray for his soul and to forgive him for not knowing what he was doing. In addition, where vis-a-vis God and Jesus are those girls he murdered versus where the children you would protect via violence? How does fighting send the message not to fight? Was the non-violence of those Amish a more powerful message to would-be murderers than had they torn the murderer to shreds? Look at all the people committing murder and then committing pre-planned suicide.

The world is sick. What's the highest path to healing: violence or non-violence? Do you have faith in God and Jesus that those Amish are not condemned for not being violent and that those murdered girls are in the best hands that exist: God's? Are we only flesh and blood, or are we also, and even more so, spirit beyond flesh? If violence is the solution, why not just do what Moses said and not leave any trace of those who offend? That is what he preached. Jesus disagreed and said so quite clearly. So, whom do we follow, Moses or Jesus? I say that until humanity is 100% Christian, as Jesus would have us be, humanity will fail and fall. You do know that Christian prophecy is that humanity does eventually become 100% Christian. You also know that the Old Testament prophets did not, I repeat, did not know what Jesus came and taught. Moses did not know what Jesus knew.

So, the question for you is, who is it who sits on what the Fundamentalists call the Great White Throne of the parable, where unrepentant sinners are brought before that one and sliced to pieces? Is Satan really God on a bad day, or is the son of Man inclusive of the likes of Moses and Jesus was simply warning about it? Where does it say or suggest to you that, that one is Jesus? We have the parable of the seeds explained to us by Jesus. We are allowed to listen in on his private conversation with his closest disciples. Concerning many of the other parables, we are left to figure them out.

No where does Jesus even hint to me that I'm to resort to violence, ever. Whatever violence occurs anywhere at any time for eternity, I am not to engage in it. That's the message I've taken away from the Gospels. I have also taken away from them and from my experiences since I found out, that it is very, very true that few there be that find it.

I can't tell you how many people have told me to let go of my "impossibly" high standards. They come in all stripes doing that. They attempt to tempt me with all sorts of evil ideas. What is it to overcome if it doesn't include overcoming all temptations to violence, greed, and sexual depravity (which, as you know, includes homosex)? How do you teach your 6-year-old to turn his other cheek while you beat the hell out of someone who offends him?

Jesus said what will happen to those who offend the little ones. He did not say that we humans are to carry out the punishment but rather not to.

I realize how difficult this is for you. It was the most difficult thing for me. It is what kept me from professing Christianity for decades and more than any other thing, with perhaps one exception concerning Jesus and Psalm 22 and what Jesus said from the cross. That's another post though.

The only path to peace, Noah, is peace. Violence is never that path. Even the angels who will carry out the punishment are not as high as the ones who will not.

The war is within. Overcome. Aim as high as you can.

Noah:

Your argument is compelling. Sounds to me like it could be the truth. But I still have knowledge that seems to conflict with it.

God killed people himself didn't he? Jesus is God. So in a sense Jesus killed. Now obvious your gonna say they are different in some ways. Or else this argument is irrefutable. Now We are also different in some ways from Jess I would think. God commanded the Israelite to murder whole civilizations, women, children, and babies. It cannot be sin to do something that God has commanded because by definition sin is that which is against God's will/in opposition to God himself. Therefore there are cases in which Humans can kill another human and it not be sin correct? Would you say it was a sin for the isralites to kill when God himself commanded them to utterly destroy? To do so would be calling God himself a sinner for God cannot as a perfect and sinless being sin. Nothing he commands can be sin.

"When the LORD thy God shall bring thee into the land whither thou goest to possess it, and hath cast out many nations before thee, the Hittites, and the Girgashites, and the Amorites, and the Canaanites, and the Perizzites, and the Hivites, and the Jebusites, seven nations greater and mightier than thou; And when the LORD thy God shall deliver them before thee; thou shalt smite them, and utterly destroy them; thou shalt make no covenant with them, nor shew mercy unto them" (Deuteronomy 7;1,2). Again, in the book of Deuteronomy we read, "But of the cities of these people, which the LORD thy God doth give thee for an inheritance, thou shalt save alive nothing that breatheth: But thou shalt utterly destroy them ... as the Lord thy God hath commanded thee" (20:16,17). It could not be any plainer. God commanded them to murder them.

Now with the view I have been putting forward this works. Because the Canaanites were wicked people. Such things as idolatry, sexual immorality (including temple prostitution), and sacrificing babies to pagan gods were daily activities of them. They were all deserving of Death. Just like a murderer or rapist is. No one is perfect. We all are evil.

Now I could pull up a thousand of these examples and since you know the bible you know I can. How does your view justify this? how does it make sense of it? People killing in God's holy name righteously. How is that wrong now and not back then?

Tom:

You're close and getting closer with every passing year.

I won't say that they (God and Jesus) are different in the sense you mean. I will repeat that the prophets, including Moses, didn't have as well-developed hearing as Jesus. I use "hearing" there in the figurative sense -- how it is used repeatedly in both the Old and New Testaments (for continuity of understanding right now).

If your argument is irrefutable, then what you've identified is gross inconsistency. I have been saying for years now though that the Old and New Testaments are a testament to the argument over the true nature of God. Why did God command animal sacrifices from those without nearly the mercy Jesus expected, and still expects, and then turn around saying that it stinks and that he wants mercy? Where did this contradiction come from? Does it not exist because Fundamentalism says it can't, or does it really exist and there's nothing wrong with people/souls becoming more enlightened and closer to God over time? You do agree that Jesus's commandments did show Moses's to be conflicted, right? You do hold Jesus as the superior of the two, right? I do.

Look, I don't hate Moses. I get what he was talking about. I dare say that had I not heard Jesus and had lived with Moses, I might have agreed with him and might have become upset with Joshua for failing, just as Moses said he/they (the Israelites) would. I don't know though. It's one thing to sit here thinking about it. It's quite another to actually be living through it. He would have appealed to me over the golden calf worshipers though. I'm fairly confident in saying that. I would have sided with him against them. It's consistent with how I am now and always have been, frankly (at least by nature). I was ashamed of myself when my father found me doing things I should not have been doing -- and he knew it (and I'm not ashamed now to say it). I would have been ashamed before Moses too.

If you use Mosaic law to justify going against Jesus's teachings, you are a disciple of Moses and not Jesus.

Think about how Jesus said to his disciples that the prophets before them would have loved to have been hearing what Jesus was telling Jesus's disciples. I believe that. It shows you that those prophets were inspired over and above the general population but definitely not on the same level as Jesus.

If Moses knew (heard and repeated) God's perfect word, why did Jesus not stone the adulteress?

I sure hope you can get this. You'll be the first person I've ever communicated with at any length who has been openly able to receive it.

Look, if you are right, then why did God repent in Jonah? A perfect being doesn't have to repent.

Also, most people ignore that the burning bush was an archangel and not what we call the Godhead. Archangels are not the infallible God. Even the archangels must learn from Jesus. Absolutely nothing in the Old Testament matches Jesus's testimony. You know that.

If the Old was/is good enough, why do we have the New? Why is the old wine skin not able to hold the new wine/spiritual knowledge from Jesus Christ? Why did the strictest Mosaic-law followers of the day murder Jesus? Why did Jesus know they would? Why did Jesus meet with Moses in the Transfiguration? Why was Elijah there? He too was extremely violent. Jesus forgives. Jesus accepts those who continue rising.

Why are Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob all alive, as Jesus said, even though they did some really, really nasty things? What did they know when they were alive versus what we've heard from Jesus who came before us in the flesh?

To whom much is given, much is expected. Well, we've been given more than Abraham and Moses and all the rest of the Old Testament prophets via the words of Jesus. What is expected of us compared to what was expected of them back then?

We have a great deal of work to do to counteract all the evil that's being spread all over the place. Of course, there will only be a remnant at first -- until they've paid the last penny. How much do you owe? Certainly much less than do I; and for that, I'm glad. Stay that way.

Do not fall to violence or any of the other things: greed, sexual depravity, etc.

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  • Tom Usher

    About Tom Usher

    Employment: 2008 - present, website developer and writer. 2015 - present, insurance broker. Education: Arizona State University, Bachelor of Science in Political Science. City University of Seattle, graduate studies in Public Administration. Volunteerism: 2007 - present, president of the Real Liberal Christian Church and Christian Commons Project.
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    • Noah Russell

      There are definitely better choices then the invisible children charity for helping people in Uganda.