Sam Childers Should be Punched. Repeatedly.

How on earth I missed this until today, I don’t know, but holy cow, this man is batshit insane:

Why should you care? 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.

I suggest reading the whole article (as well as several that it links to) for the whole picture.  Basically, this former Hells Angel biker found Jesus, came to South Sudan to save people, and ended up opening an orphanage while reportedly taking up arms (with the SPLA? the fuck?!) against the LRA, “saving” child soldiers, and vowing to personally kill Kony.

Putting aside the debate about how to do good aid work, this is one of the dumbest, most reckless hairbrained schemes I’ve ever heard.  And worse, the media seems to be lapping it up!!  WTF!?! There’s even a movie coming out about his life?? And a reality series (which might be self produced, I can’t really tell)?!?  There are not enough exclamation marks in the world for how I’m feeling.

I honestly don’t know where to start first, because I’m so mindbogglingly aghast.  The biggest issue here, identified by many other bloggers before me, is the fact that Sam Childers, by acting as a “humanitarian” and simultaneously as a gun-toting militia man, is putting at risk the lives of every aid worker by perpetuating the idea in the minds of people around the world that humanitarian workers are also mercenaries.

Like there wasn’t enough damage done to humanitarian work with the revelation recently of the fake vaccines scandal.

When reading through his website’s blog (which I refuse to link to here), an especially infuriating part states:

“As we neared Nimule we began to relax but we weren’t out of danger yet.  We rounded a corner and hurtled in a tribal clash between the Dinka and Madi tribes.  4,000 fighters, armed with pangas (machetes), rudimentary bows, spears and clubs, stormed back and forth looking for someone to fight.  In amongst the drunks I saw an elderly man poised for battle and a young woman with a bow in her hand and a baby slung across her back.  As the situation escalated we had no choice but to lock and load.  Shots were fired and we drove through the screaming remnants of the volatile mob.  Luckily, no one was killed. “

AGGGGHHHHHH.  Tribal violence in South Sudan is a complicated clusterfuck, to say the least. However, most of the violence is in between the tribes. The traditions of violence and cattle raiding go back generations, and are a tragedy for sure, but because of their specific tribal-focused aims, they tend to not focus on targeting humanitarians.  And then this idiot claims he has “no choice” but to go blazing into the middle of a mob? I’m intrigued as to where the Dinka and Madi tribes intersect near Nimule (to my knowledge that’s not a Dinka area (UPDATED: In another post I corrected this – the area is a Madi area historically, but has a large Dinka IDP population)). I also have doubts that they “rounded a corner” and stumbled into 4,000 people, but that’s probably just shitty writing and hyperbole. No big deal.

I’m also interested where he’s fighting the LRA these days and saving child soldiers. While it’s true the the LRA used to plague the areas surrounding Nimule and northern Uganda, the group has migrated much more towards the DRC and CAR.  His website claims:

“The infamous Lord’s Resistance Army also continue to raid the western regions of Southern Sudan, capturing, enslaving and torturing children who are forced to repeat the cycle of violence as child soldiers. As long as these threats exist, the Machine Gun Preacher will continue to lead the SPLA deep into enemy territory and fight to bring the children home.”

Which makes it sound like now he’s crossing the borders of places near Ezo and Source Yubu (which is an entirely different part of South Sudan, and I find it hard to believe he’s been able to cultivate meaningful relationships with each of these communities, particularly if he doesn’t speak any arabic or tribal language) to go and attack people and “bring the children home.”  Which is AWESOME. Except by AWESOME, I mean horrifying.  Don’t get me wrong, the LRA is an awful group and Kony is an egotistical maniacal nutjob, but somehow I think that some arrogant American “leading” the SPLA across borders might cause just a touch of international outrage. Which is why I, like many others, have doubts as to the full truths of his claims.

I expected to find that other people were just as horrified as myself. Instead most of the comments on his blog regale him as a hero doing God’s work and saving children/africa.  And one especially terrifying post remarks,

DF: says:  I have been trying to get in touch with you. I will be out of the country for one month, and immediately afterwards, I am prepared to fly to Africa and rescue children. I am wanting very much to bend your ear and will travel wherever necessary.

Thank you,”

No.   No. NO.

STOP IT.   That. Does. Not. HELP.  You fucking moron. Also, you’re going to go to “Africa”?  Where? South Sudan? Sierra Leone? Zanzibar?  Or you’re just going to cover all 11.7 million square miles of the continent and “rescue” all the children (I assume you mean child soldiers)?  What are you doing with them afterwards – reuniting them with their families? Putting them into orphanages (even if they have families)?  Getting them mental health counseling? Sending them to school? Give them jobs?  Thank god there are people like you who are so eager to rush into places you have no cultural or historical awareness of and rescue poor children.

It’s also ironic that Sam claims to work with the SPLA to free child soldiers since the army had its very own child soldier branch (the Red Army).

Ok, I’ll stop now. Sorry to get all serious, but this was just too much. I promise I’ll return to regularly scheduled programming, including happy MS Paint pictures and stories about mug cakes (which I totally made again without burning today and it was DELISH) soon.

But in the meantime, I’ll leave you with wise words from Tales from the Hood:

“And I have just four words for Sam Childers:

Total. F-cking. Douche. Nozzle.”

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32 responses to “Sam Childers Should be Punched. Repeatedly.

  1. I enjoyed this posting thoroughly. Thank you!

  2. John Palmkvistt

    This yutz is probably just a tool for who ever is funding him. Is there any credible information on where he gets the resources for this adventure? Is he independently wealthy? Is the money from his church? Maybe it’s from the media organizations who want to publish his book and produce his reality TV show. Or is he sucking from the same UN tit as everybody else?

    He seems like kind of a Greg Mortenson type, only with a different audience demographic.

    • JP: His website claims that he does fundraising completely independently. From what I can tell, he does a lot of outreach through his religious networks (which is not to say that religious organizations/donations are not a good source of aid funds or good aid organizations, because many are, but there’s also a lot of funds that are channeled through religious (and other) networks from people who want to “do good” and pay for shitty DIY aid like this horrifying piece of crap). He gets no donor funding (thank god… if he was being funded to do this by DFID or CIDA or something we’d have an even worse disaster on our hands). But I was wondering if he’s getting any funds from the movie, especially since it appears to be based on his *shudder* autobiography. I assume he was paid for the rights to that, but that’s probably personal funds and I don’t think he’d necessarily use that towards his efforts.

      As comparing him to Mortenson, I’ll defer to MB’s comment on TFTH’s post: “I don’t think you can compare it to “three cups of tea” – say what you will about that one, I don’t remember reading anything about storing guns in orphanages and running around toting a machine gun.”

      (I had found something yesterday on the org’s financial reports, but I can’t seem to locate it today… will post the link though if I can locate it)

  3. Erin, nice post.

    I included links to all their IRS tax forms in my original post here: http://www.bdkeller.com/2011/08/who-is-sam-childers-conclusion/

    The funding is almost entirely donations according to the tax forms. No grants. They did raffle off a motorcycle once… He’s been interviewed by Pat Robertson on his TV show, promoted his book, done at least one cross-country speaking tour, etc. My impression is that most of the money is small donations from people who learn about his work during speaking tours at churches.

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  5. I’m loving all of the “philosophical” posts here.Thank God there are folks out there willing to take action while you all are sitting next to your lap-tops, driving your Prius’ and ordering Starbucks. So what the author is really saying is that we all should sit around and study the culture of a country and then sit around and think about what should be done so as to not hurt any one faction’s feelings. I for one applaud the bravery of a person who is willing to put themselves in harm’s way in order to save a child. Even if it’s just one child isn’t that worth something?

  6. TR,
    I have been to Uganda, specifically northern Uganda, many times. I also have many Sudanese friends in Southern Sudan. I speak from experience on the ground. I have formed partnerships and collaborated with local communities who are stakeholders in the success or failure of programs. In all my travels in the region, I’ve never felt that i was “in harm’s way”. I haven’t earned a dime or sought to make a career out of helping my friends in that part of the world. There are many people exploiting the situations in developing countries for their own agenda. Good intentions aren’t enough.

  7. Very useful post Erin. I am not an AID worker but have recently become interested in the subject (aid generally) and when I first saw this my immediate reaction was that it might be a positive spin to get people invoived – a kinda heart warming story…

    I feel quite ashamed at the stupidity of those intial thoughts, having read your blog (being considered by many quite an intelligent analyst on things generally). You have very clearly given enough analytical guidance to think through the enormous damage this could do to AID generally, and workers specifically.

    Thanks.

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  10. Hey Erin,
    Just a question… I’m confused where your frustrations lie. I understand the cultural aspects vastly differ in Africa and the issue may be just that various tribes are all enveloped in their own diplomatic squabbles which mean there are no “bad guys” here except the LRA… But I’m confused at why you’re showing such disrespect for someone doing a noble deed as freeing children from military roles they should have no part in?

    The last part concerning the comment someone made saying they want to join him… what’s wrong with that? If a person feels called to something, who are we to discourage them? No, covering 11million square miles of a continent is probably not in the realm of reality, but if one person can make a difference… I think the point is starting a ripple effect which is taking place… making a stand that it’s NOT okay to harbor child slaves and make them tools of war.

    To that end, it doesn’t matter which tribes are doing what. He’s been there more than enough times to understand the way things are down there, which makes me think…. If that’s so, it must be the reason why his missions are successful.

    In the end I guess I’m just looking for clarity. Not trying to slam on you, I don’t know you and I’m just learning more about this Machine Gun Preacher myself. I don’t see why anyone would be opposed to someone having the guts to go so far into another country and put his life repeatedly on the line to save children. Can you explain to me what you find wrong with this?

    • I agree with your comments and and a few others that support Sam. Anti Childres blogs are full of negative profanity, hate with not much substance. Sam is just a man with a conviction that goes beyond the armchair Christian. Wow, at least he follows his conviction with self sacrifice and action not hate filled blow gossip. I respect any man who goes for it w out fear. Lewis in Minneapolis

    • @ Jason Torres: I appreciate the humility with which you approached this question and the fact that you did not lash out in defense of Childers. I appreciate that you did not attack anyone in your comment. However, I just wanted to shed some light on this. Your assertion that Sam Childers’ “… been there more than enough times to understand the way things are down there” is very interesting to me. The truth is no one fully understands the dynamics of a place, even if they are fully engaged in the political, economic and cutural milieu of an area. I think it would be fair of me to say that if I visited your home twenty times, it still would not mean that I understand the dynamics of the place, especially, if like Mr. Childers, I did not even make an effort to understand those dynamics. However, what is most disturbing is Mr. Childers complete disregard for the rule of law. Countries on the continent have laws and actually do seek to enforce those laws. Childers’ vigilantism and flagrant disregard for those laws, shooting people he deems as LRA, without any burden of proof, due process or right to a fair trial is disturbing. Would you allow someone to come through your hometown and decide, according to their own judgment, who is and who isn’t guilty of crimes and then shoot them? Cheering him on because he says he was given a mission by God, is really no different from other people cheering the young Muslim kid on who decides God told him to blow up something…I am just asking you to check your assumptions and think about what you are saying from a different perspective.

      • Why sould we wait for the “law” to do something about this and then for what just to see this kony and his people run free like it has happend too many times before? No thanks i have two boys and i could never imagine them being in that situation and worse without me. If i was an perent living in africa i would pray for him to save my boys. If you dont like the way he saves these poor helpless childen why dont you leave your life as you know it today and save some lives tomorrow?

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  13. You really have to think from the perspective of a Sudanese to really understand things. If violence was never necessary, countries need not have military forces. The question is just how much violence is necessary and that really can never be answered (unless outrightly wrong). We can only hope to see the results as the years go by.

  14. Christians and Catholics have killed for centuries.Let him do what he wants to do and how he wants to do it! Im an African American,who appreciates the fact he’s risking his life for something he believes that it is his calling.Come on people,get over your

  15. let the man walk his talk after all he saved hundreds if not thousands already…i disagree totally with his methods for i know in the book says “vengeance is God’s” not for us men. is MGP more merciful than our God?? is it OK for good men to do nothing while evil men stares back at you…i symphatize with his humanity sometimes you just cant take it anymore and do what’s needed at all cost…i believe come judgement day we’ll answer for all the things we’ve done and did not do…

  16. I have been amused reading a lot of your posts, presumably most of you have never even seen Africa, some of you seem to have researched your facts, but let me assure you, as much as you may criticise Childers and His facts, some of what you read may also not be as it seems! I have lived all over Africa most of my life growing up, my father worked in diamond mining and my family travelled with him from county to country, and believe me when i say i have seen some shit. I have seen and been in the middle of several civil wars, from Angola when it was meant to have been over, Mozambique, to Congo and Rwanda and seen things that would keep you up at night and never let you have a good nights sleep for the rest of your life. Now, while i have never really been to Sudan much or seen any trouble there to speak of, the one thing i can assure you of is that Africa as a continent is a troubled place, and as fast as some may fix a problem, another bunch fuck it up, its the way most of them are. Western ways have come so fast to tribal people who haven’t quite really adapted like the rest of us have and, unlike in traditional older ways, where they may have fought and killed each other,for simple land perhaps, they now have mass murdering “tools” to do it with. You may all think Childers is full of crap, but you will find that probably most of what he says is true. Africa is a beautiful place but in some regions the people are mostly the problem, and most of the time there is shit going on that you will never even hear of, massacres that are never told of to the outside world because, ultimately, they are still a bunch of spear chuckers that operate and behave like they are in the dark ages. I was born in Southern Africa and travelled most of Africa until i was a young man, and believe me when i tell you….it is not at all as it seems. Childers is doing what all of you self righteous people would love too but don’t have the fucking stones to do. Until you get of your fat ass, live rough and dirty, never knowing if whether anything that flies, crawls or squats in the mud is out to kill you, perhaps you should all have a little respect and honour for the person that does. Ultimately, the man has been responsible for more than every single one of you will probably ever achieve in your life times, and you should be paying homage to him for his inspiring work and not tearing him down. Nobody simply wakes up one morning and decides to put themselves in the arsehole end of the world just cause they feel like it, and if Childers says its cause God gave him a sign, well fuck me perhaps he did. I don’t see any of you that have written rubbish comments on here with anything remotely close to what’s on his resume. On that note, i don’t know the man from Adam, but having seen a lot of the turmoil, corruption, pain and war in parts of Africa…..i have nothing but respect for the man and his family for all they have endured when they bloody well didn’t have too. Peace Childers, keep fighting the good fight…

    • I have only recently started to learn about Childers and have yet to form an opinion about this man. Having said that, I have to agree with most of what Anthony has said. It’s always easy to judge others in the creature comforts of our comfortable cozy lives. It SEEMS to me that Sam Childers has the guts to stand for what he believes in, not with words, but with action (right or wrong). I believe people who are hypercritical of others, do so because they feel lacking in their own lives. If anything, Childers should at least be given credit for standing up for his convictions despite heavy criticism from armchair warriors, if even if he MAY be wrong. But, I’m only speaking with my limited experience as a disabled combat veteran. :-)

      • I do believe it is hard for normal people to understand the metal it takes to become a soldier. Fear grips you every moment and you find yourself praying to stay alive just another moment. Without sounding foolish, that is what separates the men from the boys, the men who chose to live that life, and the ones who criticise them for it. There can be many reasons why a person chooses a life of risk and violence as a means to the greater good, and the courage to act when diplomacy and all else fails, those are the traits of a true hero. Childers may be doing what he is doing because he has seen an injustice that he cant ignore, Jason lost a piece of himself in the pursuit of a calling not followed by many, and as one vet to another, i salute you, sempre fi.

  17. Malia Grantley

    I have children & as a parent it breaks my heart to read & see what is happening to those children in Uganda, I guess all I can say is that for Sam Childers its about the children who didnt have a choice of when & where to be born. I watched the movie with my husband & got curious so did a little looksie into Sam Childers on the net & reveiwed his book, very interesting man. I think Sam Childers is doing what he thinks is right, the way he thinks is right & from what I gather he didnt sit down & contemplate all of the other problems that could arise with what he is doing because he is just doing it. I see everyone’s point of view however the questions I ask is – What is the correct way of dealing with what is happening to those children? Sam Childers is dealing with it the way he thinks is right, for some its the wrong way for others its the right way however how would you deal with it if you were in his position & would your way be the right way? Its human nature to pass opinion & according to alot of religions this is free will, Sam Childers is exercising that free will, be it wrong or right it is his free will & we in turn are exercising ours by passing opinion. I personally commend him as at the end of the day what some view as right others view as wrong & as a parent I side with the lot who thinks he is doing the right thing as like I wrote in the beginning its about the children, isnt that worth taking a stand for?

  18. What is interesting is that the authors response to what he sees. The author hates that Sam Childers is using violence to do what Sam thinks is right and the author says Sam should be punched. “Stop hitting your brother or I am gonna slap you!” Hmm.
    But even if the author is just expressing frustration and never would hit Sam, the truly scary fact is that people in the US have been so conditioned by the mass media for so many years that even when such a person is truly sincere and feels in his heart of hearts that he is following God or the best good he knows he turns to violence to solve the problem. The author decries the insanity of calling yourself a humanitarian and yet you are using a gun! HELLO ANY ONE AWAKE, IS THE LIGHT ON IN SIDE YOUR MIND? AMERICANS ACTUALLY BELIEVE THAT THE US MILITARY PERFORMS “HUMANITARIAN MISSIONS!!”
    They believe that the US military went to Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, and soon into Africa for humanitarian reasons. They actually believe our government agency which carry guns, DEA, FBI, CIA, ATF, ETC ETC have something to do with truth, justice and the “American way”. Well wake up and smell the reality. Whatever tens of thousands of dollars Sam Childers may be spending to do what he is doing the US government is spending trillions and a hell of a lot more evil is pouring forth from their works than from anything Sam Childers will ever do.

  19. obviously you all are idiots! your own country in the united states of america do things to this extent everyday. and if you can’t see it your blind! i was a combat controller in the united states air force,, for you all that don’t know what that is- the special operations. and if you think that there is not killing for good and evil then i would suggest getting the hell out of america. all these liberals push for less violence and world peace, which would be nice. however, not feasable, because it’s just not going to happen. so if your so arrogant to blasphemy the dude you might as well actually look at what your own country does for you to sit on your ass and be able to “blog” about these things. i give props to the guy and hope he can continue to make a difference. killing one to save a hunndred? or just let them all die? i’ll kill the one. and hope you idiots write about me next. God bless!

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  21. After watching the movie, reading a little about Sam Childers & also recently starting work as a fundraiser for the charity Save The Children, I have to say from what I can tell, most of the negative views on this blog are people who condemn Sam & say he’s doing the wrong thing… This is absolutely rediculous, since in the main, what he’s doing is rescuing innocent kids from a life of killing & slavery & breaking a cycle for those children he reaches – is it not enough that 8 million kids die every year before the age of 5 from easily treatable diseases alone?

    I notice that most of these (for want of a better word, let’s call them) idiots have a problem with 2 main points: 1 – Sam is killing people who he suspects are PLA, sometimes with no credible proof & 2 – he may be making matters worse in an unstable part of the world… Well, for 1 – as christians believe, when he meets his maker, he alone will have to answer for the wrong that he’s done in his life & if he can’t be forgiven for these sins, maybe Childers is prepared to be condemned to the depths of h*** for eternity. Also, I’m pretty sure they would have some idea of who the PLA are before they attack, maybe by being fed certain information, or having spotters at bases etc… 2 – since this evil Kony bastard has been doing his nasty work for a while without much real resistance before Sam got involved, there should be more people like childers’, since who else is gonna risk their own live’s to try to save these kids??……

    All there is left to say from me now is, I very much hope that soon, we might just see this scum of the earth Kony suffer the same fate as we did with the likes of Sadaam, Bin Laden & Gadaafi & the person who ends his life really should be named a hero. By the way, anyone else see a connection with these three heinous individuals?… Muslim, Muslim, African (& I’m honestly no racist, just pointing out my obsevation that these types generally place little value in peoples live’s)

    Dave, England

  22. Reading the comments I’ve seen ups and downs quite a lot. No offence, but to criticise a man’s work in an active war zone from a country which did not see an act of war decades is fairly amusing to me.

    For my part, it takes a man to make a change, but takes the world to keep that change. The US waged series of wars around the world even without his allies consent but had no time and no money to take up the cup where it was in dire need.

    Hero or liar, Sam Childers takes his role, whoever he thinks has assigned it to him and by the way he thinks it is right to do it. I’m not here to judge over the matter but believe me, saving innocent lives is not God’s job. It is ours. Every single day you wake up in your comfortable life cursing about a traffic jam, or looking at that well fed exterior watching you in the mirror just think. Think about those who right now starving to death or running for their lives in the middle of fucking nowhere.
    Taking a life isn’t that easy even if you have to do to protect another. But as a very bold man said; All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.
    It’s not the question to pull the trigger. The question is; Will you?

  23. ohh dear.
    Why some people think they have earned the rights to criticize, judge and hold moral superiority over other because they might go to church every Sunday and say their prayers. Maybe they donate $10 a month to green peace, or maybe they have spent many an hour looking things up on the internet or in some cases maybe even read a book!! In the case of Sam Childers , I will not judge him for his methods, I don’t care where he gets the money to do what has to be done. Sudan is a part of the world that could never be understood by western culture. We go about our lives and complain about the most stupid things. For us a bad day could be the phone bill arrives, we are late for work and the next doors dog has crapped on our front lawn again. In a place like Sudan a bad day could consist of watching your father have his head cut off, your mother set on fire, your sister gang raped and having your own body mutilated.
    So the next time you want to speak out about an extraordinary person in a extraordinary situation, just think to yourself first.
    Is it an opinion created by someone who doesn’t know any better, or is it fact created by first hand knowledge and not just what you read.

  24. Am so sorry for psychopaths who have never seen such traumatizing situations and hence erroneously judge those who feel they can do something. Before LRA came to my district I never bothered about its atrocities. Not even newspapers triggered any sympathy in me. My district is just about 300Km from where the LRA used to reach. It was not until we heard they were only about 20Km away from our school that I really felt what it all meant to be at the breath of this ruthless psychopath called Kony. Today it is them, tomorrow it will be you. Better shut up and take care of your arse you psychopath!!

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