Interview with Sam Childers of ďMachine Gun PreacherĒ
Dallas , Texas , September 26, 2011
PO : Do you think they portrayed you accurately?
SC: You need to buy the book. The movie was based on the book. What makes this all messed up is the time line. This took place over a period of 30 years. And the biggest thing they got wrong is that after I quit doing drugs and alcohol, I never went back. Not once in 23 years. Totally not true. Why they put it in there, I donít know. Somebody I work with says to me, ďSam, let it go, because maybe that person who has slipped up can know he can walk back out of it again.Ē So other than that part, overall, I was pleased.
The screenwriter, Jason, spent about a year with me, because he wanted it as close as he could get to the truth. The action scenes are amped up. But the first part of the movie, who I was 30-something years ago, was not amped up at all. I wasnít a good person.
I still think Iím kinda messed up. But thatís what Jesus Christ is for. Any interview that Iíve ever done, I donít try to hide my faith. I donít care where Iím at. When they asked me on the red carpet in Canada , ďWhat do you think?Ē I said, ďWhat do you think, knowing that God is real?Ē Because Iím the first hillbilly to walk the red carpet. Thereís gotta be a God.
PO : Did they get the conversion experience right?
SC: The time line was messed up. When I decided to change my life was in Orlando , Florida . I was in a bar fight, turned out to be a shootout, I almost got killed, and on the way home that night I made up my mind, ďIím done.Ē And if thereís one thing I share with everyone, I speak on drugs and alcohol all the time, no matter who you are, if you want to stop an addiction, itís all right here (points to his head). God can do anything, but God can only help us through a problem. It wasnít until four years later that I said, ďIím going to spend the rest of my life walking with the King.Ē That night in Orlando , I went home, and told my wife weíre moving, because somebody was out to kill me, and I donít have a problem dying, I just didnít want to die for nothiní.
PO : There are some in the religious community who would take issue with meeting the violence with other violence.
SC: Yeah.
PO : How do you feel about that?
SC: I would never condone violence, or condone that what I do is right. But I would ask you this here: who was David? Who was Gideon? Who was Joshua? I could go on and on, but Iím not here to discuss that. Iím not here to try to make anything Iíve ever done right or wrong in somebody elseís eyes. You know, I shut drug dealers down. I shut three major drug dealers down in my area. Eight children died in five weeks time. Do you have children?
PO : Yes.
SC: OK. I lost my son to heroin five years ago. Iím not going to lose any more kids to drugs. Ainít gonna be a drug dealer in my town. So it donít matter if Iím in Africa or where Iím at. Iím gonna get it done. And I would never stand behind a pulpit and try to let on that Jesus Christ condones violence. But He did say to His disciples after He was resurrected, ďIím sending you out this time, take an extra pair of shoes, take an extra coat, if you donít have a sword sell your coat and buy one.Ē What was the sword for?....I rescue children. Thatís what I do. Doesnít matter if itís here or AfricaÖ.Letís stop working on criticizing people, letís work on getting something doneÖ.I donít want to sound like a religious person, because those are the people that hung Jesus on the cross. But I pray all the time. Iím not an educated man, but I wrote a book that they made a movie about, so that goes to show you that God is real. So I go to Him for wisdom and knowledge.
Dr. Ronald P. Salfen, Interim Pastor, St. Stephenís Presbyterian Church, Irving , Texas