- (Photo: MGP Productions/Phil Bray)
Sam Childers, better known as the "Machine Gun Preacher," said FBI and IRS agents raided his home, business and donation warehouse in Pennsylvania, obstructing his charity work in Africa.
Agents from the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Internal Revenue Service raided his home and offices in Somerset County, Pa., last Wednesday while he was in Africa, Childers told WJAC-TV.
"They went into a container that was packed and ready to come to the orphanage and totally destroyed it," he said. "I mean, destroyed it, and what's so sad is that it was all children's clothes."
Childers, who was the subject of the 2011 film "Machine Gun Preacher" documenting his life, said the raid was likely due to his former son-in-law, who had stolen thousands of dollars from his charity, Angels of East Africa, some time ago.
"This guy is in a lot of problems so what he's been doing is he's been telling the FBI that I'm smuggling guns and that I'm misusing funds," the defender of African orphans said. "To start with, it's all lies and I'm telling everyone we've got nothing to hide … I don't have anything to hide, I mean, me smuggling guns? Come on, be for real. What of guns am I going to smuggle over here for a war? A deer rifle? That's stupid."
Members of Childers' church are also upset about the raid.
"They're hurting the kids. This stuff is sent from all over the world and people's hearts and they just come in and just treat it like it's garbage," a church member, Kim Growden, was quoted as saying. "When you do God's work you have to you know, I'll just start all over. That's all I can do. It's not for me or for us, it's for the kids."
Childers, now about 51, is a self-described hillbilly who didn't finish high school. He started using drugs at age 11 and grew up to be a drug dealer and a completely amoral adult, involved in sex and violence. He wrote in his 2009 book, Another Man's War: The True Story of One Man's Battle to Save Children in the Sudan, that he wouldn't even flinch drawing a knife blade to someone's neck if the person irritated him.
However, Childers converted to Christianity in 1992 after attending a revival meeting at an Assembly of God church. He made his first trip to Sudan in 1998. Soon, he and his wife Lynn founded the Angels of East Africa. His nonprofit leads armed rescue missions directly into the territory of the Lord's Resistance Army.
"I don't condone violence at all. So that is one thing. I don't believe in violence but at the same time I don't believe that children should be raped, murdered, or cut up," Childers told The Christian Post in an interview in 2010.
A pastor with a gun is not different from David in the Bible, he suggested. "What would you call all the prophets in the Bible that were soldiers? A lot of people want to say that's in the Old Testament. Well, if we are not supposed to go by the Old Testament then why do we keep reading it? And what did Jesus mean when He told His disciples when He sent them out that He doesn't want them to take an extra coat, an extra traveler's bag, but now I'm telling you to take an extra pair of sandals, and if you don't have a sword, sell your cloak and buy one. What was that all about?"
Childers said he doesn't fear death due to his faith in Christ. "I mean I have been in the situation many, many times and I don't think about it. So I believe when we truly get the faith we need, we know without a shadow of a doubt that the enemy cannot kill us, and the only thing that could happen is that we go from this world into the kingdom."
About Childers' past life, Jason Keller, the screenwriter of the documentary based on his life, earlier said he couldn't include some of his experiences in the script because they were "too intense."
Actor Gerard Butler, who portrayed Childers in the movie, said in the production notes, "When I first read it (movie script), I thought, 'Are you kidding me? This couldn't all have happened.' But it did and much more. The man has experienced more than most people would in 10 lifetimes."