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The Machine Gun Preacher: The incarnation of a new American foreign policy?

12 Oct

The hype around that upcoming movie the Machine Gun Preacher has me more than a little worried about the type of fanfare that is being generated for what is effectively a story about vigilante justice and which in actuality is almost entirely fallacious.   The story centers around a man, who, after leading a rough life as a biker in the US, meets Jesus, is transformed and decides to go to northern Uganda and what is now South Sudan to take on the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA), rescuing children from the hands of terrible people. Sam Childers, aka the Machine Gun Preacher, is a self-styled hero who claims to be engaged in righting the wrongs that he claims everyone else is ignoring.  His apparently unilateral actions against the LRA in northern Uganda and newly formed South Sudan are the subject of the upcoming film, starring Gerard Butler of 300 fame.  The movie is based on Childers’ own book, Another Man’s War where he claims to be setting up an orphanage for children which he has rescued from the LRA.  He claims to have been in several firefights with the LRA and rescued scores of children.  The problem is that his claims are somewhat spurious.  Well, not just somewhat, almost completely.

Apart from the establishment of the orphanage at Nimule, many of the claims presented in the book, and now captured in the cinema, are easy to dispute.   For example, the MGP’s claim on his blog to have recently driven from Nimule to visit Darfur is highly suspect.  A reminder to the readers that the only mention of any specific places in this trip are Turalei and Nimule, both located well within South Sudan. How did he cross the river dividing the North and South? Where did he stay in South Darfur? How did he enjoy Buram? Or the hospitality in Nyala? To claim that he went to Darfur is nearly impossible and certainly sheds doubt on many of the details of his claims. As an aid-worker working for a charity in Southern Sudan (during the war, pre-2005); Southern Kordofan (2006-2007) and South Darfur (2009 – 2010), I find many of the details of his stories inaccurate, and somewhat sensationalized.  My doubts are certainly echoed by many other aid workers, journalists, the business community and even the SPLA whom he claims to have been working with.  The SPLA have gone so far as to issue a full statement disavowing any involvement with Childers. Many of the areas he describes in his book have very active aid and development operations as well as bustling local economies.  And yet he claims no one is there doing anything…

Admittedly, progress in addressing many of the systemic problems in what was Sudan and is now two countries, is slow and very frustrating.  I certainly can attest to that.  I can even identify with the feeling of wanting to pick up a gun and just shoot the “bad guys”.  However, importantly, being able to compartmentalize that urge as an emotional response is critical, and a quality of rational people. Without that self-control, the reality of the impact of such an action would likely lead only to further complications and cycles of violence.  That restraint is absolutely critical.  Let me clarify, the LRA do abhorrent things and have been a scourge in this area of the world for many years.  I am not saying that we shouldn’t be angered or moved by such things and that it shouldn’t make us want to find a way to bring justice to these children.  But one of two things is happening here:  Either 1) You have a man running around deciding who is and who is not LRA and killing them whenever he feels like it, or 2) a liar raising a lot of money in hopes that no one will challenge him on the veracity of his claims a la Greg Mortensen, but with an AK.

As disturbing as this sounds, it goes a step further. Regardless of whether or not his claims are spurious, he is being cheered, financed and encouraged by an ever-growing base of support. Most of these people claim to be evangelical Christians but I am not sure Jesus would have encouraged re-paying evil with evil…

Reading the comments on his blog, and looking at the reviews of his book, it would seem that a vocal segment of the population of the US is actually supportive of this type of unilateral, vigilante action.  In fact, I feel that it reflects a much larger and disturbing belief about the rule of law, human rights, the role of religion and the role of Americans in our modern world.  The train of thought must go something like this: “Well, we would never allow that in the US, but this is AFRICA and we don’t have to follow the rules because we are Americans and God gave us a vision to help these poor African kids.  People need to see love and stuff and we will give them both.”

Is this our new view of how our foreign policy should be enacted?  Is it ok to think that “at least he is doing something?” and it is ok because he believes God approves?  I would vehemently oppose such statements.

This lack of respect for due process and the rule of law is disturbing when one person does it. But it is terrifying when an entire segment of the population support him without asking questions about his facts.  Can you imagine if a Mexican crossed the border in to the States and decided that he would go after criminals indiscriminately with neither the support of the US law enforcement agencies nor the judicial system?  In fact, looking at the comments on his blog, it would seem that people are encouraging people like Sam Childers simply because he feels God wants him to. Is that not the very definition religious radicalism? Indoctrination? Fanaticism?

In the newly formed country of South Sudan, upholding the democratic values that we espouse in the US is just as important as feeding programs and orphanages.  Equally, upholding human rights and the rule of law is just as important in South Sudan as it is in Iowa, New York or anywhere else.  In theory, one of the key components of the US system of democracy is the right to a fair trial, no matter how guilty any one of us thinks that the person is.  A second important aspect is the enforcement of the rule of law for the betterment of society and progress, in a collective effort to avoid vigilantism.   This interpretation of justice as one of the tenets for a stable society is a key role of our foreign policy and many millions of US taxpayers’ dollars are spent on in modeling this in the form of USAID funded programming, in places like South Sudan.  Sure there are problems but it is a worthy goal, one worth protecting.

And yet our actions speak much louder than our words.  In practice, we have been quick to assassinate people in foreign countries based on algorithms and patterns of movements interpreted by drones.  We imprison people in Guantanamo for a decade without charge.  Whatever happened to fair trial? Where is the rational man?  Burden of proof? Facts? When we reduce guilt to the actions that any one of us interprets as threatening, wrong or sinful, we have eroded the very foundation of justice, let alone forgiveness, tolerance and peaceful coexistence.   Sam Childers and his supporters seem to embody this growing belief that the end justifies the means and that all things are ok to do, as long as God told you to.  I, for one, don’t believe that.

My message to Sam Childers is this: Time to come clean Sam. Whether you are truly a vigilante or just a liar, at least your followers as a group of Christians, would be compelled to forgive you.

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91 Comments

Posted by on October 12, 2011 in Uncategorized

 

91 responses to “The Machine Gun Preacher: The incarnation of a new American foreign policy?

  1. @SmallButScrappy

    October 13, 2011 at 13:54

    Well put, Bryan.

    On the forgiveness front, tho, I can imaging Sam being a bit concerned that his followers (not to mention his donors!!) might have taken his message and methods to heart and come after him with guns blazing!!

    I suppose it’s wrong that I quite enjoy that idea… 😉

     
    • bryanadkins

      October 15, 2011 at 09:40

      Thanks Robyn! I appreciate the support and the input – I think many people echo your response although thankfully choose not to resort to his same type of violence. Please feel free to spread the word.

       
      • James

        October 3, 2012 at 07:00

        My thought on the article is its pure rubbish. LOL Im just joking but you can not seriously say a mexican coming here in the US and being a vigilante is the same thing this man is doing asuming he is not lying. First of all because we are already an established and for lack of a better word “civilized” country. I am sure at one point in every modern countries history, that has due process and all those goodies, they had a lot of blood shed to get there. It comes down to as long as there are people blind enough to follow Kony and kill there will be a need for people like Childers. Pure and simple. Leave these type of people unchecked and before you know it instead of having to worry about a small army, you now have a continent united under somebody like Kony. Beside the thought that he may be a fraud how can you sit there and slam a man that is saving childrens lives. What do you think he should do just go and try talking with the LRA, sounds like a good plan, lets try to have a normal discussion with abnormal people that cut limbs off of children, rape children, murder entire villages etc etc etc. Im sure if we had just sat down with Hitler and told him hey dude you have to stop he would have had some huge revelation and been like wow you know what im sorry and there would have been no world war right? More like we may be speaking german right now. One last thing what makes him any different than any of the other SPLA soldiers? Except for the fact that his focus is on the children first then the war.

         
      • bryanadkins

        October 3, 2012 at 07:39

        Hi James, Thanks for your comments. Respectfully, I disagree with your assertion that this is “OK” in African countries, where it would be ludicrous in the US. In fact it is the rule of law (even if imperfectly applied) that is keeping many countries from imploding, the US included. Think about the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina and the lack of law and order that ensued. Not a pretty picture, is it? When people are desperate, they behave in ways that most of us find irreconcilable and reprehensible. Therefore, how can you advocate for someone to flaunt said law and decide who is and isn’t LRA on his own whims? The newly found freedoms inherent in the creation of South Sudan include the rule of law, even if it is young and sometimes fragile.
        Respecting the rule of law is an essential and fundamental aspect of development and when the rule of law is absent, anarchy, unilateral action and chaos can often fill the void. Applauding the choices of one man to pursue unilateral action punitive actions, even though the rule of law is in fact in place, is not helping the situation. I am not arguing that bloodshed hasn’t happened in other countries in order to achieve noble causes. It did, but rarely has much been accomplished by one person going in and killing people “willy nilly”. In fact, I believe you are grossly misinterpreting the post if that is the conclusion that you are drawing from the post.
        Additionally, you have asked “how can you sit there and slam a man that is saving childrens lives.” Many people in South Sudan are saving kids lives and following the law at the same time. Day in and day out, they are putting their own lives at risk and investing in the stability of the region so that people like Kony don’t have the power, the traction and the places to hide. They do so with far less guns, glamour and hopefully, ignorance, than Mr. Childers’ displays. I have no doubt that Mr. Childers is motivated to do good. However, there are a number of other, more effective avenues which to pursue.
        Lastly, your point about Hitler is strange: Sam Childers’ stated aim is to save children, not to pursue Kony himself. There are professional, mandated authorities, approved under international and national laws, that are pursuing Kony and they have had legitimate and significant successes, diminishing the geographic region of operation and control of Kony and his LRA by a dramatic margin. One of those mandated authorities is the SPLA. Many people know that some members of the SPLA have themselves committed atrocities as well. Nowhere have I indicated that I agree with what some members of the SPLA have done during the last 4 decades of war. However, the point is that this post is not about the SPLA, nor the LRA. It is about one man, taking the law into his own hands, and unilaterally deciding that people are guilty and therefore worthy of death. That is a dangerous thing to encourage and one that I can not support. It is absolutely stunning that many Americans support this type action, but balk at the notion of national healthcare…

         
  2. Jeremy

    October 14, 2011 at 12:40

    Interesting thoughts. The parallel that came to mind for me was Pakistan and the extensive use of drones. The US is not at war with Pakistan and never has been, so its strategy is exactly what you’re describing here – deciding at a distance who the bad guys are and taking unilateral action. Only a superpower could get away with it.

    By all accounts Sam is a charlatan, but I suspect his supporters will find a way of incorporating the criticism into the legend and carrying on regardless.

     
  3. bryanadkins

    October 15, 2011 at 09:42

    Thanks Jeremy. The unilateral action that seems acceptable to many Americans is the exact opposite of what Americans say that a democracy stands for. The drone attacks in Pakistan, Somalia and Yemen are great examples. Keep up the excellent work on your blog. Inspiring stuff.

     
  4. ryan

    October 15, 2011 at 09:44

    Bryan!

    How did you get to see this already? I’ve looked around but can’t find it anywhere.

     
    • bryanadkins

      October 15, 2011 at 09:46

      Hey Ryan – haven’t seen it. I watched the trailer and will not be going to see it.

       
  5. Heather Adkins

    October 17, 2011 at 12:22

    Well written, Bry! I agree with the idea of vigilanteism being against even the nature of Christ. I can’t claim to know much about Sudan, the geography or even the real underlying issues that have dominated the past and present condition of Sudan. It is disturbing when people stop thinking for themselves and stop asking questions because then they are open to all sorts of scams. I have not read his book or kept up on his work but it is easy to exploit a broken nation and to power arm a needy people. How is killing people in God’s name any different than those that we have spent so many billions of dollars hunting down in the al Qaeda?

     
    • bryanadkins

      October 28, 2011 at 17:07

      Thanks Heather – share this and other posts if you would like. I hope all is well with you.

       
  6. Aaron adkins

    October 24, 2011 at 20:48

    I have been to turalei. Lived there for about 2 months. Weird that he would mention nothing between nimule and turalei. And why the heck would he go from nimule to darfur via warrap state? If he was going to do it he should have gone to aweil, then to malualkon and then north into buram area. Of course no one is there and no one is doing anything for the poor people there. I mean, obviously i was just sitting on my ass for the last four years just enjoying the scenery.

     
  7. oneonethreeeight

    January 29, 2012 at 05:35

    Hey Bryan,
    I just read this and at least feel a little less ignorant. Thanks.
    Where are you based and what exactly do you do in life if you don’t mind me asking.

     
    • bryanadkins

      January 29, 2012 at 23:52

      Hi,
      Thanks for reading. I am Kenya based but am moving to Zambia in the near future. I work in international development and natural resource management. I hope all is well with you. I notice that your email is ZimbabweMovie? Are you from Zim?
      Cheers,
      Bryan

       
  8. oneonethreeeight

    January 30, 2012 at 04:13

    Ignore my recent reply on my blog, I see that you saw my comment here. Yes, I am from Zimbabwe, but am currently living in Cape Town and working in ‘film’ in various capacities.

     
  9. Rob

    April 21, 2012 at 06:23

    Why can people digest the fact that this guy is not perfect and he did not do perfect stuff in his past. He may be driven by guilt or an inner calling to save children. Why are we hung up on details whether he crossed a river or saw war. Why dont his critics get on a plane and see what he is doing…if you see kids without families being looked after his organisation is that no proof enough of a good work.
    This is Africa it is either war or aids that kids get orphaned in Sudan its likely war.

    Sam has a burning desire to change and save others from this terrible blight in africa. If he saves just one child he has done an amazing job.
    It seems many arm chair critics have watched too many war movies and see ‘heroes’ on their tv screens and if what sam does not match that then he is not a hero.

    Catch a wake up people and put you time, time is money, into something worthwhile!

     
    • bryanadkins

      May 28, 2012 at 05:53

      Thanks for your sentiments. Unfortunately, I don’t think that just allowing one man to run amok, essentially killing people whom he deems as responsible to be fair or just in any sense. He may save a few kids, yes, but he is also responsible to follow the law. It is unfair of you to claim that “This is Africa it is either war or aids that kids get orphaned in Sudan its likely war…”. Many parts of Africa are progressive, peaceful and very developed.

       
      • Kathleen Franklin

        June 26, 2012 at 14:55

        I just watched this movie and I can say without reservations that this man is doing what most people wouldn’t or couldn’t do. May the Lord our God see what a difference he has made and is making on a daily basis. I’m not sure who Bryan is but he sounds like a well to do Lawyer to me. Sometimes you have to do what God asks and not question His Methods. Can you tell me Bryan that you have done ANYTHING for these children? If not then shut up and look at the positive actions of this man and what He has given up to help these people. I will never understand why people who sit back and do nothing think it is OK to put down and judge those who are actually there. Didn’t your mother ever say ” If you don’t have anything nice to say then say nothing at all”.
        And with pride I sign my name,

        Kathleen Franklin
        Sanford, Fl

         
      • Josh Xin

        August 24, 2012 at 01:30

        Even if Sam Childer’s story is full of holes, I think you judge him too harshly. “Time to come clean?” What exactly do you mean by that? His statement of purpose seems to run accordingly to his actions. Do you suspect him of financial fraud(ie raising money for himself?) Or do you think he is doing this for fame? I don’t think the monetary argument is likely, as there are easier ways to sucker people to out of money as a preacher here in the States. The fame might be easier to believe, but if you’re fame hungry-why Africa? As you stated yourself, there is a common misconception of that continent being “backwards and savage”. I don’t believe Sam’s way is any indication of a new “American foreign policy”. America has always thrown its weight behind its own interests, and that has not changed one bit over the past 200 years. The “due process” of law that you talk about only exists when there is authority and power behind it. In a country like Sudan, where political instability and religious intolerance have been a fact of life since the end of WW2 that idea of “due process” is not very ingrained in the average person’s head. They respect power because that is an undeniable truth of life. And a preacher with a gun is a very good figure to play if you want to make a difference. I don’t mean to attack you personally(because I have no idea who you are), but what have you done for the country of Sudan to be able to judge this man?

         
    • stephen Smyth

      June 12, 2012 at 15:39

      I am with you Rob. If Uganda and South Somalia get extra attention because of a so called “Charletan” then so be it….as christians would say, “The Lord works in mysterious ways”…..the fact that he is even over there means he feels something, and is doing what he can to help….Naysayers….off your butts and climb in anytime 🙂

       
      • bryanadkins

        July 18, 2012 at 04:01

        Hi Rob – yes, publicity for these issues is important and I agree that I do in fact deeply respect his drive and passion for these children. However, approaching the issues with ignorance is not helpful and willfully disregarding laws and shooting people is not acceptable in any country. This is in South Sudan – not South Somalia.

         
    • Diesel

      September 22, 2012 at 07:50

      well said, armchair critics as you put it , are quite hasty to judge and Mr Adkins seems no different. I seen what Childers does in person and can only say i respect the man for saving these children. The lra (capitals are to much honour) are savages and animals and should be delt with accordingly. But hey, thats just my opinion.

      Sam ‘Diesel’Ruitenberg

       
      • bryanadkins

        September 28, 2012 at 03:03

        Thanks Sam for your comments. I agree, that saving children is a noble pursuit. Many others have saved hundreds of children in South Sudan, Northern Uganda, Sudan etc. etc. without shooting other people, or unilaterally deciding that someone is guilty or not. This is the point. Furthermore, I am not an armchair critic.

         
  10. Neil

    May 5, 2012 at 03:37

    Has he saved childrens life’s and offed a few LRA scumbags? I would say yes to both so good on him, those animals don’t deserve a fair trial!

     
    • bryanadkins

      May 28, 2012 at 05:55

      First of all, everyone deserves a fair trial – that is part of justice. Yes, offing a few “LRA scumbags” is probably not a horrible thing but who says he identified the right people? The burden of proof is simply not there. Moreover, the evidence is increasingly showing that he actually fabricated much of the story.

       
      • Kurt

        July 4, 2012 at 02:54

        Its war. Did we stop in the middle of battles to give Nazi’s a trial? No, we shot them and pushed on into Berlin. This is liberal garbage.

         
      • Richard Weiss

        June 22, 2016 at 03:01

        Justice… that’s my church legal, street, sweet, and otherwise. Way to go Sam.

         
      • bryanadkins

        June 22, 2016 at 12:26

        Except that this is precisely not justice. If we can’t trust Sam Childers to tell the truth, I can’t expect him to be discerning enough to judge who is responsible and who should be served ‘justice’.

         
  11. George

    May 9, 2012 at 19:12

    If he is lying or doing it just for the money, then I agree with you. If not though I think he does an excellent job.

     
  12. jen

    May 10, 2012 at 08:32

    he cross the river dividing the North and South? Where did he stay in South Darfur? How did he enjoy Just answering your question God power. God, Jesus and the holy spirit is one person. Jesus is The Lord in human form who was pure and has given his life for our sins ans that means every sin until there is no more. Imagine you are in court and you are being judge for a sinned (Broken a law in modern text). You know you have broken the law and you will be punished. The punishment is your life. As humans we don’t give our lives up so easily. Imagine one Man, stood up in front for Millions of people’s judgment.. And said i will take all of these people sins and i will die for them/us.

     
    • bryanadkins

      May 28, 2012 at 05:56

      Try spell-check before you post. It may also assist your argument.

       
      • Jen

        May 31, 2012 at 01:35

        Ooppsss im form queensland

         
      • Jen

        May 31, 2012 at 01:36

        from

         
      • stephen Smyth

        June 12, 2012 at 15:41

        Bryanadkins….you are an annoying person !

         
  13. Justin Pengilly

    May 19, 2012 at 22:07

    If you doubt or hate what the man is doing, then go over there yourself have a look and ask the people he has saved what they think of him! Just remember while people like you sit on their asses and whinge about about what he is apparently doing, more and more children, women etc are being murdered. Stop being so righteous, and realise that sometimes we need people like this in the world. The world is not a perfect little bundle of joy..

     
    • bryanadkins

      May 28, 2012 at 06:34

      Well, thanks for the challenge. In fact, I am “over there” and in fact, I am African. Before you accuse someone of not going “over there” it may be helpful to read the bio on the blog.

       
  14. andrew

    May 22, 2012 at 21:03

    why compare africa to america. they are two different places run differently. the laws are different and fair trials doesnt work over there. sam is changing the world and if some of his stories are lies he has still notified the world of this! your points are just invaild.

     
    • bryanadkins

      May 28, 2012 at 06:32

      Why compare Africa to America? Actually, I didn’t compare those at all. I compared the laws of South Sudan to the legal context of any other country. “Africa” is not run differently from America. Africa, as a unit, is not run at all. It is a continent and fair trials do work in some instances here as I have experienced myself. You probably should not generalize about something you clearly know nothing about. Also, try spell check and punctuation. It may improve your argument.

       
      • Kathleen Franklin

        June 26, 2012 at 14:59

        You are African and still you slam a man that is in Your Country trying to help Your people. I hope God forgives you for your words and the apparent lack of humanity you have shown in your posts.

         
      • Aaron

        July 18, 2012 at 04:39

        I think he is displaying exactly the opposite of a lack of humanity. He is calling for law and order rather than a sick game of “Cowboys and Indians” backed by The Church.

         
    • Aaron

      July 18, 2012 at 04:31

      Fair trials do work over here. In some places at least. Africa is a massive place, it would be good to be more specific.

      I live here and the last thing we need is another vigilante trying to save this country. The government here is pursuing the LRA and is doing a good job for the most part. We have put many of them on trial and we have put so many in jail.

      One familiy where I was working lost their son because he was shot and killed, accused of being LRA. Turns out, oops, he was student walking through the forest on his way home. We need law and order here, not another cowboy to add to the rest of the ones we already have.

       
  15. Marco Henderelli

    June 11, 2012 at 23:14

    Mr Adkins, my problem with you is not your commentary, but your condescending attitude to those responding to your post. Whether these people can spell or constuct a grammatically correct sentence is beside the point, the content is comprehensible.

     
    • bryanadkins

      July 18, 2012 at 05:06

      Thank you Marco for your comment. The content of the blog post is very important as you have noted. I hope that you understand that I don’t mean to be insulting to anyone, nor stifle their contributions. However, it is also important to me, and many others, that if one is going to make an argument and submit it for a debate, they are clear in not only their own assertions, but also that they communicate those assertions in a way that is clear. Many of the commentators here have not been clear in their assertions, positing seemingly inconsistent thoughts, simply because they have failed to use punctuation. Thank you for reading and I look forward to future contributions from you.

       
  16. Tatiana Maya (@Newecohumanity)

    June 12, 2012 at 01:14

    I haven’t watched the movie yet. And as a Christian I agree with some (if not most) of your arguments. I honestly don’t think God calls people to kill in his name, I don’t believe in violence to solve violence and I agree that in the context of policies and politics of this conflict, what he says he’s doing might not necessarily be too helpful. However, as a Christian, I believe one finds God deep within, and the truest act of love when you encounter a “criminal” or whatever the label we put on these people, is to love yourself and forgive yourself for all the pain and anger you feel when you see them. Of course this is easier said than done and I’m not claiming that I do it, although I do have the experience of having forgiven my dad’s killers and never wished for them to even be in jail. The feeling of this forgiveness, although it has just happened once directly to me, is still liberating in many ways. In the spiritual dimension of this issue, I would believe that Sam is in a journey where he’s pouring as much love as he thinks he has on to these children. If there is a message from God to him, it was this. I think the message was “let me love these children through you” and Sam said “Yes…ok” not knowing what that implies to his spiritual journey.

    Sam’s background or life’s history is not a happy nor a peaceful one. He only knows the ways of violence, judgement and prejudice, and so do many of us. And because of that, the task is double. For Sam to let God love these children through him, he must learn to love himself, he must let God love him and clean him from his own baggage of violence, judgement, attention and approval seeking. Clearly he’s not quite there yet. So what is happening here is that Sam said to God “Yes, but we’ll do it my way”. Which is what many of us do as the comments supporting him show us. By taking this position, he accepted the task to love these children, but didn’t take the challenge to love himself and drop his cross. He is loving them his way, not God’s way. As a consequence, his actions are “faulty”. And I don’t think that is necessarily wrong or a bad thing. He is showing us what happens when we say “yes” to God partially. It is the world we have here today.

    Do I have any evidence of this?? Other than what God tells me, no. So I can’t show you any tangible facts to back my arguments. That is often the case with God’s matters. Only hope and faith in Life moves me to write this today. I know one day we will all give God a full and committed “yes” when asked to let Him love others through us. That’s all his asking us: to let Him love us (clean our life’s history of pain, attachments, judgments, etc,.) and love others through us. And when I assert this, I’m not implying that one day you’ll believe what I believe or you’ll be a Christian. You’ll say “yes” in the language of love, which is the one language He speaks and He’ll listen regardless of the belief system you claim to follow.

    I noticed you are very strict with punctuation, grammar and spelling. Please accept my apologies in advance. English is not my first language. I did my best.

     
    • bryanadkins

      July 18, 2012 at 04:08

      Dear Tatiana,
      Thank you for your very measured and compelling response. I respect your position and believe that you have tremendous insight into how the role of faith is demonstrated in us, as flawed human beings. Thank you also for your thoughtful and respectful position. This is the nature of good debate.
      Best Regards,
      Bryan

       
  17. John

    June 13, 2012 at 06:10

    What is exactly fact I can’t say. However, if you ran across a group of kidnapped kids and their kidnappers (as in the movie) in an isolated situation with no other help around and you had the ability to free them with force, what would you do?

     
  18. Lalin Nada

    June 16, 2012 at 23:31

    Just watched the movie, did a google search as wanted to know more about Sam Childers, and came across this. At the end of the movie credits, Sam Childers asked one compelling question: “if someone had ubducted” (yes, Bryan, you can criticize me for my spelling) – “if your child had been ubducted and someone was able to get him/her back to you – would you care how he did it?” He knows he’s not perfect, he probably questions himself every day – but when he looks out at the kids and the number of lives he’s saved – I think he feels justified and a worthy human being. I cannot help thinking (rightly or wrongly) that the number of children saved, far out weighs the madness to his methods. And if you are in Africa Bryan, I would challenge you to go and spend a month in the company of Sam Childers, then come back with first hand experience to blog it, instead of hypothiizing over the details of a map (perhaps he took a different road and doesn’t want it ‘publicized’) ! But go to meet him and observe with an open mind,, not the closed one you seem to be operating from presently. People love kids more than even the state of the law or the accuracy of an Africian road map!

     
    • Wayne

      November 8, 2012 at 18:20

      I just watched the movie and also did a little goggling and found this blog.

      I have read the blogs. The question from me to Bryan and Aaron is if your country has a stable government and has laws of the land to stopped this terror, why hasn’t the government intervene and put a stop to Mr. Childers? He has been there a long time. Seems to me the government is using him. Just my thoughts! What are yours?

       
  19. C.Mohd Mahazin

    June 17, 2012 at 22:23

    Screw u all who thinks he aint a good guy…he is out there in the middle of a war torn nation where children r being abducted,raped,being offered for child sex n god knows what other unforgivable hideous crimes n u people who just sit in front of a goddam pc blogging about some guy who is doing good for some people..he is out there giving people a life they never thought they wiil b alive to see…i dare 1 of u have the balls go there help shelter 1 single kid save him from the lra…do this first and then maybe u could sit here and blog…If some guy is doing good let him dont b such pests..please!

     
  20. joe

    June 18, 2012 at 23:06

    bryan you are a fool… that is all

     
    • bryanadkins

      July 18, 2012 at 04:16

      Thank you, Joe. I appreciate your sentiments.

       
    • Aaron

      July 18, 2012 at 04:41

      Joe,

      I live and work in South Sudan. Have traveled over the entire country over the past five years. Maybe Bryan is a fool, but as far as his position on Sam Childers work in the region, he is exactly right.

       
  21. The LaUgHiNgMaN

    June 20, 2012 at 12:52

    the way i look at it the man is helping children even if that means hes gotta twist the truth and lie about it a true warrior a real man does what is necessary to do what is right doesn’t matter how you go about doing it as long in your heart your doing something that is right and just kony is on the top of the dictators listed around the world above osama and hussain the us govt. states its not with in public interest to go and help the Ugandans because taking oil and killing innocent women and children and robbing them of economic stability so you can put gas in your suv and fart around America like lazy fat ass Americans is more important than a child who is forced to do horrific acts I am native American and i have every right to express whats wrong with this country the way i see it Sam childers is the only one with enough balls to go out there and make a deference Iam sure the last thing he wants to do is sit here write column about what is wrong no hes out there in the muck of it making it happen if you hate him so much go do something instead of sit there and whine about what some body else is doing so what he lied or the story don’t add up are you Ugandan? are you helping them? have you talked to LRA child solider and asked him whats going on? cause until then your argument is jack and shit and jack he left town two days ago

     
  22. Gerlad B

    June 25, 2012 at 14:13

    As usual idealistic Americans pass judgement on anyone who ventures out of the expected behavior of a moralistic society. Africa has been neglected by most of the material, idealistic individuals in our wash my hands free of sin America. In my view any action is better than none at all. Do not sit and pass judgement on this man until you get up off of the couch, get on a plane, fly to Africa, meet him and follow him in his foot steps for a time. As for his efforts, he is there is he not, and where are you, his judges. As for his methods, America sends whole armies to countries and exterminates thousands of the people in the name of democracy. If this man has to meet the sword with a sword in order to save others then more power to him. Someone like Kony can not be stopped with words and/or prayers. Stop spending time being a critic and do something to stop the slaughter and suffering in Africa yourself.

     
    • Aaron

      July 18, 2012 at 08:51

      Gerlad B,

      Have not seen a couch in a long time, but if I had one here with me in South Sudan, would love to sit on it. In the meantime, I will feel free to criticize anyone who uses sensational stories to raise money to come to South Sudan and take the law into their own hands. We have a legitimate government here with a functional military and police force. What he is doing is effectively forming his own militia. It is vigilantism and it is something very common here in South Sudan. Groups rise up on a regular basis to fight for some right, freedom, or against some perceived persecution. It happens a lot in Jongelei state for example. I can send you pictures of the bodies, bloated and rotting in the sun, if you would like. The bodies left over from vigilanties taking to the bush with guns to save their children. The difference with Sam is that he is not from South Sudan. He does not know this country completely. He does not understand it completely. A little more time spent understanding context, understanding culture and understanding the long and complex history of the region might be a better service to the people here. Meeting the “sword with the sword” has been the default option here in this part of Africa for a long time. The initial war in southern Sudan, which ended in 2005, began in the mid 1960s. A tit-for-tat war that all but destroyed what could have been one of the most promising parts of the developing world.

      Last year, southern Sudan became it’s own sovereign state, South Sudan. And I would suggest that Billy the Kid keep his guns holstered, and back in America. Should he wish to come here and help, there are plenty of legitimate ways of doing so. Including assisting the governmnet in their pursuit of not only the LRA but a load of other dangerous and disgusting groups that have formed in the region. There are others doing that and they are widely respected.

       
  23. Rebecca

    June 29, 2012 at 14:58

    You know what they say the more laws there are the more corrupt a government gets. Im starting to get sick of people everywhere saying how you have to abide by the law, not even the bloody law abides by its own law so why should anybody respect it and who makes these laws some high rank who hasn’t a clue what its like to breath fresh air outside with common daily people working class or poor or whatever they want to call us . I think its amazing what this guy sam has done, might of done it in his own way but good on him. having to wait for the government to respond by that time they will all be dead, raped, who knows what. I think human beings need a bit more balls and to think about that other person right beside him who definetly needs a helping hand. Legal bloody contexts america is the most corrupt of countries, latin america is a bloody disaster europe we have people jumping of the roofs because of legal bloody contexts the list continues to the worldwide globe, dont believe in god my self or spell check or punctuation but I believe people really need to start caring and good on sam for killing those bastards who think they can roam and do whatever they want to anybody take a bit of your own medicine mates thats what id say.

     
  24. Leader of the lost,King of the damned,Martyr for the unforgiven

    July 2, 2012 at 23:43

    Its a shame I can’t say what I really want because anyone who demands a name and an email is looking to go after people against him but maybe you should go let Kony rape and kill your mother and and sisters right in front of you and then chop off their heads and burn them and MAKE you watch every bit of it. Despite your age (These children being 13 and younger.) What does that do to a child of 8 or 9 years old. If people like you saw the aftermath of these horrors. You’d shut your fucking mouth and let the preacher do what ever Gods tells him to do. And why all of a sudden everyone cares when no one cared for the last 60 years? Just to save face. Mainly your own. You people only cry foul and peace when your not made the hero or you need a new scoop so you don’t lose your job. And if Jesus Christ himself came down and stood on the white house lawn. You’d see it as a story and call it a hoax. So don’t act so righteous when you wouldn’t believe the truth if it slapped you in the face. People like you and the other trying to tear down the good that Sam has done, Make me embarrassed to be human

     
  25. Leader of the lost,King of the damned,Martyr for the unforgiven

    July 2, 2012 at 23:48

    And if you really are over there. Then you should have seen what it’s like And wouldn’t have wasted your time writing any of this. No I don’t believe your there. You just enjoy knocking those down who do what you don’t have the balls to do. And if you are a christian then maybe you should read some about what will happen to the honest and good. And you’ll see your doing exactly that.

     
    • Aaron

      July 18, 2012 at 04:50

      I really am over “here” and your comment is disgusting. Whether Bryan is or not, he has it right.

      I don’t doubt Sam’s intentions. I doubt his methods. Along with the SPLA he supposedly was working with. They denied any involvement in his LRA hunt.

      Also, we still cannot find proof that the LRA is still in South Sudan.

       
  26. vhiktor

    July 9, 2012 at 09:45

    bryan or whatever your name is, you should just shut the fuck up and stop being a self righteous prick! Tell me, will you ask questions or try to identify as bad guys or good the people coming at you with deadly weapons before pulling the triger? people who abduct kids are obviously bad guys and hell yeah salute the man who offs them! painting another man’s noble work black while you sit on your black ass sensationalizing your blog in order to get traffic is bullshit…………first you are in kenya, and then you are going to zambia later you said you are in south sudan, why don’t you get your story straight first before trying to pull another man down?! Just so you know I am African too

     
  27. Mike Hatcher

    July 9, 2012 at 18:52

    Read more history. Freedom has always only ever been won with bloodshed. Are there other ways? Possibly, but in our entire history as a human race, when have been ever able to hold onto any one of them for longer than a few short hundred years??? The cycle is almost complete here in the United States. It won’t be much longer and you will be in for quite the surprise. Our own government doesn’t respect the rule of law, and you somehow thing we as a people should? That is how genocide happens. Read up on it. Your article is clearly untempered with neither wisdom, nor education, nor awareness.

     
    • Aaron

      July 18, 2012 at 04:45

      Millions have died. We now have peace in this country where I live and work and you think we need more bloodshed? This country is finally at peace and the only people running around with guns anymore are some rebels in the east (Not the LRA) and Sam Childers.

      We need people to respect the rule of law. That’s what we need here. We need Jesus Christ’s message of love and of peace to cover this land.

      Not Chuck Norris with a free pass to kill who he thinks is evil.

       
  28. Liberalismisadisease

    July 11, 2012 at 20:59

    Liberal d-bag

     
  29. Tam

    July 21, 2012 at 10:28

    @Tatianna, thanks for your post. I just watched the movie and couldn’t put in words what I felt. I had mixed emotions but I think you summed up exactly what’s going on. Just wanted you to know also as a Christian the Holy Spirit spoke to me. The message of dropping my cross and loving others they way God wants me to and now how I think is what God has been trying to get throught to me also.
    Thank you also Bryan for this great post. I do believe Sam’s intentions are good but acting as the Christian Lone ranger is never a good thing. I have read a statement he has made many times that no one is going to take “his” orphange. As christians, nothing is our own, it all belongs to God.

     
  30. bwest

    July 22, 2012 at 01:32

    I love how humans can take such a simple concept as saving children and decide that the way the children were saved was wrong. Are you Sam Childers or God? He will be judged by God, not by you or I.
    A man went to a country so riddled with sick ideas of a human’s basic rights that they have been engaged in 25+ years of civil war. He saw children being targets of such terrible crimes that no one could imagine… What would you do? There is not two identical answers.
    I have two children that live in no immediate fear or danger.Yet I still want to protect them from preservitives in the food, trace elements in the water, the air we breathe…the list is endless. It is human to want to protect the vulnerable. These children see the hell on earth that I can only relate to the destruction and fear caused by Hitler. I told my 12 year old that when my grandchildren ask me, “Why did the world let this happen?”, I want to be able to answer how I helped, not how I stuck my head in the sand. I don’t plan on grabbing my gun, but however I choose to act will only truely be judged by God. Every choice we make will have a right or wrong, that is what makes us human. Just remember who is the judge.
    Do I think he is saving kids lives? Yes. Do I think he is doing it the right way? I NEVER claim to know what I would do in a situation that I have never been in! I read one post that God doesn’t send people out to kill, that must be the one Christian that skipped the entire Old Testiment!
    Whether the politics is easy for you to swallow or not, this country and most importantly its children, need help. Wouldn’t your time be better spent finding a “better” solution, then judging one man’s methods? Let God be the judge on Sam’s tactics.

     
    • bryanadkins

      July 22, 2012 at 12:24

      Dear bwest,

      Thank you for your sentiments. I appreciate your drive and passion to help children. In fact, I have spent my career doing the same. However, the point of this blog post was not that people shouldn’t be moved to help children, but rather that efforts to help should be channeled through proper legal avenues, and through the already effective panoply of projects and programs that are helping these children. Furthermore, the second point was that repaying evil with evil is never an effective strategy. I am pretty sure that that was Jesus who said that bit.

      Thanks for reading though and I encourage good, respectful debate.

      Cheers,
      Bryan

       
  31. Rati

    July 26, 2012 at 13:50

    I started reading but stopped. To judge someone is not our job. I do not care what is your USA doing to help these people, but the reason the whole AFRICA is in problem now is USA and EUROPE. Foreign policy, democracy, these all are fake. There is no democracy, nowhere is democracy. I respect to all of the people I do not car if It is SAM or someone else, all of the people who help African people even by a penny. We are people, we are individuals, and we see everything our own way, so Sam saw his help that way.

     
  32. JoeJoe

    July 28, 2012 at 22:17

    400,000 dead and you just want to sit back without a fight. The killing will NEVER end until the evil is dead. In no way is this evil against evil. Its good defeating evil in its own game, but guess what buddy as long as you guys are divided evil will always reign. UNITE

     
  33. JoeJoe

    July 28, 2012 at 22:21

    Jesus will come back not to make peace but to make war against all evil Mathew 10:34

     
    • jeremy

      August 15, 2012 at 15:54

      Grammar and punctuation was never my strong point. I do not believe that is what is important but what a person has to say is. I also don’t believe that foul language and putting each other down is a good way of getting your point across either. If you want to debate then be civil about it.
      I cannot say if the man is wrong or right. I will need to go see for myself what is going on before I can either support him or not. What is the difference between a country fighting for good or an individual fighting for good? If good men did not raise up arms then tyranny would reign. If the law was doing such a good job then why were so many allowed to die? If people were dying around me and the law was not there then should I take up arms or walk up to the men and say let me pray for you. Now I understand that there is more stability now and that this mans fight might be over in that area. Maybe it is time he stops and just concentrates on his ministry there. It could also be that there is still a threat and he still needs to fight for children. Maybe it is time for this lazy american to get off the couch and go see for myself so that I can write from experience instead of relying on what the media or others tell me.

       
  34. Zane Overstreet

    August 5, 2012 at 06:42

    If this story is true I applaud Sam Childers for having the guts and backbone to do what needs to be done to protect the children of Sudan except at the cost of his own. Most people only see their own little piece of this world and if they aren’t personally involved they are blind to the pain of others. The cost of his own family is high but apparently they still support him which is good. Most people are sheep who hide behind excuses such as “the acceptable right way to do things” which is nothing but an excuse which cowards use. Add to it the idea that democracy is the answer and all you have to do is take a real honest look at how America is run by those with money and how the poor are trampled and even an idiot can see that “democracy” is nothing more than a charade with smoke and mirrors so that the “common people” who are actually supposed to be in control in a democracy have no actual power what so ever and are just sheep. I would gladly lead others to do as this man does except that I choose to wait until my children have their own lives. There are too many sheep in this country (America) and this world and that is just how our current Democratic all powerful government wants it. How many REAL men are left in this world? God’s speed Sam. May you continue to be his sword and shield. Bless your family as well with the strength of love to hold all of you together. It is up to the strong to pretect the weak, spare the innocent and destroy the guilty. God is the judge, I have no problem arranging the meeting between God and Evil men.

     
  35. Carole Barbera

    August 7, 2012 at 13:59

    Sometimes you have to fight fire with fire, because that is all the enemy understands. I saw the movie and found it quite inspiring to see someone put his faith into action despite the risks. I’m so tired of religious talk. Talk is cheap; actions speak louder than words. I will not judge this man’s way of doing things, as I sit comfortably in my living room. Things are different over there and sometimes you have to “break the rules” to get things done. You are an aid worker and have a completely different perspective on how to promote peace. Childers has his way of doing things. You are both making a difference, albeit differently. The bottom line is you are both putting your lives on the line for the forgotten ones. God Bless all those who have the courage to do what they do, knowing that every moment could be their last. It is the true test of faith.

     
  36. stevemdlthn@yahoo.com

    August 8, 2012 at 20:48

    We’ll if he’s fabricating the story, he shouldn’t ask for volunteers. Because I’m from that segment of the population that condones violence. Talking to some fellow former marines ….. we were contemplating a little vacation. Go over there, help build some infrastructure, honestly help the kids…….. and do a little hunting if need be…. I think all you tree huggers have it wrong. You deal with people in a way they understand and the LRA only know death. They could care less about your peace and love and even less more human life.

     
    • bryanadkins

      September 28, 2012 at 03:06

      Dear Steve, Please do not advocate violence on my site. I say this not because I don’t believe you are earnest in your pursuit of justice, but rather because this issue is not one where there is a single “bad guy” that needs to be “taken out”. The issue at stake here is more complex, much more nuanced and deserves people who are dedicated LONG TERM to finding the appropriate solutions, not a bunch of people coming over here “contemplating a little vacation”.

       
      • James

        October 3, 2012 at 07:26

        I have read almost every post and response on here and I must say, you sir are so blind to this situation and the sad part is is that you say you live amongst it. The last sentence of stevens post sums it up. They do not care for anything but themselves. There is no negotiating with this type of person, not because other people like Childers dont want peace but on the contrary, because the LRA’s actions will not allow it. They fear nothing but death and sometimes not even that. Until you show them that they will face death if they continue on the path they are on it will never stop. It is sad but true. There is no other way to stop people like that. They have no morals, they dont care about right and wrong. How would you deal with people like that. Dont say oh well trial blah blah blah, hopefully, eventually that will be how it is dealt with but until the majority is either under control or dead it will not be. And lets be open minded here, do you think Childers is just executing people lol. So lets say he is going to arrest these LRA and they fire on him he has the right to defend himself just like the LEO’s in the US. The only difference is he knows he will be fired upon.

         
      • bryanadkins

        October 3, 2012 at 07:49

        So tell me one thing: How do you define who “they” are? Can you just look at someone and say “yep, he is LRA”. I am sure that in your clearly articulated argument above, and based on your wealth of field experience, you will find it very easy to define how “they” will be targeted.

         
  37. Helmut

    August 13, 2012 at 08:13

    If children are raped, tortured and killed and whole families getting slaughtered it should be the duty of everyone to stop that. Definitely there are different views how to do this, but as our history shows waiting doesn’t help. Unfortunately pacifistic ways often didn’t work. If dictators had been killed earlier in the past we haven’t had the Holocaust and so on.
    My point of view is that it is much better to kill a few sick men than watching thousends getting slaughtered.
    I like what Sam Childers did and is doing. The film might show him too heroic but everyone who saw the movie sees his fight and doubt about his and other’s actions.
    It is a very human struggling about the sense of life, god and right or wrong.
    Sam made his decision. And undoubted he helped thousends of orphans.

    People,
    Better do your own work instead of running behind Sam. To blame others is very easy.
    So – who has the balls to stand up for these children against the unhuman killers of the LRA?!

     
    • Mike

      September 28, 2012 at 01:19

      Talk is cheap. Walk the walk. Sam may not have the best approach but he’s doing something about it. Don’t judge him from here. Go there and report directly and you may have some argument. And no, do just reference someone that has already been there.

       
      • bryanadkins

        September 28, 2012 at 03:00

        Thanks for your comment. I agree – talk is very cheap. However, I might add that I am not an armchair critic, seeing as I work in and continually live in East Africa, having spent more than 4 years in Sudan during and immediately after the end of the hostilities. I continue to be deeply involved in issues in both Sudan and South Sudan as well as the broader context. I live and work in the region. So yes, talk is cheap, but some people’s talk is cheaper than others.

         
  38. Daniel McKelly

    October 14, 2012 at 05:29

    If you have not seen the movie, please, watch it and inform yourself of its specifics before commenting.
    What is all this ‘god’ stuff? What does this mind-made concept have to do with the craziness of actions? The concept ‘god’ exists in mind alone… specifically, in human minds. Perhaps, there’s some big and powerful entity hovering about space; however, it does not seem too interested in human affairs… at least, not enough to stop this “evil” stuff. All-mighty? Hunh? All-loving? Hunh? The gods give humans “free will” so we can be judged for using it? Hunh?
    My suggestion would be for people to come done from their godly, abstract clouds to deal with whatever circumstances there may actually be before them. If Sam Childers is finding and protecting tormented children, and, if he and his men have needed to protect these children by using violence against violence, at the moment and on the spot, then, for practical purposes, violence is called for and is necessary. All this “law” stuff is hollow talk when someone is attacking villages or is shooting at you and/or innocent people. Come on… come on down to the ground; if you have something or one to protect, you do it by any means possible. How sweet it would be were the government’s cavalry to be riding around the bend when people were under siege. If the movie reflects the conditions under which Sam and company had to work, then, he has faced danger to help his fellow humans. Bravo! Perhaps, someday, after the good battle is over and won, people will have the requisite peace and privilege for law and order in those regions that have not known any. Until then, there will be a need for brave and forthright people to do the fight per the call of circumstances. Now, please, reread this comment a few times, think it over for its unique points, and, do not simply respond from some level of abstraction that does not relate to the specific conditions as presented in the movie. P.S. I just read an wikipedia article that included this: “By July 2011, 90 percent of people in the LRA areas of activity in the Democratic Republic of Congo still lived in fear of their safety, feeling completely abandoned and believing that neither their government nor the MONUSCO UN peacekeepers care for their security, according to Oxfam survey.[59] In March 2012, Uganda announced it will head a new four-nation African Union military force (a brigade of 5,000, including contingents from the DR Congo, Central African Republic and South Sudan) to hunt down Kony and the remnants of the LRA, but asked for more international assistance for the task force.[3][23]” If the LRA is still unopposed in some areas, it behooves people to arm and fight. Anyone who does not arm themselves when faced with the prospect of violence and insufficient local protection is simply not taking their own lives into their own hands. That is suicidal. [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lord’s_Resistance_Army]

     
    • bryanadkins

      October 15, 2012 at 02:56

      Dear Daniel,

      Thanks for your thoughts. You have encouraged us to “Come down from our godly abstract affairs…”. I completely agree with you in that regard. I encourage everyone to go and work in the trenches, so to speak. Get your hands dirty and find out the reality of how human-nature works. I am not saying that I have figured that out yet, but I would say I have certainly not returned to my “lofty perch”, removed from the situation on the ground. It is from the ground that I write this and it is from the ground that I, and many others on the ground, challenge the accuracy of both the movie and Mr. Childers personal claims.
      You say “If the movie reflects the conditions under which Sam and company had to work, then, he has faced danger to help his fellow humans..” That is precisely my point – that the movie does not reflect the reality or conditions under which Sam has had to work. If you were on the ground, you would know that.
      Furthermore, your quote from Wikipedia reports that Uganda has announced it will spearhead forces to hunt down Kony. Those are legitimated entities and yes, they have a legal mandate to do that. Mr. Childers does not.

      Thanks,
      Bryan

       
  39. Justin

    October 21, 2012 at 12:15

    I can appreciate the criticisms that Childers is acting with narrow scope and shortsightedness. I can appreciate what you said about the rule of law and generally I suppose that these types of national situations have far more nuance than laypeople think. I can’t claim to know the right of this since the philosophical and pragmatic implications of unilateral action are based on interpretation and the availability of facts in addition to perspective and orientation. And I believe that even folks on the ground still can’t wrap their heads around these incredibly complex situations. To the point: it seems to me that lots of people involved in Sudan feel very strongly about Childers. I can see how his claims are suspect but I can’t see how criticisms that state he is a fraud and a liar can be proven. I just see skeptics present cases for the likelihood that he is exaggerating or stretching the truth yet I have seen no concrete evidence. Regardless of weather or not you agree with his approach, it seems suspect to me to level criticisms which cannot be proven. By your own assertion that killing as punishment should be preceded by trial, shouldn’t also character assasination?

     
  40. The Canuck (We ALL hate Canucks...am I right?)

    February 20, 2013 at 03:48

    May I ask a series of questions that may truly annoy? And if they annoy, are they not touching a truth in all of us? For a moment, I ask that everyone simply ignore the brain that is telling them to compare what I am about to say to a fact, experience, interpretation, belief, devotion or any variant of being “right”. This alone should have brought the fervour up in the room…

    I have spent the last 4 hours of my life watching the movie and reading this blog. I am amazed at the level of complexity people will go to to seek “evidence” or others that think as they do to convince themselves that their way of thinking is correct. Even more amazing is the disregard for those that share what is truly “so”. Keeping in mind that their interpretation of what is “so” is often a reflection of the human animal’s need to seek validation through evidence collection and association with other “like minded” individuals.

    Evil exists. Evil is a construct of the human condition, that when allowed to fester will replicate and be witnessed by those less convinced of the “purpose”. Good exists. Good exists where people CHOOSE to live in a manor consistent with the effective perpetuation of society and peace. Those of you with a religious conviction will interpret what I am saying by comparing it to the education you received, the people you associate with and the “nerves” that I am dancing on.

    If what I have said is, in any way, annoying, frustrating, downright pissing you off….then think on the premise to which this is written and how easily it would be to perpetuate good or evil in a part of the world with limited resources of communication. Think of the horror associated with KNOWING you will go to hell “unless”…think of the absolute euphoria of KNOWING you will see Heaven…”IF”.

    My questions:

    1) what do you actually believe in?
    2) what are you willing to do to support those beliefs?
    3) are you certain of the basis of your belief?
    4) Why?

    and…not so much a question…

    5). CHOOSE as if it is the only word in the human language. CHOOSE as if it is irrevocable. CHOOSE as though your life depends on it.

     
  41. An African

    April 20, 2013 at 11:19

    You know,its quite funny how people who dont live in Africa and have probably never been anywhere in Africa can type such painfully long essays about someone who is trying to make a difference in Africa. I think people should stop trying to look if somone else has problems. If you seriously want to spend so much time “investigating people to see if they have problems then look for problems of people in your own country.

    Im not going to bore you with a long comment and I dont have HUGE words to try and impress you.
    You guys have it so easy and sometimes you dont appreciate what you have. Put your feet in a child in Sudans shoes, yeah I know right, what shoes?? Just the Idea of someone helping those children is awsome!
    So grow up Brian!

     
    • bryanadkins

      April 22, 2013 at 03:55

      Thanks for your comment Justina. I would like to refer you to the Bio page of this blog. I think it may be helpful in informing you as to whether or not I have “been anywhere in Africa”.

      Best Regards,
      Bryan

       
    • Wayne

      September 16, 2013 at 15:57

      Well said An African.

       
  42. Ivan

    June 13, 2013 at 02:41

    Bryan Adkins, I would just like to quote a previous comment that you failed to answer, probably due to the volume of comments you have received. But, I found this comment asked an interesting question, and I would like to get your response, if possible. This is from Wayne.

    “I just watched the movie and also did a little goggling and found this blog.

    I have read the blogs. The question from me to Bryan and Aaron is if your country has a stable government and has laws of the land to stopped this terror, why hasn’t the government intervene and put a stop to Mr. Childers? He has been there a long time. Seems to me the government is using him. Just my thoughts! What are yours?”

    I would like to apologize on Wayne’s behalf for his grammar, and I would have corrected it myself, but I deemed it unwise, as I wanted an unaltered quote so that it would not be mistaken as to whom I quoted and where I acquired said quote.

    I found this question interesting and relevant, and it raised the following questions in my mind: If in fact South Sudan has a functioning Rule of Law, why has Mr. Childers been getting away with murder as you would call it? Surely a functioning Rule of Law requires the government to enforce said law, does it not? And if a government is incapable of enforcing said law, would that not be a situation of Without Rule of Law? And if South Sudan is actually a case of Without Rule of Law, how are the people to defend themselves from those who would prey upon them, be it the LRA, the SPLA, or Sam Childers as you have repeatedly inferred throughout this blog? If Sudan were in fact without rule of law during the incidents in which Mr. Childers has claimed to killed people, and these people he killed were in fact seeking to do him and those he considered under his protection harm, could not a case for self defense and the defense of his charges be made for Mr. Childers? Or do you not believe in self defense, and would simply rather we just allow ourselves to be maimed, murdered, and raped, and our children be made orphans?

    I do not ask these questions because I support Sam Childers, or that I believe his actions above reproach, or that his ministry is without flaw. I don’t, and I am an advocate of always questioning those we might support (hence my presence here on this blog). But I am also an advocate of questioning ourselves, and our beliefs. And in this blog, I have seen a belief I’m not sure I agree with. A belief that we can trust others to protect us and our neighbors, that we do not have responsibility for the safety, wellbeing, and happiness of ourselves and those around us, and to take such responsibility is not only foolish, it is wrong. Actually, such a belief disturbs me greatly, for it leaves us vulnerable to those who would exploit it with the intent of making us slaves to their law, and thus their will.

    So, I leave a final question. Would you fault Mr. Childers for believing it his responsibility to defend himself and those under his charge, and in believing so employing violence to enact this belief?

    Eagerly awaiting your reply.

    Ivan

     
    • bryanadkins

      June 13, 2013 at 03:36

      Hi Ivan,

      Thank you for you re-post and yes, I must admit, the volume of responses to this post certainly was overwhelming. It certainly is a difficult subject matter and one which raises emotions amongst all of us. In many cases I have received many responses which I chose not to post due to the violence that was suggested towards myself and others. However, your comment falls into a much broader, very thought-provoking and fundamentally important line of questioning. Having re-read your post, I apologize for not responding earlier.
      In terms of your questions, the idea is not so much that the Rule of Law is well-established and enforced equitably in South Sudan. In fact, it is hard to argue that it is enforced equitably anywhere in this day and age. However, in South Sudan, the Rule of Law is just sprouting and should be supported in any way possible. It is a massive area with very little infrastructure etc., but there are multiple organizations working successfully in bringing access to services, protection and access to justice in these areas. Their work should be supported, not undermined by unilateral actions.
      I am certainly not advocating that it is not incumbent upon us to actually defend others from brutality. I believe that it absolutely is and we should do it despite the personal costs. The point of the blog post was to question the actual legitimacy of his claims (whether or not he actually spent as much time in SS as he claims to have, whether or not he actually works with the SPLA, whether or not he is actually trading in arms, and whether or not he has had real, verifiable, contact with elements of the LRA). From the inaccuracies in many of his stories (both in the book and in the movie) I suspect that he has added a lot of salt to his stories.
      Furthermore, many elements of the South Sudan government have repeatedly disowned Mr. Childers and explicitly (in letters which were linked to the story) denied their affiliation with him. One has to realize that EVERYONE in South Sudan has access to weapons and self-identifies as SPLA, whether in fact they are or are not.
      The ultimate questions of this blog post were about the veracity of his claims. If his claims are true, then there are legitimate ways to combat the injustices that are being perpetrated. There are a wide number of organizations that work directly with the Government of SS to combat these injustices, through legitimate protection programs. I will be the first to say that these programs are not always successful. They aren’t anywhere in the world (i.e. many “safe houses” in the US). The danger I was referring to was allowing one man to be judge and jury in an area in which he is clearly out of his depth, lacking understanding, language skills or social capital.
      I thoroughly respect your comments and believe that you are a clear-thinking individual who wants justice in these situations as do I.

      Best Regards,
      Bryan

       
  43. Tash

    September 16, 2013 at 10:29

    Here’s my one and only question for you. If you were in a position where you had the choice of watching an innocent child be murdered in front of you, or Physically stopping that from happening right then and there what would you choose? I know what I would do! I know for me not taking a stand and letting that happen would haunt me far more then the guilt of intervention at the time.
    I don’t think Sam Childers randomly shoots at could be’s, I’ve met Sam, and I agree with what he’s doing. He is doing what many people fear to do.
    I am lucky to live in a country with governed laws, we also have police who protect us when we are in danger, who we can call on to defend us. They have Sam, and thank goodness they do! Do you ever asks those saved children’s opinions? Maybe you should.
    There will always be the critics in everything in life. It’s merely a reason to gain debate and clicks on your blog, bravo to you!

     
    • Wayne

      September 16, 2013 at 16:01

      Nice to see somebody has met him and knows he is trying to do good.

       
    • bryanadkins

      September 25, 2013 at 03:01

      Hi Tash, Thanks for you comments. I appreciate your perspective and it is an excellent question. The answer is this: Sam Childers is not in that position. Furthermore, even if he was in that position, he should not be the judge and jury, just as any other person, convinced by their religious convictions, should go around judging who is and is not a terrorist. If we do do that, are we any different than other extremists, convinced of some higher religious code, who go around judging who is an who is not guilty of offending God, and THEN shooting them? In the wake of the recent Westgate tragedy, I would hope, for humanity’s sake that the answer is that we should not allow someone, who believes God has given him the ability to be judge and jury, go through and shoot people he thinks are guilty, without any due process. Thankfully, most of Sam’s claims are extremely dubious,exaggerated and sometimes even complete fabrications. I know this, because I have been there as have many of my colleagues, friends and independent experts.

       

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