In fact, Museveni already had Family contacts in Uganda.
In 2010’s “C Street,” journalist Jeff Sharlet’s second book about The Family, he cites archival records showing that a now-retired Family old-timer named Bob Hunter had known Museveni since before he seized power. Sharlet writes:
“When Musevni came to power, Hunter says now, he was seen as a ‘left-wing fanatic.’ … [Hunter] investigated Museveni’s faith directly. He found it in need of repair.”
Hunter taught Museveni how to work Congress. Museveni began to visit Washington, and “made Christianity a regular part of his speeches, stoking the fires of what became a world-famous evangelical revival.”
“When the [U.S.] budgets came he had this big bump,” Hunter told Sharlet about Museveni’s success in Washington.
That was the Museveni who connected and began working with the Timmis family. When Timmis’s son got lonely, Coe sent another young guy to keep him company. The two met and became friends with another young man, Tim Kreutter, working with a ministry in northern Uganda.
The three white Christian men began pondering how to help the country they loved. With Uganda ravaged by AIDS and war, they at first considered building orphanages. Ultimately, though, they reached the same conclusion about Uganda that Hunter had reached about Museveni.
Even more than orphanages, Uganda needed “Godly leaders,” the three decided, according to an interview Timmis’s son gave in 2012.
The idea: Not to convert grown adults to the three men’s view of Christianity, but instill Jesus in children. Offer free education, and include their Jesus in the bargain. Even to Muslims.
The trio asked Timmis to buy them 2.5 square miles of land two hours north of Kampala. That’s where Cornerstone began.
Kreutter, Timmis writes, “became the director of the work in Uganda.” With millions of dollars flowing – not necessarily legally – from The Family and wealthy U.S. backers, Cornerstone thrived and grew.
And Timmis expanded his coterie of Coe relationships back in the U.S.
There was Ronnie Cameron, the GOP megadonor (and past guest at the Trump White House) who has funded The Family and sat on its board. And fought organized labor at his poultry factories. Timmis calls him a “dear friend.”
Then there was the young man Coe sent for Timmis to disciple for two years. “Every day he would sit at a table in the corner of my office as I went about my daily duties,” Timmis wrote. “I asked some dear friends if he could live with them.”
Today, that young man is Rep. John Moolenaar (R-MI), Family insider and a mainstay of the National Prayer Breakfast.
And Kreutter’s Cornerstone students? The Ave Herald, the Florida newspaper that interviewed Timmis’s son, took inventory:
The former students are now assuming key roles in Ugandan society: Two graduates have become involved in national parliament; three are young university professors, two are governors of provinces. Others have gone into businesses or work for NGO’s; some have gone into ministry, and one is a Catholic seminarian – all salting African society with the values that undergirded their years at Cornerstone, as Mr. Timmis and his friends had envisioned.
That was written in 2012. Today, Cornerstone has its own network of alumni and personnel, some of whom get to boost their power at home with trips to Washington, where, courtesy of The Family, they can rub elbows and bring home selfies with powerful American politicians at the National Prayer Breakfast.
And Kreutter didn’t confine himself to Cornerstone. Just as Family founder Abram Vereide – the anti-union organizer – had mentored Family leader Doug Coe, who then mentored Kreutter, Kreutter, in turn, mentored young Ugandans.
One of them, David Bahati, was elected to Uganda’s parliament, where in 2009 he introduced a bill calling for the government to kill people for some sex acts.
See: ‘The Family’ Tied – Again – to Anti-LGBTQ+ Death Penalty Bill
It’s not clear whether Kreutter ever built any orphanages, but he did help start Uganda’s own National Prayer Breakfast. And helped initiate the country’s parliamentary prayer meetings – where the seeds of Bahati’s Anti-Homosexuality Bill, death penalty and all, first took root.
See: The Genesis of Uganda’s “Kill the Gays” Bill
Cornerstone – with offshoots and affiliates like Youth Corps and the Africa Youth Leadership Forum – are still in Kreutter’s orbit; still tied – as far as we know – to the National Prayer Breakfast in Washington. And still transforming Uganda.
Kreutter shared some insights about that transformation in a 2016 Cornerstone newsletter. Here’s what he wrote:
As we seek to share and live out the message of the king and kingdom, there will be change. But it’s largely a silent revolution – like the four metaphors that Jesus used for how his movement would spread: the yeast, the salt, the light and the good seed sown in with the bad – they all do their work quietly and almost imperceptibly. It first begins within us – with personal transformation – but it’s meant to spread. The allegiance to Jesus and his ways is going to bring about social and political change until: …one day “every knee will bow, every tongue confess.’ In other words, one day, there will be the recognition that the message and ways of Jesus are supreme.”
In Uganda, that day is today.
Jonathan Larsen is TYT’s managing editor. You can find him on Twitter @JTLarsen.