BORDERLESS WITH BROOKLYN: Preacher with a gun endangers aid work efforts

By: Brooklyn Middleton / Assistant Opinion Editor 

Sam Childers’ life as a drug-dealing loser turned born again, gun-carrying Christian preacher rescuing Sudanese orphans from peril sounds too good to be true—and it is.

By: Brooklyn Middleton / Assistant Opinion Editor

Brooklyn Middleton / Assistant Opinion Editor

Machine Gun Preacher, the movie portraying his life that was released on Sept. 23, is heavy on the drama and violence, but light on the facts.

This is expected from Hollywood, of course, but the problem is Childers’ life is real and so is the danger he is putting humanitarians and aid workers in.

A brief history of Childers and the crusade he is on is relevant. In 2001, in the town of Nimule in Southern Sudan, Childers opened the Shekinah Fellowship Children’s Village.  The creation of an orphanage in a war ravaged region in itself is commendable.  However, Childers’ crusade to fight the Lord’s Resistance Army, a brutal rebel group led by Joseph Kony and his ultimate goal of killing Kony, is more flawed and problematic than it is heroic.

The Lord’s Resistance Army deserves no sympathy nor does Kony. The bloodsucking rebel group and its leader deserve to be tried for the war crimes that have been brought against them.

 

Brett Keller, a writer for Foreign Policy, refers to Childers as “The Machine Gun Menace.” He writes, “Childers’ underlying assumption seems to be that the region’s conflicts would end if the good guys could just kill enough bad guys.

This assumes not only that the good guy can magically discern who the bad guys are, but that killing—from attacking the LRA to selling weapons—doesn’t fuel future conflict.”

The notion that gratuitous, gross violence can be stopped by a preacher with zero education in international relations or knowledge about Sudanese politics is not just insane, it also threatens the lives of people who are capable of cultivating real change in the region.

Southern Sudan needs all of the help it can get, but its problems cannot be solved with Bibles or AK-47s.

“Borderless with Brooklyn” is a biweekly column examining world events.

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