Must-see Documentary on America's Gun Conversation

by Joan Blades & Jacob Hess

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This Friday a powerful new documentary on America's gun conversation is going to open in 20 cities across the nation. The Armor of Light is asking us have a thoughtful conversation about guns and reducing gun violence in our communities.

THE ARMOR OF LIGHT, follows Evangelical minister Reverend Rob Schenck, anti-abortion activist and fixture on the political far right, who ultimately asks whether being pro-gun is consistent with being pro-life. This is not easy. Reverend Schenck is troubled by the reactions of his long-time friends and colleagues who warn him away from this issue.

The film includes Rev. Schenck's meeting with Lucy McBath, the mother of Jordan Davis, an unarmed teenager who was murdered in Florida. Jordan's story has cast a spotlight on "Stand Your Ground" laws. Rev. Schenck and Lucy McBath become friends.

In conjunction with the release of this film, we are inviting Americans to gather for open-hearted conversations about the role of guns in society during the month of November. What would it mean for people of all political and religious backgrounds to gather together to explore important questions face to face:
  • Where did you learn about guns - and what did you learn?
  • What role have guns played in your life?
  • Are there any gun control measures that you believe would make a difference in decreasing violence (or not)?
  • Compared to other factors in mass shootings, how important do you see the role of guns?
  • Is there a balance to be achieved on gun control/gun rights - or is any restriction a threat to constitutional freedoms?

On so many of these questions, of course, our certainties can be so great as to defy both exploration and additional learning. And that's where real conversation comes in: hearing each other out, with at least some openness to learning from unique backgrounds and perspectives.

Just this week, we've started doing this - and found people having powerful moments with each other. A mixed progressive-conservative conversation in Utah this week considered surprising areas of common ground - as well as touching on points of acute difference.

While many people believe that more guns is causing more violence - many others believe the reverse - that more guns can decrease violence. What a fascinating disagreement! Could there be things both sides have to learn from each other - as well as elements of truth on both sides?

We're hoping that this film provides an opportunity for us to begin to talk about Guns and Responsibility in a way that allows us to reflect on our shared values and look for solutions that meet our core needs. We've learned a great deal listening to people with very different views, and perhaps the most important thing learned is how much people end up liking and respecting 'those other people.'

So go to the movies this weekend if you are in one of the 20 cities showing The Armor of Light! And tell a friend! If the film draws a crowd then it will spread to other cities and towns. And maybe we can start having some conversations that bring us together for the good of our communities.