Sam Childers has had quite the unique life, going from a drug addict and convict to a man of God who works tirelessly to rescue orphans in war-torn countries around the world. Dubbed the Machine Gun Preacher for his faith in both scripture and firearms while building orphanages in Sudan over the past decade, Childers has met with a surprising amount of resistance to his work. But resistance, he says, he can handle. How about the glare of the Hollywood spotlight? He now finds himself being portrayed by Gerard Butler on the big screen, with his past deeds, both good and bad, out for the world to see — and some of them, he tells Metro, never even happened.
Where did the nickname come from?
It started inside of Sudan when I first got there. When I started building the orphanage in 2000, I slept on a grass mat, and a lot of the village people would see me with a machine gun on one side and a bible on the other side, so they started saying, “This man is a preacher! But he has a machine gun!” So they started calling me the Machine Gun Preacher.
Do you take issue with anything presented in the film?
There was a few things that I did not do in that movie. There’s a few things that might have been amped up in the movie, like the action scenes, but there’s enough good that I’m satisfied. The one part in the movie where it had me robbing a drug dealer and saying a bad word to him because he’s a black man — I’ve never done that before. Have I robbed drug dealers? A lot of them. But I’ve never used that kind of language.
Did you have much say over what parts of your life ended up on screen?
No, not really. To be honest with you, they didn’t use the most violent parts of my life. If they were going to really cover my life, they would’ve had to make a series. There’s no way it could be done in one movie. And I hear there’s even talk of doing some other stuff, too. Maybe they will. It’s all in God’s hands.
Were you surprised by the resistance your work has met with?
You’ll be surprised. There’s a lot of people that [don’t agree with me]. I had a reporter yesterday totally against guns, and I asked him, “Well, your mother is across the street, she’s been raped by rebels. You have a gun right here. What would you do?” And he says, “I don’t know, I have to think about it.” I said, “You don’t love your mother.” Bottom line.