Brett Keller asks Who is Sam Childers?
At first, I said to myself: Who cares?
But I do like Keller’s stuff, so I read on:
He goes by many names, Reverend Sam and the “Machine Gun Preacher” amongst them. If you haven’t heard much from Sam Childers, you will soon. To date he’s been featured in a few mainstream publications, but most of his exposure has come from forays into Christian media outlets and cross-country speaking tours of churches. In 2009 he published his memoir, Another Man’s War. But Childers is about to become much better known: his life story is being made into a movie titled Machine Gun Preacher. It hits the big screen this September, starring Gerard Butler (300) and directed by Oscar-winner Marc Forster (Monster’s Ball, Quantum of Solace).
In answer to my question, why should you care, Keller says:
If you’re concerned about Africa (especially the newly independent South Sudan), neutrality and humanitarianism, or how small charities sometimes make it big on dubious stories, Childers is a scary character. By his own admission Sam Childers is a Christian and a savior to hundreds of children, as well as a small-time arms-dealer and a killer. And, as far as I can tell, he’s a self-aggrandizing liar who chronically exaggerates his own stories and has been denounced by many, including the rebel group of which he claimed to be a commander.
The impending Hollywood celebration and promotion of Childers has Keller concerned, so he is going after his claims — and the dangerous implications of making him a heroic figure.
Keller has broken his examination of the Machine Gun Preacher into two parts, the link above being the first in a five-part series. Or you can read Keller’s whole treatise here.
It’s fascinating, and disturbing.