The Armor of Light
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Rob Schenck, an evangelical pastor and president of Faith and Action in Washington, D.C., comes to an unexpected conclusion in the documentary The Armor of Light: Being pro-life, he says, might mean rethinking gun rights.
The well-edited narrative follows an increasingly questioning Schenck as he attends an NRA conference and talks to gun-toting pastors. Schenck decides to speak out after he befriends professing Christian Lucy McBath, who lost her son to an unjust shooting and believes that “Jesus never advocated violence.” Her son’s killer almost walked free due to Florida’s divisive stand-your-ground laws. (Discussions of violence and brief strong language give this documentary a PG-13 rating.)
By the end of the documentary, Schenck supports the Second Amendment but says Christians should think twice about owning guns—and reconsider laws that make it easy for guns to fall into the wrong hands.
Schenck’s story is higher on emotional appeal than logic. The documentary blames the NRA for most gun violence and skirts common arguments for gun rights: no mention of gun-carrying citizens who stopped shootings, or studies that claim to show that concealed carry laws and healthy families reduce crime. Director Abigail Disney told me she avoided many of these arguments on purpose: “My goal is to start a conversation that keeps on going.”
That conversation proves both intriguing and uncomfortable. Do the relaxed gun laws conservatives tout always protect life? How can Christians morally address the recent rash of shootings? When can (and should) Christians shoot to kill?
Disney, a grandniece of the famous animator and a self-proclaimed progressive, spent several months looking for a Christian leader who would headline the documentary. Schenck’s humility impressed her: “He’s a radical listener.”
Armor of Light lacks a thorough biblical discussion of Christians and violence, but it at least demands that Christians consider how they value life—at every stage. As Schenck says, “Simply just appreciating the beauty of humanity changes your perspective.”
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