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Brett Keller debunks the story behind: Machine Gun Preacher

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.

Brett Keller

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.

 

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About Author

Tom Paulson

Tom Paulson is founder and lead journalist at Humanosphere. Prior to operating this online news site, he reported on science,  medicine, health policy, aid and development for the Seattle Post-Intelligencer. Contact him at tom[at]humanosphere.org or follow him on Twitter @tompaulson.