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 Tough Love: The Childers Crusade

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Dallas
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PostSubject: Tough Love: The Childers Crusade   Wed Oct 06, 2010 12:52 am

http://www.stlmag.com/Blogs/SLM-Daily/October-2010/Tough-Love-The-Childers-Crusade/


Tough Love: The Childers Crusade


The Rev. Sam Childers is a former Hells Angel who became a minister and, more improbably, a paramilitary commander. He left his home in Pennsylvania 14 years ago, after his first mission to Uganda, when he discovered evidence of the conflict engulfing the region: the dismembered body of a young child left on the roadside. He’s since dedicated his life to pursuing the rebel group responsible for that killing and thousands of others like it. It’s a quest that has propelled Childers, the self-styled “Machine Gun Preacher,” through Uganda, Sudan, and the Congo to track down Lord’s Resistance Army rebels and their leader, Joseph Kony.

Today, Childers’ charity, Angels of East Africa, runs one of the largest orphanages in Uganda. It also seeks armed confrontation with the insurgents. Childers works with the Sudan People’s Liberation Army and regularly leads about 40 soldiers on patrols and combat operations. In addition, he spends several months each year traveling through the United States, drumming up support for his organization. Next summer, a feature film based on his book, Another Man’s War, will be released starring actor Gerard Butler.

Childers will appear locally at Edgemont Bible Church (5100 N. Illinois, Fairview Heights, Ill., 618-277-3990, edgemontbiblechurch.org) this Sunday, October 10, from 10 a.m. to noon.


What’s life like on a daily basis for the people of Uganda and Sudan?

You’re living in a war—they’ve been in a war zone for 22 years. The average life in Sudan for a child in the bush: They eat once a day, never until they’re satisfied, it’s just enough to survive. They don’t go to school. They don’t have a bed. They sleep in a mud tuku, on a mud floor on a grass mat. Usually, there will be one blanket to five children or so.

What are conditions like for the kids at your orphanage?

It’s a lot better. They get three meals a day, they go to school, they’ve got safety. They’re in an orphanage that has armed guards, at least 20 soldiers. There hasn’t been anyone killed in my direct area in two years. We have two wells that have very good water. We have a clinic, and we have a nurse hired three days a week. But with as many children as we have, we’re always lacking something.

You’ve been fighting Joseph Kony and the LRA rebel group for many years. Does Kony know who you are?

Oh, yeah. I’ve invited him out to dinner and everything, but he doesn’t want to meet with me. You know, his soldiers have tried to attack my orphanage several times. They’ve tried to assassinate me. They’ve ambushed me over 10 times. He’s a coward. Anyone that cuts the arms and legs and lips off of little children, they’re cowards. For a while, he was claiming to be Christian and a messiah; now he’s claiming to be Muslim. He’ll force kids to kill people from their family—once a child kills a family member, there’s nothing else they could do worse than that. That literally makes them more of a killer than a trained soldier.

In regards to your faith, is this a case of the ends justifying the means—that in order to affect life positively for hundreds of people, you must resort to violence?

I’ve stopped caring what people thought of me a long time ago. I’m out on a mission, I’m out to save children. I will do whatever I have to do... Not just in Sudan, but anywhere in this world. Some people try to say I’m a radical Christian—that is not true. I am a freedom fighter. I believe that every man and woman has the right to choose who they want to serve, if they want to serve Allah, Buddha, or Christ. If you don’t want to believe at all, that’s fine. I fight for that freedom, that everyone can choose. And if you’re going to do something, you gotta do it now. It’s not about one person giving a lot; it’s about a lot of people doing a little.



There’s a movie about your life coming out soon that’s directed by Marc Forster and stars Gerard Butler, who will be playing you. Did you have much input in the making of the movie?

Gerard Butler stayed at my house in Pennsylvania for about a week. I hung out with him in L.A. a few times, and on the movie sets in Detroit. I hung out with him in South Africa for a few days, too, so he could get the character a little bit. And I worked a lot with the screenwriter, Jason Keller... But you gotta remember: He’s just acting. He’s just trying his best to portray me, okay? So he’s never gonna do that, no matter how good he is.

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LegoJulie
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PostSubject: Re: Tough Love: The Childers Crusade   Wed Oct 06, 2010 4:03 am

Sam Childers wrote:
But you gotta remember: He’s just acting. He’s just trying his best to portray me, okay? So he’s never gonna do that, no matter how good he is.
Does this mean GB does not portray SC accurately enough? What we are going to see in the film is not what SC is like? That's not how he behaves?

Is that an early disclaimer? So SC can say the violence or vulgarity isn't like him? So he can pick and choose to say which parts are like him and which are not?

I heard him say something like that in a video interview. Is it an identity crisis? Or Disclaimer?
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greyeyegoddess
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PostSubject: Re: Tough Love: The Childers Crusade   Wed Oct 06, 2010 8:10 pm

Hmmm...I don't know what it is.

I always think, when someone comes up to someone and asks if they can make a film about them, the concept is inviting, but when you really see how other people see you, it's really different.
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DonnaKat
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PostSubject: Re: Tough Love: The Childers Crusade   Wed Oct 06, 2010 9:54 pm

I'm not sure how'd I feel if someone were portraying me. I'd probably be all like, "I don't act like that", etc.
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greyeyegoddess
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PostSubject: Re: Tough Love: The Childers Crusade   Wed Oct 06, 2010 11:14 pm

Right...and of course Hollywood exaggerates everything.
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LegoJulie
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PostSubject: Re: Tough Love: The Childers Crusade   Thu Oct 07, 2010 5:40 am

I understand that how we see ourselves is not the same as how others do. Whose point-of-view are they using to portray Sam Childers? Since SC seems dissatisfied about GB's portrayal I'm guessing they're not using SC's view of himself. Is it a sum of interviews of people who knew SC? Is it an outsider's personal observation? Knowing who wrote SC's character for the film is important because everyone sees things differently.

GB is stuck between what he has learned about SC and what's in the script. I'm already feeling sorry for GB for any future criticism of his portral of SC, by SC. I wonder how bad his comments are going to be given that he's already making disclaimers.

SC's been on set during filming. If he saw something that was not right, why didn't he tell them and had it fixed then and there?
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greyeyegoddess
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PostSubject: Re: Tough Love: The Childers Crusade   Thu Oct 07, 2010 8:14 pm

They may have spoken to him about what he thought, but that doesn't always happen. When someone buys the rights to make a film, they don't always go back to the writer to clarify, I've recently learned. Just because you are there, doesn't mean they will look to your advice.

It sounds like they already talked to Sam before filming. It was a very nice thing for Gman to go and visit the guy before filming. That doesn't always happen with actors. Some like to stay away from the person in order to come up with their own take on a character.

Then there's that union crap.
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Dallas
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PostSubject: Re: Tough Love: The Childers Crusade   Thu Oct 07, 2010 9:47 pm

LegoJulie wrote:
Sam Childers wrote:
But you gotta remember: He’s just acting. He’s just trying his best to portray me, okay? So he’s never gonna do that, no matter how good he is.

Is that an early disclaimer? So SC can say the violence or vulgarity isn't like him? So he can pick and choose to say which parts are like him and which are not?


I don't think so. I've read his book and Sam doesn't sugar coat his past. He was not a good person, and he owns it.


I don't know what to think about the quote. I kind of wonder if all of the question (or the flow of the conversation) was not included in the article and that is why the answer seems a little odd.

It almost reads as though he is defending Gerry's acting and the film's efforts to portray his life.(?)
The interviewer asks if he had input and he gives examples of how they attempted to research his life etc. but then his answer seems to indicate that maybe he thinks a movie and Gerry's performance will never be able to accurately reflect how he was (and is) as a person, what he has experienced, and the reality of the current situation in the Sudan.
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