With of all the hype about Joseph Kony in the air I think we need to nip something in the bud right now. We need to agree that if/when he’s caught, however that happens, and tried – we are not going to allow his execution. Anything less would be hypocritical.
By now there are already enough misperceptions about this Kony 2012 situation to keep bloggers busy at least until April 20th Fight Club Project Mayhem Kony date. So we are clear, no this isn’t the guy that invented that invented the all-meat bean free chili, chopped white onions and mustard hot dog (that’s Coney) or the founder of the Island that housed amusements and oddities of all kinds for generations (but that is where the aforementioned frankfurter derives its name). No apparently Joseph Kony is the leader of a Ugandan guerilla group named the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA). According to the source of all worldly knowledge Wikipedia, the LRA is a militant group with a syncretic Christian extreme religious idolatry, known for the atrocities they commit against civilians, including murder, mutilations, rape, and in some accounts even cannibalism. Since the LRA’s rebellion began in 1986, it has been estimated that the LRA has abducted and forced an estimated 66,000 children to fight for them, and has forced the internal displacement of over 2 million people. In 2005 Kony was indicted for war crimes by the International Criminal Court but he is yet to be caught.
Then as Rachel Held Evans concisely put it:
“If you haven’t already heard, the charity Invisible Children launched a campaign this week to make Joseph Kony… famous. By making Kony famous, they hope to mobilize millions to pressure Washington to continue assisting the Ugandan government in their efforts to hunt down and arrest Kony for his war crimes against children.”
If you haven’t seen the Invisible Children Kony 2012 video yet you can see it here.
She then goes on to say:
“However, some have raised legitimate concerns about Invisible Children’s strategy and finances, suggesting that IC may do more to hurt the situation than help it.”
Ms. Evans then does an excellent job of putting together some resources so that people can do some needed investigation themselves on this issue. You can check her site out here for those.
I don’t want to rehash all of that – take some time and a deep breath and look into it yourself and then come to an educated decision on the matter. I personally think that the issues surrounding the Kony 2012 campaign are far more ethically complex then they are being made out to be by the video.
I don’t have time to address all of the moral/ethical issues here…
I do think that one point that most people agree on is that Joseph Kony should be apprehended for his crimes. But, the issue I want to raise is: What happens if/when Joseph Kony is actually caught. What Then?
Saddam Hussein: apprehended, tried and then brutally executed by hanging.
Osama bin Laden: found, executed and then buried at sea within 24 hours of his death.
Muammar el-Gaddafi – The National Transitional Council of Libya, the de facto parliament of Libya, sent fighters out after Gaddafi and took him prisoner. Shortly afterward, he was shot dead. At least four mobile phone videos showed rebels beating Gaddafi and manhandling him on the back of a utility vehicle before his death. One video pictured Gaddafi “sodomized with some kind of stick or knife” or possibly a bayonet, after his capture.
Now don’t get me wrong – all of the aforementioned persons have engaged in horrible, unthinkable crimes against humanity. The question though is: Do we want to teach our children to fight tyranny with murder?
I have stated clearly in a former post that, in my opinion, The Death Penalty is not a Christian Option.
I certainly know that the aforementioned individuals were not friends to our country, or many other people for that matter, but I can’t help but thinking that every time we enact/cheer another person’s death that we dehumanize ourselves in the process. As Christians we are called by Jesus to be better than this.
Jesus is clear that we are to love our enemies. I would say that true love in the case of an enemy like Kony is indeed preventing him from continuing to do injustices against others. Just like in a child abuse situation when one honors their parents by ending the abuse, we must love Kony enough to end his senseless crimes. But truly loving him also means that we will not kill him if we capture him.
That being said, what exactly is the endgame plan? Well, now that everyone knows about Kony 2012, if this indeed is the year of “justice” for Joseph Kony, then I think NOW is the time that we as Christians we need to DEMAND from Invisible Children that they advocate that the Death Penalty is not an acceptable outcome of this quest to catch Joseph Kony. If we allow the Death Penalty to be an option for Joseph Kony then we have simply embarked on a crusade of “awareness” under the guise of justice in order to teach our children how to be more like our enemy. I simply am not in favor of that.
Often times it matters as much how we go about addressing a problem as it does that we are addressing it.
So, if you agree with this basic anti-death premise and you want to make a difference – call, write, or email Invisible Children and tell them that you don’t think that the Death Penalty is an acceptable outcome for Joseph Kony.
Tweet your concern at #Life4Kony
Don’t sit idly by. Copy this post in part or in full and PASS IT ALONG.
You can contact Invisible Children by:
General Phone: 619-562-2799
General Fax: 619-660-0689
Snail Mail: Invisible Children Inc. 1620 5th Ave, Suite 400 San Diego, CA 92101
Your email/letter can be as simple as this:
Dear Invisible Children,
I support bringing Joseph Kony to justice for his crimes. As Christians we should NOT support an outcome of death by execution for this man. Please make this position clear in your campaign. The Death penalty is not a Christian Option.
Type Your Name Here
As of 3/12/12 Invisible Children has opened up a hashtag on Twitter just for questions!
If enough people ask they will have to answer. I would encourage you to tweet them the following question until we get an answer.
@invisible #askicanything Will Invisible Children advocate against Kony’s execution before/when caught? Thx! tinyurl.com/6udzr7d